Dream a Dream with the Cast of Les Miserables

The story became a household favorite when in 2012 a cast of all-star actors and sensational vocalists came together on the big screen to portray the life and times of 19th-century France. Our leading man Jean Valjean ages before our eyes, struggling with his past, constantly hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert. A destitute mother becomes desperate to save her child, we meet the scoundrels who stand in the wake, and are exposed to the convictions that change their lives forever. Les Misérables - the world's most beloved musical with Book & Original Lyrics by Alain Boublil and Music by Claude-Michel Schöenberg will run for 16 performances from August 12 - 24th.

Just Off Broadway, Inc. Board President Jim Pillmeier was in attendance during the Monday evening dress rehearsal. The actor and theater enthusiast was glued to the show. I asked him at intermission what his favorite scene is. With so many show stoppers, I knew it would be a tough question to answer. He thoughtfully replied that an interaction early in Act I between Javert and the Bishop sets a running theme for the duration of the musical. Pillmeier's favorite part is a nail biting piece of the dramatic tale, and concepts like forgiveness, disparity and restitution are recurring dilemmas within the storyline. 

Andrew Arrow as Javert

As usual, Just Off Broadway, Inc. centered at the Theatre at West Short Station on Water St. in Newburgh, grabs us by the gut and dares us to watch and not become enraptured entirely by the spirit of the show. This time they called on the talents of three acting professionals - Ed Romanoff (Thénardier), Richard Coons (Jean Valjean) and Andrew Arrow (Javert) - courtesy of Actors' Equity Association - to tear the roof off of the house (and man do they wail!). But, as usual the local talent dazzles with acting excellence and vocal prowess that has become the staple of the Just off Broadway, Inc. performances. 

The roles of Gavroche (Maddox Skigen) and Young Cosette (Madilyn Bunzey) were played with vigor. The pair leave an indelible mark on the hearts of the audience. Bunzey's delicate and unequivocal portrayal of a young girl without a friend in the world sets the stage for Cosette's destiny perfectly. Skigen's performance as a mighty-mini revolutionary is boisterous. His fate during battle lends a poignancy that stings until the bitter end. (Jeremy Lanuti and Grace Riley will alternate Gavroche and Young Eponine) 

Cat Capolupo tugs at the heartstrings as Fantine, a character whose luck never seems to find her. She steals her moment in the famous dramatic ballad "I Dreamed a Dream". The song is in a league of its own and Capolupo delivers with a climb through challenging octaves and key changes that sends her colorful voice high across the room. 

Eliza Benfer is show-stopping as Eponine, a classic beauty whose impoverished fate is trampled by an insatiable lust for romance. Her rendition of "On My Own" rivals Samantha Bark's Broadway rendition also seen on the big screen. It's a quintessential and heartfelt internalization of Eponine's tortured but hopeful heart. She is a standout among a company of already outstanding talent. The 16-year-old soon-to-be junior - a student at Marlboro High School - has a voice with a sultry and sweet quality that is chromatic and pitch-perfect. Benfer is a rising star who shines very brightly in this production. 

Supporting actor Pierce Davis (Enjorlas) leads the rabble of strapping young revolutionaries to glory despite a tragic turn of events. The men's chorus rings out with prestige during "Do You Hear the People Sing?" The outrage is palpable and the downtrodden are impressive in their total commitment to the period of the story. M'Lanie Hunter, Hannah Blair Butler and Jarek Zabczynski are familiar players from past JOB, Inc. productions and they give a life to their characters that helps us transport completely into the moment as though part of the story ourselves. Altogether over 40 actors will take the stage, packing a punch that will leave you breathless. Hilarity ensues, drama overwhelms and love pulsates in this fantastic not-to-be-missed production directed by Joyce A. Presutti with musical direction by Patrick A. Hoagland. 

The cozy Theatre at West Shore Station will be home to Les Mis for 16 performances. 

AUGUST 12-24
Tuesday - Saturday at 7:00PM
Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 2:00PM

Tickets $25 - $30 - Buy them Now!

- OR pay $35 at the door -

Running time - apx. 3 hours including a 15 minute intermission.

**********************

Motion Picture Association Rated Les Mis PG 13 due to mature themes and some violence.

Photos by the talented Jon Valle - an associate of Allan E Levine Photography.

Ed Romanoff's hilarious portrayal of Thénardier

*******************

Starlet Madilyn Bunzey as Young Cosette

*****************

The cast sings "One Day More"

 

Headlining Photo: Richard Coons with Angelina Martelli 

Photos by the talented Jon Valle - an associate of Allan E Levine Photography.