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Director Linda Cooper has been preparing 65 cast and crew members — the largest cast to ever take the Tower Theater stage — for Liberty University’s first performance of the semester, Les Misérables, which opens Sept. 13.
The show, described by Cooper as a “beautiful piece of literature,” follows the life of the criminal inmate Jean Valjean, who is finally released after 19 years of prison. When he realizes that he will never be free as long as he remains Valjean, he flees parole and attempts to create a whole new life for himself. Unfortunately, his past always seems to find him in the form of his pervasive parole officer Javert.
“I think (the audience) will be surprised,” Cooper said. “The movie does what it is supposed to do (and has) those wonderful close-ups and those intimate moments. But then the stage show does what it’s supposed to do, which (is to) have the feeling of epic grandeur from the large ensemble numbers. The power of the music comes through on the stage.”
According to its mission statement, Alluvion prides itself on producing professional, family-friendly theater. However, Les Misérables does contain some suggestive content that may not be suitable for young children.
In contrast to the very graphic violence and sexuality in the most recent film version, Cooper said the audience will not feel uncomfortable in any way.
Of the 50 actors in the playbill, most are not strangers to the Tower Theater. Veterans who are starring in the show include Taamu Wuya (Jean Valjean), Timmy Williamson (Javert), Kelli Overmyer (Fantine) and Sarah Seaman (Eponine).
“It has been an absolute blessing playing such a wonderfully captivating character such as Valjean,” Wuya said. “The range of scope on this is truly a powerful testimony, and I am excited for people to witness his extraordinary journey of redemption and grace.”
Alluvion Stage Company shows differ from other Liberty shows because they provide the cast and crew with professional credit, which, according to Cooper, is a rare opportunity for theatre students.
“This cast has been phenomenal to work with,” Cooper said. “As a director, I just hope I’ve cast them in places where they can shine. I don’t have to push, and I don’t have to pull. I just allow them to be.”
Wuya also expressed his gratitude toward Alluvion.
“Alluvion has definitely been an amazing experience for every student and (alumni) to be a part of,” Wuya said. “It has benefited me in the fact that I am getting the professional experience as an actor … and that experience gives you an edge when you audition for other professional theater companies because you know exactly what is expected of you.”
The show will run Sept. 13-Oct. 20. Ticket prices range from $5-$20 with special discounts for Liberty students, seniors, military members and children under 12 years old.
Tickets can be purchased online atticketreturn.com or by calling 1-434-582-SEAT or visiting the box office outside the Vines Center.