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In The Pipeline: Happy to be 'Miserables'

June 18, 2012|By Chris Epting
(Courtesy DEEN VAN…)

It's always nice to catch up with a local actor who returns to their stomping ground as part of a big production. With"Les Miserables,"playing through Sunday at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, there are actually two.

Weston Wells Olson, who plays Courfeyrac in the show, originally hails from South Dakota, but after attending Chapman University for three years, he feels like this is a big homecoming.

"I especially loved the nighttime beach pit fires at Huntington," he told me. "And so coming back here in a show like 'Les Miz' is a real thrill. I've invited friends and even some old Chapman teachers to come see the show."

Wells also told me that the day they arrive in a new city, like the day he and I spoke, they must be at the theater two hours early on opening night to get used to the new space and learn the lay of the land.

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He also shared a bit of advice for other local actors and actresses: "There will always be dry spells in this business, but don't ever give up. Do what you love — as long as you can make ends meet and you're doing what you love, you're doing something right. You have to have lots of patience in the business, but if you're good and you work hard, it will usually pay off."

He added, "I'll get nervous sometimes and wonder what will be next, and then something like this comes along and I know that I'll be working and traveling for months, which is really rewarding. But I still think about what comes next after this."

Wells has managed to stay busy since getting out of Chapman several years ago. He has performed at Segerstrom before — as a member of the Chapman choir. In his young career, he has also been a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Boston Pops.

Rachel Rincione, originally from Denver, also attended Chapman and wound up spending quality time here in Huntington.

"Best beaches anyplace," she laughed. "They turned me into a California girl."

She's part of what is called the "swing" in a production, which means she fills in for select members of the cast depending on scheduling and a variety of other factors.

"It's interesting," she told me. "I'm required to know eight sets of blocking, solo lines, costumes and props for eight ensemble rolls. And I must be available at a moment's notice, with my hair in pin curls with a wig cap, always ready in full makeup just in case I have to jump into costume. Maybe a cast member has other plans, or they might get injured — whatever happens, you have to be ready."

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