C’est magnifique! Rick Kerby, producing artistic director and director/choreographer, is making his vision for the new space come true with every nightly rendition of the signature song, “I Dreamed a Dream,” throughout the run of this spectacular season-opener at the Manatee Performing Arts Center.
Among the most brilliant of the world’s great classic literature, Victor Hugo’s novel ignited such a "grande passion" in lyric writer Herbert Kretzmer that he captured Hugo’s epic story so completely the actors sing out their hearts, hopes and humanity on the stage as if they were born from the book itself. Composer Claude-Michel Schonberg matches Kretzmer’s passion with the divine spirit of music, completing the triumvirate most responsible for the phenomenon affectionately known as “Les Mis.” Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel wrote the original French text, based on the novel.
To add a new rung to this "Art de Triomphe," Kerby has culled an entirely organic cast from the fertile soil of Florida’s west coast. His crop overflows in its sheer abundance and, most notably, its prolific talent, adding a new twist to the injunction, “Eat local!” I lack the space to mention each one individually, but, together they weave a richness that greatly enhances the broad proportions of this well-mounted musical.
Hugo’s iconic characters are well served here. As Jean Valjean, the peasant imprisoned 19 years for a desperately needed loaf of bread, Kenn C. Rapczynski is riveting in his singing and reveals Valjean’s nobility with his acting. Sarah Cassidy plays a sweetly sympathetic and desperate Fantine, who is also despicably treated by a hypocritical social structure. She invokes the fantasy of “I Dreamed a Dream,” and her duet with Rapczynski, “Come to Me,” is especially moving. Bradley Barbaro as the super-villain, Inspector Javert, the self-righteous emblem of those who seek to control and condemn others, is astonishingly powerful in his portrayal of this demanding role. Adding a more mundane brand of villainy as well as superb comic relief are self-serving tavern owners M. and Mme. Thenardier, played with clever salaciousness by multitalented David W. Walker and Stephanie Woodman-Costello. All three of their riotously funny scenes with the ensemble are loaded with delightful bits of choreography and tomfoolery. The young love triangle of Cossette, Marcus and Eponine is perfectly cast, played and sung by Anna Trinci, James Hyde and Holly Rizzo.
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- Saw Les Mis Saturday, I must say this has been THE BEST SHOW ever performed at the Players, I've been to all, for the last three years. The talented Bradley Barbaro and Holly Rizzo stopped the show. We have so much talent in our area.
23 Gloria Musicae Presents "In Thanksgiving: The Gift of Sharing"
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
28 The Jazz Club of Sarasota Presents "Jazz at Two" with Alex and Judi Glover
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
29 Dickey Betts & Great Southern Charity Concert
30 St. Andrews Day Celebration
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
PHOTO GALLERY: Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce Chairman's Reception
On Nov. 20, the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce held a Chairman’s Reception at Amore by Andrea, which recognized its former chairs from 1993 to 2013.
PHOTO GALLERY: Longboat Key Garden Club meeting
On Nov. 18, the Longboat Key Garden Club held its monthly meeting at Windward Bay.
Library books successful sale
Longboat Key must be home to lots of bookworms, because the Longboat Library’s Nov. 11 sale was the biggest in its 57-year history.