Les Misérables prepares to rush the stage at Actors Studio

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The musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s timeless novel has been thrilling and inspiring its audiences—from London to Broadway, from Asia to Australia—for over twenty-five years. It has been translated into 22 different languages. Critics have hailed it as “one of the best musicals of all time,” and no less than “a certified phenomenon; a marvel of musical theatre.”

Les Misérables follows Jean Valjean as he is pursued by the implacable Inspector Javert through some of the most tumultuous years in French history. The musical has won over 50 major theatre awards, including eight Tony Awards and a Grammy. It is the longest running musical in London’s West End, and the third longest running in Broadway history.

General Manager, Nathan Flavel directs, choreographs and designs the production, with music by current resident music director Roslyn Frantz

“This is a stellar professional cast matching the talent level I have seen in productions in New York, Chicago and Seattle. Their powerful passionate voices have me wanting to stand up and applaud and we are only in rehearsals. It’s certain to be the most compelling evening of musical theatre that Kelowna has seen”  shares Flavel.

The production features Randy Leslie as Jean Valjean, Karlisa Hiebert as Fantine, Rick Worral as Javert,  Laura Marie Benty as Cosette, Chelsea Sptillle as Eponine, Brandon Shalansky and Lyndsey Wong as Monsieur and Madame Thénardier, and Mac Mackay and Danny Tagle as the revolutionaries Marius and Enjolras, respectively.

Childrens’ performers include Vuk Prodanovic as the fledging revolutionary Gavroche, Taylor Baker and Kate Hammer as Young Cosette and Young Eponine at alternating performances.

With 38 ensemble members, this is the biggest cast in Kelowna Actors Studio history.

 

Selected Cast & Crew Biographies

Karlisa Lindberg Hiebert, playing Fantine, appeared in the professional Toronto Company of Les Miserables where she had the great privilege of performing for “Lady Diana”.  After 1 year and approximately 500 performances in the Ensemble and as an understudy, she was selected by Claude-Michel Schönberg  (author of Les Miserables) to play the lead role of Eponine for the Canadian National Touring Company, which toured for over 1 1/2 years. Her career in musical theatre began at a very young age and she has received much recognition for her accomplishments in performances in the Vancouver Performing Arts community.  Other favourite roles include Tzeitel in Huron Country Playhouse’s “Fiddler on the Roof”, Rizzo in Grease, Gertie Cummins in Oklahoma for Theatre Under the Stars and Diana in “Anne of Green Gables” for Gateway Theatre.

Randy Leslie plays the repentant prisoner Jean Valjean. He is the Artistic Managing Director of Kelowna Actors Studio. His credits include last seasons roles of Fred Gaily in Miracle on 34th Street – the Musical, Albin/Zaza in La Cage Aux Folles and Gepetto in Disney’s My Son Pinocchio.  Other roles include Max Bialystock in The Producers, Molina in Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Felix in the Odd Couple as well as many others.  His next project will be teaching Kelowna Actors Studio students in the young company production of Spring Awakening as well as Sweeney Todd School Version, Willy Wonka Jr. and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  He will be directing Shrek – The Musical for December.   Randy is the recipient of the 2013 Best Teacher/Professor in Kelowna as well as other awards including the City of Kelowna Honour in the Arts and the first ever Okanagan Angel Award.   Leslie will be creating the lighting and hair design for this epic musical.

Rick Worrall plays the relentless police inspector Javert. He has been performing professionally for over thirty years. He was signed with Attic Records in 1978 and released two albums.  His music was charted on both top 40 and country radio stations across the country. Worrall and his brother formed the band ‘Worrall” and released an album on the A&M Label.  Their single ‘In the Heat of the Night’ became a top 30 hit. They toured Europe and North America until 1993 at which time Rick, returned to his solo career. In 2003 Rick returned to his country roots in Calgary performing in various clubs and casinos which he still does to this day.

Worrall’s theatre credits for KAS include Daddy Warbux in Annie, Milos Gloriosus in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum, Emile de Becque in South Pacific, Vittorio Vidal in Sweet Charity, Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd and  Henry in Lend Me A Tenor.  

Laura Marie Benty, who plays Cosette, is a graduate of  the Playhouse North School of Theatre and the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts in Toronto.   Her experience in TV/Film, drama (Calgary Fringe) and musical theatre is evident from such productions as The Fallen, I Love You Because, Hair,  Cyrano de Bergerac, The Curious Savage as well as others.

Danny Tagle, Enjolras, started as a band leader for “G2-41”, (keyboard/vocals) 1998-2002 and was in various local TV shows in the Philippines.  In 2003-2005 he was involved with the top Theatre Company of the Philippines,  performing in Pinocchio, the Wizard of Oz and Romeo oh Romeo.

In 2005 he worked in Hong Kong and joined the opening team for Disneyland, eventually becoming Dance Captain for the show Disney on Parade.  Tagle travelled Asia for a series of special events and auditions including being a stunt captain/choreographer for High School Musical Live, The 5th year anniversary celebration of Hong Kong,  Disneyland’s Flights of Fantasy as well as many other productions.  He has also been Musical Director for a series of Disney Concerts (I Love Hong Kong – the Musical, Summer Lovin’ Fun, Give my Regards to Broadway).

Tagle is a Certified Digital Film maker (Hong Kong International Film Academy) as well as a certified Zumba Fitness Instructor, CPR-C and AED certified and a dance instructor at various companies in Kelowna.

Chelsea Spittle plays Eponine. She appeared in the KAS School Version of the musical two years ago playing the same role and is a member of Kelowna Actors Studio professional Youth Troupe Acting Company, performing the Musical Spring Awakening in June 2014. Miss Spittle has been a member of many KAS productions including Sweet Charity, My Son Pinocchio, Rent as well as school productions.

Brandon Shalansky plays the dishonest innkeeper Thénardier.  Les Miserables will mark Shalansky’s 16th show with the studio. Select theatre credits include: Peter Pan, Fawlty Towers (Basil Fawlty), A Streetcar Named Desire,  Annie (Rooster), Evita, Barefoot in the Park, Guys and Dolls (Nicely), My Son Pinocchio (Stromboli) and La Cage Aux Folles (Georges). Brandon is currently studying Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, has published numerous poems, short stories and plays, and was shortlisted for the 2013 Okanagan Short Story Award.

Lyndsey Wong plays Madame Thénardier.   Growing up, she was involved in numerous productions at Keyano Theatre in Fort McMurray, Alberta, and studied Violin, Piano and Classical Voice for many years.  Another great passion lay in Polynesian (Hula) Dance, with some dabbling in Chinese and Jazz. Wong decided to pursue Medicine as a career, but studied Voice as a minor during her B.Sc. Roles have included Papagena in “The Magic Flute” and Lauretta in “Gianni Schicci” in both full-scale operas at the University of Alberta from 2001-2005.

Mac Mackay, playing the love-struck Marius, has appeared as Brave Sir Robin in Spamalot, Joe in 9 to 5, Jean-Michelle in La Cages Aux Folles, Mr. Macy in Miracle on 34th Street, Freddy in My Fair Lady, Magaldi in Evita as well as several of our music stand series productions.  He is the music director for the young company Troupe’s production of Spring Awakening.

Nathan Flavel directs and choreographs the production and provides the scenic design. Past directorial credits include Sweet Charity, White Christmas, The Producers, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, It’s A Wonderful Life as well as others. He is the General Manager of Kelowna Actors Studio and recipient of the City of Kelowna Honour in the Arts 2011, the Okanagan Arts Award 2012 for Theatre,  and the Kelowna Chamber of Commercie 2007 Business Excellence Award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year.  Flavel also sits on the board of Tourism Kelowna and is a performer having portrayed Paul Bratter in Barefoot In the Park, Che in Evita, Joseph in Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Max in Lend Me A Tenor to only name a few.

Roslyn Frantz is our resident music director since 2010. Roslyn is a native of Portland, Oregon where she received her early training as concert pianist and voice coach.  After an extensive career on the concert stage with various orchestras, opera and musical theatre groups around the continent Roslyn settled in the Okanagan in 1981 where she has been a piano soloist, orchestra pianist, chamber music performer, free-lance accompanist and voice coach and continues to mentor students of all ages in piano,voice, harp, strings, and performance.

Hazel Rodgers designs costumes, assisted by LORI LAWLER. After working for over 25 years in the fashion and costume industry in Montreal,  Rodgers moved to Kelowna and began designing for theatres here including Kaleidoscope Theatre (Anne of Green Gables), TKS (Anne of Green Gables, The Memory of Water), Viva Musica (CATS, Miss Saigon, A Chorus Line), and for the past two years she has enjoyed costuming all the shows here at KAS with her favourites being the musicals Into the Woods & My Fair Lady.

Quick Facts:

Les Miserables
October 23rd to Nov 10, 2013
Kelowna Actors Studio
1379 Ellis Street
Directed by Nathan Flavel
Music Direction by Roslyn Frantz

Showtimes
Wed-Sunday Evenings  8pm
Sat & Sunday Matinee 1pm
Tickets as low as $54 or including a 4 course plated dinner from $83.

Buy Tickets

Book by  Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg Music by  Claude-Michel Schönberg Lyrics by  Herbert Kretzmer

Presented by:
“One of the great joys of wine, like the arts, is how it brings people together. The View Winery is a proud supporter of The Kelowna Actors Studio and its run of Les Miserables and we are excited to share our finest wines with its patrons this season.  Enjoy the performances and be sure to visit us soon at The View. We’re open year-round. It’s easy to find us…just look for the Red Shoe!”

www.theviewwinery.com

Jennifer Turton-Molgat, President of The View Winery

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