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By Kathy Carpenter

October 29, 2019 (La Mesa) - Over the past several years, I have been to numerous productions of Les Miserables at the Joan Kroc Theatre. Most of them featured young actors, most of them amazing. CYT's production is no exception. Spectacular. These young actors have phenomenal voices which is needed for these powerful songs. If this is a show you love or if you want something new to love, please support them.

You can see the show November 1-3. What better way to spend the weekend after Halloween?

Les Miserables takes us on the journey of Jean Valjean, who as a young man stole a loaf of bread to save his dying nephew. He was sent to prison for 19 years and is released  The epic tale is his road to redemption. Although working constantly to better his life, he is chased through the years by his enemy, Javert, set against the turmoil of 19th-century France.

The themes written about by Victor Hugo 157 years ago are still relevant today:  endeavoring to achieve personal freedom, the wish for peace, the search for love, and to try to understand and give forgiveness.  These are universal issues we all identify with.The characters surrounding the story and the score is what make Les Miserables an epic tale.

The first thing I noticed after taking my seat at the Kroc Center in La Mesa was the spectacular huge wooded sign on the stage of the logo. Beautiful.  The Artist is Dan Clarkson, owner of Danos Signs in East County.  I thought it was a show prop, but it was removed when the musical started.

Next, I need to mention the singing and live orchestra. The orchestra was flawless as they played the wonderful score, seemingly invisible as they blend into the songs. The voices of this incredible cast are powerful and strong.

Brayden Handwerger lead the cast with his strong performance of Jean Valjean, followed by his nemesis, CJ Rabine as Javert. Three of my favorite were Emma Filley as Eponine (I think I identify with her), Thenardier and his wife (David Atienza and Shelby Garza). Ms. Garza was so refreshingly delightful. The cast is huge and I cannot list all, but suffice to say under Linda Wolfe & Kim Messina as directors, everyone was all in. This was an epic cast.

The audience gave a standing ovation.

Warning: the theatre was freezing, so come prepared.

Whether you make this show or not, please consider CYT, which is an after-school theatre arts training program for students 4-18. Christian Youth Theatre is found in five areas of San Diego; check them or another youth theatre group out soon. In many cases such as this production, you forget you are even watching students. We are blessed in San Diego County to have many wonderful theatre programs.

The CYT presents Tradition of Christmas Remixed December 13th - 22nd, 2019.


Les Miserables

Joan Kroc Center

La Mesa



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