H-LOCAL SPOTLIGHT

Aug 2, 2013 6:15 PM by Dan Shadwell, KSBY News

Local Spotlight: Les Miserables

This weekend, the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande presents Les Miserables.

In the famous musical, France is on the verge of revolution, and a convict who just got out of prison breaks parole and is on the run. In the meantime, a corrupt inn-keeper celebrates the system that's made him successful.

"He (Mr. Thenardier) provides the comic element of the show, and then it starts to get into a much darker spot," says Nik Johnson of the character he plays. "You can equate him down to a thief, basically, and as the story progresses through the years, he kind of gets worse and worse and degrades into a much more slimy sort of criminal."

But if Les Mis has its share of rats, there's also no shortage of idealists full of strong beliefs and sentiment, as in a song sung by Marius, a young attorney who takes to the streets to demand reform, only to see his fellow students killed.

"He and his students went to battle to fight for a greater tomorrow, greater future, and Marius is the only one that survives that battle," said Greg Gorrindo, who plays Marius.

"The main story is really about redemption and I think it offers the opportunity to the idea that everybody is redeemable and everybody really has to work for it, but people are redeeming themselves all the time in their day to day life," said Johnson.

They're big themes with lots of intertwining story lines and it's a big production for the Clark Center.

"You layer every technical element, a moving floor, set pieces that weigh 500 pounds, things flying in, microphones, you know, orchestration, you name it, we layer it," said Jenny Shaheen, producer.

"This is a famous show, but the music is so epic and so sweeping and so beautiful that people go out humming the songs," said Gorrindo.

Les Mis plays through this weekend at the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande.

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