Copied with permission by Beth Raebeck Hall , Copywriter for The Tennesseean
When it comes to musical talent in Nashville, you are talking about world class, exceptionally gifted people. So it should come as no surprise the Nashville's own Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School, is undertaking the stellar, world renowned musical, Les Miserables. You read it right, in high school. With a 50 member student cast and a complete orchestra made up entirely of students. After all, the school ranked #25 in the nation for high schools. Mayor Dean has set the bar high for academic excellence, and if there is any doubt about the capabilities of Nashville's students, you should see head to Broadway.In Nashville. Hume Fogg is located downtown on Broadway.
The dynamic duo of director of theater Daron Bruce, and vocal director and assistant director Lisa Forbis are known for their spectacular productions and incredibly talented students. This year is no different. The production includes a revolving stage (just like Broadway) courtesy of the Harpeth Hall School. Professional costumes will adorn the cast, who have been rehearsing since late August. This show is not for the faint of heart since it is bascially an opera with no dialogue, only singing,
Even when mounting an ambitious high school high school production, teens can draw inspiration from the incredible talent who live in the city. Recently Bruce and the cast, welcomed country music superstar and Broadway veteran Gary Morris to Hume-Fogg Academic High School .to conduct a workshop for the students, based on his Broadway experience.
On October 13, Morris conducted a mentoring session with cast of Hume-Fogg's production of Les Miserables, talking with the students about his own experiences in the show and throughout his career. Morris talked to the students about what it takes to keep the voice strong during the run of such a daunting production. Morris, who gained international attention and critical acclaim when at the top of his country music career he took on the daunting task of playing Jean Valjean on Broadway during the original Broadway run of Les Miserables, for which he won a Drama Desk nomination.
Morris also won a Grammy for the cast album.
"We were very lucky to have Gary Morris speak to our cast at rehearsal ," Bruce said. "He even sang for the kids, performing his Grammy Award-winning 'Wind Beneath My Wings,' including a part of 'Bring Him Home' in the performance."
About the show:
This epic story recounts the struggle against adversity in 19th century France. Imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread, petty thief Jean Valjean is released from his 19-year term and not only becomes and honest man, but the mayor of a prosperous town and a loving adoptive father - violating his parole in the process. The relentless Inspector Javert, who makes a decent life for Valjean impossible, consequently pursues him. Only years later, after Valjean proves his mettle during a bloody student uprising and saves the life of a young man hopelessly in love with Valjean’s adopted daughter, does the ex-convict finally feel fully redeemed
Hume-Fogg’s production of Les Miserables will be presented at the school, located appropriately at 700 Broadway in downtown Nashville, November 4-6, with 7 p.m. shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday and a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, November 6. Reserved seats go on sale October 25; for reserved seats, call (615) 291-6300, ext. 808106.
The 50-person cast is led by senior Luke Denison as Jean Valjean and Donovan Jordan as Javert. The cast also features First Night Most Promising Actor honoree Mariah Parris (Fantine), Sophia Salveson (Eponine), Joey Mooradian (Marius), Neely Scott (Cosette), Michael Taylor (Thenardier), CameRon Morgan (Mme. Thenardier) and Ryan Stewart (Enjolras).
Daron Bruce directs, with Lisa Forbis as vocal director/assistant director. Pam Atha is choreographer, with Sally McFadden as orchestra conductor and Bob House as show conductor/accompanist. Set design is by Jim Manning.
All photos by Bev Moser - additional photoa available at