WANT TO GO?
Charleston Light Opera Guild presents "Les Miserables."
WHERE: Clay Center
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Nov. 8-9, 2 p.m. Sunday and Nov. 10
TICKETS: $25INFO: Call 304-561-3570 or visit www.theclaycenter.org
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Musical theater fans in West Virginia might get only a brief opportunity to see the Broadway titan "Les Miserables."
The Charleston Light Opera Guild opens the show this weekend as part of six performances at the Clay Center, but after that, it might be a long time before another production comes to the area.
The Tony-winning show, which recently enjoyed an Oscar-winning turn as a major motion picture, is set to return to Broadway in the spring -- after a very short season where it's available for license to community theater companies.
Director Nina Pasinetti said, "Anytime you're doing a production like this, you always say, 'Oh my goodness, you can't miss this one.'"
But, she added, if ever there was a show people in Charleston shouldn't miss, this is it.
Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, the musical tells the story of Jean Valjean, a brutish French peasant, convicted and imprisoned for stealing bread. When he's paroled after 19 years in prison, he struggles for redemption and to remain free from the clutches of Police Inspector Javert.
"Les Miserables" is one of the Broadway's longest-running and best-loved shows.
In fact, the show has been so beloved and so popular that Pasinetti said she never thought she'd live to see a time when the rights to produce the play would be granted to community theater groups like the Charleston Light Opera Guild.
"A few years ago, high school groups could do a reduced version of 'Les Mis,'" she said, "but I was really kind of pessimistic that they were ever going to let anybody else try it."
Just the same, Pasinetti said, the guild has long had a standing order that if "Les Miserables" did become available, it would pre-empt a planned show in favor of mounting a production.
The group got its chance this year, but Pasinetti said the guild still couldn't have pulled it off without the support of four sponsors and a partnership with the Clay Center.