Building on the success of The Phantom’s Lair last year, Chestermere’s Public Library will be presenting musical excerpts from Les Misérables this October.
The performance comes as part of the Library’s commitment to bring more cultural events to the city.
“Library’s aren’t just books anymore,” said Chestermere Public Library Assistant Director Cathy Burness.
She said that the addition of special live events is an added service to the community just as DVDs and video games that are available to be borrowed or their partnering with services such as Hoopla to provide streaming content.
“We’re trying to provide what our community wants and it’s become very clear to use that they want these special events,” said Burness.
Part of the popularity of the live events could be due to the lack of theatre and other live performances in the city.
“We are sadly lacking in cultural events in Chestermere,” she said.
“Fortunately we have staff and connections with the city staff who are super enthusiastic and passionate about bringing culture to Chestermere,” said Burness.
Using those connections, Burness said they are working to expand this year’s performance bringing on more singers.
With the Phantom’s Lair, Burness said they wanted to celebrate the musical The Phantom of the Opera by recreating some of the key scenes at the library.
“Clearly we cannot have an Opera in the Library,” said Burness, “so we had vignettes set up with quite elaborate decorations.”
They had two local singers play the lead roles of The Phantom and Christine Daaé.
For Les Misérables, the decision was made to go with simpler backgrounds for the different vignettes which has allowed them to expand from the cast of two, to a much larger cast, and they hope a chorus as well.
“We can create that atmosphere and it will be easier for us to create a really interesting backdrop and the sets for the vignettes,” said Burness.
Both of the leads from last year’s performance, Mel Porter and Graydon Pease are coming back.
Burness said that Pease will be playing the lead role of Jean Valjean in the performance.
Other roles that they have cast include Fantine, Éponine, and Cosette.
They are still looking for someone to play the role of Marius Pontmercy as well as singers to make up a chorus.
Burness said they haven’t decided whether to include other important characters from the musical including Inspector Javert and Monsieur and Madame Thénardier.
“In the story, the original book or any of the productions I’ve seen, Marius is fairly young and that would definitely be our preference,” said Burness of the final role still to be cast.
“But at this point we need someone who can sing and is willing to add a little dramatic flair, and is available,” said Burness.
In addition to the performance date in October, Burness said there will be a lot of rehearsals to make sure everyone is ready for the show.
“There are lots of rehearsals involved,” she said.
When it comes to the remaining casting, that of a choral group, Burness thinks it’s perfect for anyone is a little hesitant to audition for a leading role but likes to perform or sing.
There is the potential for members of the chorus to have solo lines in some of the vignettes though.
“I don’t want to give away too much because I think it’ll be really neat for them to witness that but there will be one-line solos potentially for the choral group,” said Burness.
The key is for them to find the right people for the roles to ensure the success of the show.
“The priority right now is getting the talent in place because if the talent is good then people will be happy,” she said.
More details on the show including ticket prices will be released by the Library in the coming weeks.