The Oregon Community Theatre is kicking the new season off in a big way Nov. 8 with the first-ever community theatre production of “Les Misérables” in the Toledo area.
The cast and crew aren’t taking the opportunity lightly.
“It’s probably the most ambitious production we’ve ever done,” says Don Dauer, the musical’s director. Dauer has been an active participant in The Oregon Community Theatre for more than 10 years both as an actor, as well as having directed two other plays for the theatre.
|Top: Heather Cammarn (left), Lori Bee (behind center),
Autumn Krantz (center front), Hannah Buehler (right), all chorus
and prostitutes. (Photo courtesy of Oregon Community Theatre)
Bottom: Back row left to right, Hannah Buck, Noah Taylor,
Nick McNeal, Anna Giller. Front row left to right Ella Calbreath,
Zoe Catherine Cross-Nelms-Young Cosette, Katie Giller-
Gavroche, Karis Gladieux. (Photo courtesy of Oregon
“Les Misérables” brought a record number of auditions, with around 65 people finally being cast. Those lucky enough to get parts have already spent a solid month working solely on music.
Since Les Misérables is a musical where every word out of a character’s mouth is sung, making the right casting decisions was integral to its success, Dauer said.
“The hardest part of being a director, and I don’t care if it’s a small show up to a big musical, is the casting,” he said. “(But) it’s gratifying to know that once we get going, we made the right picks.”
There are also a number of extensive set pieces being constructed for the show, including a 24-foot barricade set which will come on stage as two pieces and will be rotated 180 degrees, creating an effect that Dauer hopes will leave the audience astounded.
“I’m hoping (the audience) walks out of theater saying, ‘Wow,’” he said.
“Les Misérables” takes place in early 19th Century France and follows the character Jean Valjean, who, after being imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread, breaks his parole and tries to find his own kind of redemption amidst The Paris Uprising of 1832.
“It’s 175 years old, but the emotions and the topics are actually quite current,” Dauer said. “They’re universal themes of redemption and rising above your circumstance.”
Already a favorite among fans of musicals, “Les Misérables” has found new interest, thanks to a recent Academy Award winning feature film adaptation. While Dauer is a fan of the film, he sees it as a completely separate entity from the stage version.
“The movie is not the play, that’s for sure,” he said, “but if people are coming to see the movie, I don’t think they’ll be disappointed.”
Dauer added he definitely feels pressure of living up to the high expectations at a community theatre level, but he’s convinced that their production is worthy of the material.
“We compare to anything you’d see in a professional theatre, for a whole lot less money,” he said.
And when it comes to the emotional content associated with the show, Dauer hopes that his production will have a powerful impact on those in attendance.
“It’s a heavy show,” he says. “I hope there’s not a dry eye in the house.”
The Oregon Community Theatre’s production of Les Misérables runs Nov. 8, 9, 15, and 16 in the Fassett Auditorium. Tickets are on sale now at 419-691-1398.
For more information on show times and directions, visit to oregoncommunitytheatre.org or log on to The Oregon Community Theatre’s Facebook page.