Over the years, the student performers of the Academy for the Performing Arts at Huntington Beach High School have taken on some formidable challenges, but never one quite so daunting as "Les Miserables." Until now, that is.
Tim Nelson, who functions as director and musical director of the program, has chosen the greatest of all musicals for his school's spring production. And the results are impressive.
Adapted 25 years ago from the classic Victor Hugo novel, "Les Miserables" spans a three-decade period of French history to document an 1832 peasant uprising in Paris that turned bloody. The musical version blends unflagging dedication to principle with raucous, blatant ribaldry and heartfelt, blossoming romance.
Nelson's version is billed as the "school edition," yet its differences from the four professional productions I've witnessed are exceedingly minimal. It's every bit as demanding on vocal and dramatic talents as a touring rendition in a major theater, and the language hasn't been softened for student consumption.