25th anniversary of ‘Les Misérables’ to open at Wharton Center
When on stage portraying a young, love-struck woman, Chasten Harmon said she is living out her dream.
Harmon plays Eponine, one of the main characters in the Broadway musical “Les Misérables.” It’s a role many actresses aspire to land, Harmon said.
“It’s probably one of the most coveted roles for most women in musical theater,” she said. “It’s something that I never expected to happen. It just shows that impossible things can happen.”
“Les Misérables,” a show that is set in early 19th-century France, will open at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Wharton Center’s Cobb Great Hall and run until Sunday.
“It’s an absolutely incredible musical,” Wharton Center’s Public Relations Manager Bob Hoffman said. “It’s unlike any other Broadway show.”
The production, which is based on a novel by Victor Hugo, details the lives of several individuals as they try to gain redemption during the French Revolution, including Jean Valjean, whose criminal record — which he earned by stealing a loaf of bread — turns him into an outcast among society.
“The whole story is about this guy who is trying to do the good thing, but my God, it’s the revolution in France, and there’s corruption everywhere,” Hoffman said. “At the end of the day, he rises up against the establishment.”
In honor of the show’s 25th anniversary, the production has been reworked with new staging and scenery, while still maintaining the same popular storyline.
“The goal was to show how theater has evolved by reimagining this piece,” Harmon said. “Everything has a slightly different feel to it, but it’s the same show everyone has grown to love — it’s just a new take on it.”
Megan Orth, who has seen “Les Misérables” twice, said the show is her favorite Broadway production, and she already has purchased her tickets to see it again while it’s showing in
“I can’t wait to be able to see it again,” the comparative cultures and politics and social relations and policy junior said. “You really can’t replace an experience like that.”
Orth said one of the reasons she enjoys the show so much is because of the compelling story it tells and the life lessons it teaches.
“It’s a show about people overcoming their situations in life and rising above them,” she said. “It’s a really inspiring show that really makes you think.”
East Lansing is just one of many stops the crew will make on the show’s U.S. tour, which began in November 2011 and will run until September 2012.
Harmon said so far, the journey has been successful, and she has enjoyed being involved with a production that has been so well received.
“There’s (‘Les Misérables’) fans everywhere,” she said. “They just come out of the woodwork. I’m just so honored to be part of this production where we have such a good following.”
Harmon said she wants audience members to walk away from the show with a feeling of hope and the belief that it is possible to alter one’s destiny if desired.
“I hope that they take away the message that nothing is impossible and to always hold on to and work for your dreams,” she said. “Even if times are low at one moment, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be like that forever.”