St. Francis to stage ‘Les Misérables’ May 3-11Written by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Kastner once dreamed a dream of putting on “Les Misérables.”
For his 15th year as St. Francis de Sales High School’s musical director, that dream will come true.
Amid the excitement of planning the show, challenges did present themselves. One of the most challenging aspects was the vocals, he said.
“You really have to have some pretty awesome singers to be able to produce the show the way everybody wants to see it,” Kastner said.
“Once you start singing this show, it’s sung throughout the entire two hours and 15 minutes. Most musicals, you’ll stop and then there’ll be a whole bunch of dialogue. … This one, it starts at the very beginning and it just rolls.”
Another challenge was cohesively combining the on-stage designs with the 25-piece orchestra in the pit. The first time the performers will get to practice with the orchestra is only a few days before opening night.
Kastner said even though the music is a challenge, it’s still one of his favorite aspects of the show.
“There’s no bad music in it,” Kastner said. “It’s one song after another and every one of them are just amazing songs.”
Kastner said possibly the only other musical that could compare is “The Phantom of the Opera.”
More than 100 students auditioned, including students from St. Ursula Academy and Notre Dame Academy. Kastner said of the 70 girls who auditioned, half of them wanted to play Eponine (who sings “On My Own”) while the other half wanted to play Fantine (who sings “I Dreamed a Dream”). He cast 78 students for the musical, his biggest cast to date.
“It was amazing — the talent that came out for this show,” Kastner said.
Kastner is anticipating comparisons to the Broadway musical and the movie adaptation that was released in December.
“Anyone who went to see the movie now has this image in their head,” he said. “It’s a little bit like doing ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and everybody wants to see Judy Garland sing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’”
Kastner said he didn’t choose to do the musical right after the film was released; that was just coincidence in timing.
“It all just worked out really well,” he said. “The movie introduced the show probably to an entirely different audience who can’t get to New York and pay $120 for a ticket.”
The movie doing well at this year’s Oscars just drummed up his excitement more.
“That helps,” Kastner said. “If the movie would’ve come out and it would’ve been terrible … I would’ve just said, ‘Well, you need to come see our play.’”
Showtimes for “Les Misérables” are May 3, 4, 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Franciscan Theatre at Lourdes University, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and $12 for seniors.