By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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SEQUIM –– Do you hear the people sing?
You can for the next three weekends, as the songs of angry men emanate from Sequim High School's auditorium for Peninsula Family Theater's musical interpretation of the French Revolution adapted from Victor Hugo's novel Les Miserables.
“It's a huge production, but it's a really powerful story,” director Robin Hall said. “But the voices are amazing and powerful, and I think everything has fallen into the right place to put on a really great show.”
“Les Miserables” shows in the Sequim High School Auditorium, 601 N. Sequim Ave., at 7 p.m. tonight (Friday), Saturday at noon and 7 p.m., July 24-26 and 31 and Aug. 1-2.
Tickets are $20 premium, $15 adults, $12 for seniors and children and $10 for the balcony. They are available in advance online at beyondthebarricades.com or penfamtheater.org; at Joyful Noise Music Center, 112 W. Washington St.; or at the door.
Inspiration for this show came from the Sequim High School choir's trip to New York City this spring.
There to perform at Carnegie Hall, the choir and its chaperones, like Hall, took some time tosee a selection of Broadway shows.
“Les Miserables” was one of them.
“I saw it twice while we were there,” Hall said. “I saw a matinee, and I said, 'I'm going back.'
“We kind of modeled it off of that.”
John Lorentzen, director of the school choir and music director for “Les Miserables,” also said the Broadway performance has had a big influence on the Sequim show.
“We have some amazing talent right here,” he said. “It may not be Broadway, but it's close.”
The musical tells the story of Jean Valjean, known as Prisoner 24601, who breaks free from parole to create a new life outside the barricades.
Set during the French revolution, the story climaxes during the 1832 June Rebellion, when disaffected citizens attack the barricades.
Mark Lorentzen, John's son, plays Valjean, a role he played 10 years ago as a high school student in Reno, Nev.
“It's a big role, that's for sure,” he said. “But I'm always up for a challenge, and this is a real chance to stretch out.”
Mark Lorentzen also helped design the set for the Sequim production.
Typically a lavish construction staged on a turntable, Mark Lorentzen helped secure projections based on Hugo's original paintings to accommodate the smaller confines of the high school stage.
And, while the school setting presented the production with stage design challenges, Hall and Mark Lorentzen said the auditorium's acoustics work well with the booming voices used to sing the “Les Miserables” songs.
“It's a great space for this,” Mark Lorentzen said. “The voices really fill up this room and balance well with the orchestra.”
“The voices are amazing,” Hall said.
Peninsula Family Theater has staged musicals in Sequim in the past but for the last several years has focused on children's workshops, Hall said.
“We've been around for a bit, and there's a lot of fun stuff we've been working on,” Hall said. “The great thing about it is we really are a family production.”
Hall said the theater troupe is now in the early stages of planning another lavish show in the summer of 2015.
Whole families are involved in “Les Miserables,” be they mothers and sons working in costuming and sound or the music director and his children cast in key roles. In addition to Mark Lorentzen's Valjean and John Lorentzen's oversight of the music, Anne, Lisa and Kathryn Lorentzen all also have integral roles in the play.
“It's really an amazing family and community effort,” John Lorentzen said.