'Les Mis' tickets selling quickly
By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH -- Riverside Theatre's production of "Les Miserables" is the opposite of miserable, it's incredible.
Last weekend, the opening weekend saw hundreds of patrons gathering in the elegant theater to witness the most highly anticipated show of the season, "Les Miserables," which some have called the most popular musical in the world.
The dramatic musical follows the life story of Jean Valjean, a convict that turns his life around after he is shown mercy in an unexpected place.
The protagonist is played by David Michael Felty, a native Pennsylvanian, knows the part of Jean Valjean backward and forward, and his experience in that role shows.
From the opening number to the finale, Mr. Felty's presence onstage was more than seen, it was felt. His interpretation of Jean Valjean exuded inner turmoil, passion, devotion, fear and humility when appropriate.
His robust and vigorous voice resonated in the theater in musical numbers such as "Confrontation," and is beautifully contrasted by the poignant and pleading prayer song, "Bring Him Home."
During the approximately four-minute performance of the song, Mr. Fealty held the audience captive and breathless. His quiet voice and heartfelt delivery was jaw-dropping and achingly beautiful. In addition to thunderous applause, many sniffles were heard at the conclusion of the solo.
Thomas Alan Johnson, plays Javert, the counterpart to Jean Valjean and a law enforcement officer who makes it his life's goal to bring Jean Valjean to justice.
His experience with the character has also been quite extensive, including playing opposite with Colm Wilkinson, the original Jean Valjean.
His final scene in the musical "Soliloquy," was the most visually impactful and impressive of his numbers, holding out a note seemingly forever.
Another supporting character, Becky Gulsvig as Eponine, also had a standout moment, in her solo, "On My Own." Without going over the top, she acted out her role as a lovelorn young girl knowing her love was unattainable. Her voice painted the emotions an even deeper color and she was awarded with a hearty applause as well.
From beginning to end, the musical struck a chord with the audience, those who were already familiar with the music and story, as well as those who were not.
After the finale, patrons exclaimed at the quality of the stage scenes, the actors and the incredible orchestra, which was expanded for this performance.
Oscar Sales, marketing director for Riverside Theatre, said the performance run was originally scheduled to go through March 10, but has already been extended to March 17, and could even be extended a week further if the audience response demands it.
This musical should be one everyone is exposed to at least once. It will never be any closer than your own hometown, so the bottom line is: see this musical.
For tickets or more information, call (772) 231-6990 or visit www.riversidetheatre.com.