WINNSBORO — The arts came alive at Fairfield Central High School with the school’s theatre department putting on the musical Les Miserables.
That ambitious choice was anchored by senior Calvin Johnson who used his This School’s Got Talent competitor’s vocal ability to play the lead role of Jean Valjean. He provided the strong solos around which other talent was blended for the musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Shonberg.
FCHS teacher Julieann Neal said the high school theater department could do this play thanks to the depth of talent that was developed by the feeder summer programs established years ago by District Consultant Dr. Janet Mason and others, and now carried on by Neal.
Her eyes beamed with pride when talking of the growth shown by numerous students due to the rigors that rehearsals and performing put them through. In fact, several students played multiple roles in the play.
The FCHS theatre department and the choral department worked together in developing the students’ talents and helping them deliver a top notch version of the musical that is based on a Victor Hugo novel.
Considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century, the work dealt with morality, politics, law, gospel and justice in France, particularly among its poor class.
Throughout the play, Johnson dealt with Jean Valjean’s character a thief who is granted grace early on, then imprisoned and finally who must determine by his actions what shape those life circumstances have on his character and on those around him.
In the process, the musical gives insight into the human condition in a way that has made the enduring work of art a classic performed worldwide.
“We appreciated all the community support for our arts programs here in Fairfield County,” Neal said.
The theatre department especially thanked Don Silva for help with lights and sound; Melissa McCrary for help backstage; Joe Seibles for photography; Kelly Browning for helping with programs; Cottonyard Market for loaning windows as props; and Felicia Spann for bringing her daughter, Cas, to the rehearsals and supporting the teenage cast working with the child who played young Cossette.
The play was directed by Julieann Neal with Stacy Tyson as musical director and with the help of Fairfield County artist in residence, Joy Jacobs.
Contact Kevin Boozer at 635-4016 ext. 14 or firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @kevinboozer.