THE BRUNSWICK High School Players perform the barricade scene from “Les Miserables.” The musical will be performed in Crooker Theater on March 23-25.

THE BRUNSWICK High School Players perform the barricade scene from “Les Miserables.” The musical will be performed in Crooker Theater on March 23-25.

BRUNSWICK

Brunswick High School sophomore Hannah Perreault said when she first read the novel “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo last year in English class, she began practicing her high notes.

“I couldn’t be that role if I couldn’t sing the high notes,” she said during a rehearsal for the musical, which opens Thursday. That dream role, Cosette, is the one she now plays, standing transformed behind stage in a corseted, hoop-skirt period costume on loan from Maine State Music Theatre.

ELLIOTT NAGLER, in his costume for the role of Jean Valjean in Brunswick High School’s production of “Les Miserables.”

ELLIOTT NAGLER, in his costume for the role of Jean Valjean in Brunswick High School’s production of “Les Miserables.”

Perreault said the adapted musical from the novel set in 19th century France is such an iconic show, that anybody she speaks to about her role instantly knows her character. She said the cast has bonded during the weeks of rehearsals.

English and theater arts teacher Pamela Mutty directs the show. She said musical theater was her passion growing up, and in retirement she plans on being on stage herself again. She said “Les Miserables” is a show her students have been begging to do for as long as she can remember in her 23 years at Brunswick High School. Mutty said this particular show is very difficult to perform because you must have the right kids, and a large cast.

Many of the students involved this year are seniors who have been acting and singing in the program for several years.

“About a year ago, during the fall musical rehearsal, I heard somebody backstage singing a Les Mis song, and it was like an epiphany — we have the talent to do it this year,” Mutty said. She said the entire cast and crew is made up of about 70 students.

Mutty also praised Musical Director Ashley Albert, saying, “she gets those kids to sing like Broadway stars.”

Elliott Nagler, a junior who plays the lead Jean Valjean, said he loves the process and the product of the musical, and the magic he and his cast mates bring to the stage. Involved in theater since a young age, Nagler said he was always inspired by the high school productions as a kid.

“I’m a rambunctious person, and have a lot of energy to throw around, and express the deep emotional conflicts of the story on stage,” he said when asked what spurred his interest in acting and singing.

Nagler said the cast, director, and crew have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the production, preparing for three to four months for opening night.

Senior Isaac Boll, who plays Jean Valjean’s nemesis, Javert, has taken part in all the musical productions the past four years. He said Javert, to him, is the most important and complex character of the story. “He has minimal stage appearances, but he’s the one who ties all the characters together, and doesn’t represent a set theme, and comes to realize the law isn’t black and white.”

Claudia Brzoza, Nagler’s mother, said the show is really a schoolwide effort to transform the theater into 19th century Paris. Before the last snowfall, the actors had a mud fight in order to dirty their costumes to perfect the look of their characters, she said. Another parent of two students in the show, body building coach Michael Blakemore, took the cast into the school’s weight room to teach them how to lift weights and make them stronger like their characters in the story. Nagler has put on 17 pounds of muscle, and it has changed the way he carries himself as Valjean on stage, Mutty said.

Brzoza added the town is fortunate to have the Simpsons Point Children’s Theater, the Midcoast Youth Theater and The Theater Project in the community.

“A majority of kids on the stage have been part of productions by one or more of these groups,” she said.

Mutty said the show also could not have happened without the parents’ effort.

“I can’t say enough about the parents, the support has been amazing and really humbling,” she said, adding the set work, acquiring of obscure props and long Saturday hours have been just a part of their contribution to the show.

The show opens Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m., and runs through March 25.


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