Sing they certainly did in a Les Misérables production that came to life at Finley Theater throughout June in an original staging by Sherman Community Players and Austin College, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Austin College faculty had prominent roles: Kirk Everist, associate professor of theatre, guest-directed the production; Liz Banks, assistant professor of theatre, designed the sets; and Wayne Crannell, associate professor of music, was vocal director of the production in which nearly every word is delivered in song.
Austin College students and alumni held principal cast and ensemble roles. They joined actors and musicians from the local community to create a stirring production of the wildly popular musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, based on the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo.
Katherine Ailshire ’14 took on the role of the bawdy and greedy Madame Thénardier; Jacob Dowell ’18 portrayed Marius, the wealthy and idealistic student who falls in love on the eve of political rebellion; and Kaitlyn Casmedes ’16 played Eponine, the street-wise girl who silently loves Marius even as she watches him fall in love with another.
The ensemble included students Marissa Brown ’18, Clarice Davidchik ’16, and Sarah Wilhelm ’15, along with faculty spouses Laura Goodman Dominick ’98, Julie Crannell, and Kate Boessen, and faculty children Lily Boessen, Grant Dominick, and Sarah McGinn.
Student cast members were among 10 Summerstock Fellows funded through the NEA grant. Fellows Caroline Hodge ’17, Travis Kannarr ’16, Tabatha Keton ’16, Kelvin Lane ’17, and Greyson Sanders ’16 were hands-on in creative preparation of sets and costumes and served on the crew for the show.
Anthony Nelson, artistic director of Sherman Community Players, produced the community collaboration that brought together a host of talent; “One Idea, One Community” advance events provided background for Les Mis, as the musical is known to fans. Speakers including Hunt Tooley, Austin College professor of history, and history student Kaitlyn Casmedes shared perspectives on the novel’s themes and connected the story to its place in history.
An early Sneak Peek rehearsal was held on campus in May with the full Austin College A Cappella Choir joining the ensemble and a number of Austin College musicians in the orchestra, led by Ricky Duhaime, Mosher Professor of Music.
Jacob Dowell—NOW Scholarship, Presidential Scholarship;
Kaitlyn Casmedes—Erwin E. Smith Research Fellows Program, Jayne C. Chamberlin Fellowship in Communication Arts, Mrs. Royce E. “Petey” Wisenbaker Presidential;
Marissa Brown—AC Community Scholars;
Clarice Davidchik—Ira T. Anderson Sr. Memorial Scholarship, John D. Moseley Alumni Scholarship;
Sarah Wilhelm—Kappa Gamma Chi Alumni Scholarship;
Caroline Hodge—William R. McLeRoy Presidential Scholarship;
Travis Kannarr—Elmer and Abbie Danner Scholarship, John D. Moseley Alumni Scholarship;
Tabatha Keton—Carolyn and Houston Harte Middle Income Assistance Endowed Grant, Satterwhite-Worden Independent Study Grant;
Kelvin Lane—Austin College Grant;
Greyson Sanders—Academic Excellence Scholarship