Do NOT miss Hidden Talents’ production of Les Miserables!
It was 2003 when Hidden Talents first brought Les Miserables to Sarnia, and a remarkable cast of young actors, no more than 19 years of age, brought audiences to their feet every night. Now, for the first time since Les Miserables opened in The West End nearly three decades ago, adult community theatre groups have been given the chance to produce this musical phenomenon, and Hidden Talents, having received the third set of amateur rights ever sold, brings us Les Miserables once again! A dream come true for those patrons left wanting more eleven years ago, and for those thespians longing to find themselves amongst the cast…
Over 85 local volunteers have come together, both on stage and behind the scenes, to tell this epic tale of survival, sacrifice and redemption, centered around the life of ex-convict, Jean Valjean, passionately portrayed by Andrew Colborne. “I remember (Colm Wilkinson’s) voice hitting me in the chest like a hammer,” Colborne recalls, having grown up listening to the original 1985 Les Miserables cast recording. “It was like nothing I had ever heard as a kid, and I knew that someday, I had to do that show, sing those songs, play that part…” – A part which Colborne brings to life with a complex range of intensity and tenderness – A tenderness which shines through the bleak atmosphere of the show in his shared stage time with Poor Factory worker Fantine, played by Jen Brown Nead, whose emotionally charged performance of the iconic song “I Dreamed a Dream” will leave theatre goers in wet eyed wonder. (cue tissues) “Fantine is very different from most of the roles (I have) played in the past,” Brown Nead admits, most recently gracing the Imperial Stage as The Narrator in Joseph, “due to the depth of the character and her sad and traumatic story – (but I have) enjoyed the challenge!”
Les Miserables is full of dreamers, wishing for better lives (“Castle On a Cloud”), unattainable relationships (“On My Own”), and for a brighter future (“Do You Hear The People Sing”), which the young student revolutionaries envision, just beyond their barricade. Leading the front is the charismatic Enjolras, whose fire and unbreakable spirit become truth thanks to the commanding presence of Dave Mitchell, another cast member whose theatrical dreams came true. “Being in ‘Les Mis’ has been the subject of many of my idle daydreams,” Mitchell remarks, no stranger to the Sarnia stage. “When the opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t believe my luck, to be in the right place at the right time. ‘Les Mis’ is the reason that I do Musical Theatre.” A sentiment shared by many, including Brent Wilkinson, fulfilling his own dream to reprise his role as the ruthless Inspector Javert. “I didn’t know Javert was a dream role until I played him in high school,” Wilkinson says, originally from Mississauga. “It didn’t take long to learn that this was a part I needed to play again, I just didn’t expect it so soon! I am grateful for this opportunity, and honoured that it is with Hidden Talents.”
There’s no denying the fact that Les Miserables has a magical affect on people, which you too can discover this spring. “You will be hard pressed to find something like this again in this town any time soon,” says Colborne. “I personally guarantee that the audience will be amazed within sixty seconds of the opening curtain – And that’s just the start…” adds Mitchell, “Get (tickets) fast. They won’t last long.”