Mississippi College

Music Department Presents Les Miserables at Mississippi College

September 18, 2013

Victor Hugo’s French historical novel, “Les Miserables” is considered one of the best literary works in the 19th Century. Today, the novel continues to impress audiences with its superb film and stage versions.

Patrons are rushing to buy tickets for the musical “Les Miserables” well before the October 11 opening night for the Mississippi College Music Department production on the Clinton campus.

Booked for six performances at Jean Pittman Williams Recital Hall through October 20, the show represents “a combination of the best singers/actors from the MC student body, faculty, Music Department and the metropolitan area,” says professor Carol Joy Sparkman.

Sparkman, the show’s musical director joins the entire cast putting in long hours at rehearsals at the 217-seat auditorium in Aven Hall. “Seats are selling quickly for these performances,” the Clinton resident says.

All six shows on the Clinton campus “will sell out or pretty close to it,” adds Dottie Serio, the Music Department secretary.

Showings are Oct. 11-13 and Oct. 18-20. Evening performances are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and there will be two Sunday afternoon matinees beginning at 2 p.m.

Made into a popular feature film in 2012 starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, the Victor Hugo classic unfolds in 1815 in Digne, France.

Les Miserables tells the story of Jean Valjean who for decades was hunted by a ruthless policeman named Javert. After breaking parole, Valjean agrees to care for the factory worker Fantine’s daughter, Cosette. That fateful decision forever changes their lives. The novel was transformed into a lively musical in 1980.

Helping make the 2013 MC production such a hot ticket in town is Chris Roebuck, a 1993 Mississippi College graduate who’s serving as stage director. Chris serves as the education director at New Stage Theatre in Jackson.

Others playing a part in the production include Terry Dent, the Mississippi College director of student success. The former biology professor sings the role of the Bishop of Digne. He also sings in several smaller crowd scene one-liners.

“What I love about Les Mis, and what took me totally by surprise the first time I saw it is an incredible story of grace and how grace can change a man’s life,” says Dent, a Clinton resident. “The music is great, the story is intriguing, but the message is amazing.”

Over the years, Mississippi College has staged “some really great musical productions, and this one, I think, may top them all,” Dent said.

The lead role of Jean Valjean is played by Mississippi College graduate John Christopher Adams, a budding star and talented tenor.

Professor Angela Willoughby, who chairs the Music Department, expects to see a big turnout at each showing of “Les Miserables,” and she believes audiences will love every minute. “We’re all anticipating what we know will be a wonderful and exciting performance run! It’s a moving story and I’m sure our cast will bring it to life with exuberance.”

Area students playing parts in the production include Mississippi College junior Andrew Fehrenbacher and senior Kayla Fuentes, both of Jackson, and sophomore Jamie Ferguson of Clinton.

For more information on tickets, contact Dottie Serio in the Music Department office at 601.925.3440 or serio@mc.edu.

Photo: Professor Angie Willoughby, chair of the Mississippi College Music Department holds a "Les Miserables'' poster promoting the October show on the Clinton campus. The Clinton resident is joined by music students Mary Catherine McKibben of Cumberland, MS and Olivia Broome of Columbia. Olivia plays the part of Eponine in the MC production.

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