CHENNAI: Thirty years after the first theatrical production of Les Misérables was staged in Paris, the musical finally comes to Chennai. And with home-grown talent, no less. And here’s the cool part — the woman behind all, Amrita Frederick wasn’t even born when it kicked off so many years ago and later went on to become a Broadway bestseller. “I guess what made me want to stage it in Chennai was the fact that it’s a story that anyone can relate to,” the 25-year-old founder of The KuKu Company says simply. “Also of course, while a lot people have heard the name, there’s a very limited section of Chennai’s audience that has actually seen it before,” she says.
For those who didn’t catch the Oscar winning 2012 film that was based on the French novel by Victor Hugo, here’s a run down on the story. Set in 19th century France, Jean Valjean is an ex-convict who has served 19 years in prison for having stolen a loaf of bread for his starving sister’s child. He decides to turn his life around when a kindly Bishop inspires him, and along the way meets a number of other characters all suffering the injustices of the political turmoil in Paris that culminate in the Paris Uprising of 1832.
Long and winding, yes. But here’s the fun part. The entire length of this two-hour production is sung through. And Amrita roped in veteran conductor Augustine Paul to take the reins. “So we don’t have a script like most musicals,” she clarifies. “We’ve got a 500-page musical score!” And here’s the clincher. Through the rehearsal sessions, the production’s entire cast of 50, has been taught to read musical theory! Now that’s a ‘mis’-sion impossible feat if we ever heard of one.
Les Misérables will be staged at the Sir Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall, Harrington Road on June 28 and 29. For tickets, contact 9840612333 or 9840236367