OPS students wrap up Les Mis
July 12th, 2012
Omaha, NE – The Omaha Public School district wrapped up its summer musical program last weekend with the production of Les Miserables.
Shortly after the final bows and audience applause, the crew started to take down the Les Miserables set at Omaha South High School. Les Miserable is a story mainly about an ex-convictâ€™s struggle and journey to redemption set in 19th century France. Most of the characters in the play are adults with adult issues. Colin Brown is the director/producer of the show and an OPS vocal music director. Brown said his actors, ranging from third to 12th grade OPS students, had the opportunity to walk in adult shoes.
During a six week rehearsal period, Brown said all aspects of production were taught, including â€œthe music, lyrics and the story behind the French Revolution,â€ Brown said. Rehearsals also included sharing “stories of why people make choices they make when theyâ€™re pressed up against a wall,â€ he said.
â€œWhen youâ€™re poor or when youâ€™re down and outâ€ these are stories â€œwe didnâ€™t shy away from,â€ Brown said. â€œWe talked about the stories as a cast, in small groups and large groups,â€ he said.
Dawaune Hayes is one of 80 students in this production. Hayes is a recent Central High School graduate and heâ€™s been involved in theatre since seventh grade. He said his “sewer rat” character ruins people lives with no shame, and making his role believable was a challenge.
â€œI’m usually like a happy-go-lucky kind of guy,â€ Hayes said. â€œSo when I had to play a devilish, kind of unruly character, I read up about it and looked up other performances.”
â€œIt was a lot of investing time in what am I doing and why am I doing this, then developing a character from that,â€ he said.
Colin Brown also said to communicate this mature work effectively, all the students including actors, pit orchestra, and crew members had to work together. â€œThey have their parts to do and they need to be responsible for that,” he said, “but theyâ€™re also responsible to everyone else and they need everyone else.”
â€œThey need to rely on each other and build trust because we need everybody to make this work,â€ he said.
OPSâ€™ summer musical program will continue next year for its sixth consecutive run.
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