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TUTS’ All-Texas Les Misérables Showcases Statewide Talent

The student cast and crew of TUTS' production of Les Miserables in a rehearsal room.

Students from across Texas are part of the cast of TUTS’ first-ever all-state musical, Les Misérables. The show runs at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts July 5-6. Photo by Elizabeth Gentry.

For nearly two week, students from across Texas have come to Houston to be part of something special. TUTS is producing its first-ever Texas All-State Musical, Les Misérables. The cast and several crew are drown from cities all over the Lone Star State, giving them a chance to perform one of the world’s most-popular musicals on the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts stage. The show runs July 5 and 6.

“It’s going to be a fantastic experience,” said Jacob Shideler, TUTS education director, who also serves as the musical’s music director. “This is an opportunity to bring more than 70 performers from around Texas to do this show. It’s an amazing, diverse tapestry of voices.”

Since opening in London in 1985, Les Misérables has become the world’s longest-running musical, with productions on nearly every continent. It’s garnered countless awards, and been a soaring anthem to the themes of mercy and forgiveness, right and wrong, and the power of love. It tells the story of the ex-convict Jean Valjean, who breaks his parole and is relentlessly pursued by Inspector Javert. As Valjean attempts to rehabilitate his own life, Javert is constantly at his heels.

“It forces us to confront the idea of absolutes,” said Shideler. “The struggles of humanity, about what it means to believe in each other. It’s timeless. And it tells us that while life will get you down, goodness keeps you going. The line that always stays with me is, “To love another person is to see the face of God.'”

Shideler said that Texas is “an absolute powerhouse” in the arts, even if it might not be seen that way. So, this launching this musical is a chance to showcase the talents of students from Houston, Dallas, Beaumont, Austin and other cities. In all, 76 cast members and 14 crew are in Houston. They’ve been staying in on-campus housing at the University of Houston and rehearsing at the Hobby Center in preparation for opening night. The idea is to make the Texas All-State Musical an annual event, encouraging both individual and statewide arts education and excellence. Performing in a venue like the Hobby Center and with a company like TUTS gives students an up-close look about what it means to work in professional theater.

For audiences, it is a chance to support emerging talent.

Leading the cast are Liam Niznik as “Jean Valjean,” Matthew Call as “Javert,” Josephine Bettis and Anna Kovacik as “Fantine,” Carlos Garza and Jonas Massey as “Marius,” Ellie Yarbrough and Chloe Petterson as “Cosette,” Mabyn Coleman and Evelyn Burt as “Eponine,” Julius Bob and Rangel Guzman as “Thenardier,” Lucy Bayles and Aubree Hurst as “Madame Thenardier,” Arjun Singhal as “Enjorlas,” Tessa Garcia as “Gavroche,” and Hailee Teegardin as “Young Cosette.”

Joining them in the ensemble are: Kara Badrous, William Bowman, David Calderon, Ava Cervantes, Jackson Chavis, Samuel Choi, Alexandra Cordova, Julia Ellisor, Brennan Ellsworth, Travis Escobar, Emmanuel Estrada, Eleanor Flores, Julia Frederick, Duckie Fredrickson, Linda Gardner, Charlie Giddens, Kendall Gillpatrick, Jordan Grice, Joshua Gutierrez, Kaylia Hairston, Tad Hart, Jordan Haselden, Indy Hidalgo, Samaya Holmes, Camila Horberg-Perez, George Izu, Jerome Johnson, Siddhant Kale, Savera Karia, Riley Korfhage, Hailey Lloyd, Ernest Lopez III, Lulani Maya, Taylor Mattingly, Grace McGrew, Belyn McNamara, Lilli Moore, Isabella Munguia, Nadiya Naehr, Riley Neal, Kaitlyn Ngo, Berlyn-Ann Nyondo, Xochi Odukwu, Paige Perrone, Grace Potter, Kaavya Rajarathnam, Kian Ritchie, Grayson Schreiber, Olivia Shoemaker, Alyssa Serrano, Benjamin Tanner, Peter Theurer, Eva Thomas, Khalid Trent, Talia Turlich, Dayton Voorhees, Tyler Warnie, Lucius Watt and Nevaeha Wilson.

Shideler promises that whether audiences are seeing the musical for the first time or the 50th, there will be something new to discover.

“It’s so grand and so steeped in the human experience, you’ll gain something difference.

Tickets are $32.99, and can be purchased at TUTS.com.

 

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