The Bedford High School Drama Club will present its musical, Les Misérables: School Edition, on the evenings of May 21 and May 22 at 7 pm.
In a year fraught with unrest and uncertainty, Les Misérables: School Edition, by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, based on the novel of the same name by French writer Victor Hugo, is a timely choice.
Les Misérables tells the story of Jean Valjean, a former convict who struggles to break free of the stigma of imprisonment and build a new life for himself. Though he is able to find success and build a family, he is pursued by his nemesis, a police inspector named Javert, whose strong moral code leads him to pursue Valjean for decades.
Les Misérables is a story about the struggle between right and wrong, and the power of love, sacrifice, and redemption.
This year’s production will look a little different due to COVID-19 restrictions. Rather than purchasing tickets and attending the performance in person at BHS, attendees will buy a ticket to live-stream the musical and log in from home to enjoy the recorded production.
Staging a musical during a pandemic has presented some unique challenges, which the cast, crew, musicians, and production team have approached with creativity and patience.
This year, the cast includes 38 BHS students and five JGMS students, who began their rehearsal process in January. Students met over Zoom with music director Evan Grunwald and director Katrina Faulstich to rehearse their music together, before recording each of their singing parts separately from their own homes. These recordings were mixed together by Jim Felker to blend the voices into a soundtrack for the show.
Once the recordings were complete, students began the visual filming process, which took place in a variety of locations. A newly-created green screen room at BHS served as the backdrop for indoor scenes, and many outdoor locations around BHS and Bedford were used to stage the majority of the film, including Chip-In Farm, St. Michael’s Parish, First Church of Christ Congregational, and the Bedford Police Department.
Students practiced social distancing, wore masks to protect each other, and were happy to approach the new challenges created by performing a musical during a pandemic.
The 20-student Les Misérables crew, has also adapted to many new challenges. While many of the standard crew jobs remained, like building sets and props, there were many added layers of complexity. Our crew members took on new tasks like designing virtual backgrounds, filming, and editing videos. These students have undertaken the new challenges with enthusiasm and professionalism, and have been vital in supporting the change from putting on a staged musical, to making a movie version of the musical.
The pit orchestra is composed of 15 musicians, a combination of current JGMS and BHS students and faculty, as well as BHS alumni. Much like the cast, the musicians also had the challenge of meeting over Zoom to learn and discuss the score before recording their parts individually at home or at school. The pit musicians spent many hours practicing and recording each iconic song, and they will hear themselves as a complete ensemble for the first time on opening night.
Bedford High School Presents Les Misérables: School Edition streams on May 21 and May 22 at 7 pm.
For this virtual performance, ticket prices are based on the number of devices watching the stream, rather than the number of people viewing per device. If possible, ticket buyers are encouraged to make an additional donation toward the performance commensurate with the number of people in their household who’ll be watching the show. Audience members will receive a unique code via email for their chosen performance(s) after purchasing their tickets.
For tickets, please visit: https://bhschorusandtheater.weebly.com/tickets.html
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Bedford Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
LES MISERABLES SCHOOL EDITION
Is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).
All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.