With heart, passion, and talent, Colorado AcademyUpper School students brought the house down with their performances of the musical Les Misérables, playing to standing-room-only crowds for three performances in April.
Supported by a large and very strong ensemble cast, lead roles were played by Seniors Sophie Berger (Eponine), Justin Ferrugia (Jean Valjean), and Rachel Harris (Madame Thénardier), Junior Willa Dorgan (Fantine), and Senior April Schwartz (Monsieur Thénardier). The CA creative drama team—Maclain Looper (Director), Steve Scherer (Technical Director/Set Design/Music Direction), and James Meehan (Technical Director)—led a large group of hard-working technical crew and musicians.
Set in early 19th-century France, Les Miz is the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant, and his desire for redemption after serving nineteen years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving child. It is based on the 1862 novel of the same name by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo.
In their rehearsals, Looper had told students, “You want the audience to come to a show and say, ‘I’m different now.’” There was little doubt that those lucky enough to see CA’s production of Les Miz left feeling they were different, because they had experienced what heart, passion, and talent—and many hours of devoted rehearsal—can create.
Inspired by the book, Daniel Finds a Poem, by Micha Archer, students from Grades 2 and 3 entranced their audience with song and dance—and a remarkably intricate spider web.
The students recreated a week in Daniel’s life, as he interacted with nature in the park and learned from different animals that there were many ways to create a poem. “Poetry Day will soon be here,” they announced at the outset, singing lyrics that had been created by their directors, Lower School Music Specialists Nora Golden and Brenda Bartel. Then, they sang, danced, and performed as they transformed into spiders, leaves, frogs, shadows, owls, and to everyone’s delight, fireflies in the dark.
One of the show’s many highlights was a rendition of the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” by all Second and Third Graders.
Daniel Finds a Poem ended with a commitment to community. “We are all one family,” students sang, as they bade everyone “Good night” in many different languages.