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Town of Manlius Recreation Department to put on ‘Les Misérables’

For the first time ever, the town of Manlius will present "Les Miserables" as its 2014 summer musical, with showings at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 24 through Saturday, July 26.

For the first time ever, the town of Manlius will present "Les Miserables" as its 2014 summer musical, with showings at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 24 through Saturday, July 26. Submitted photo

— "Les Misérables," a critically acclaimed musical and a story of turmoil, love and courage in the darkest of times, has moved audiences around the world. Now, the musical will be performed at the Fayetteville-Manlius High School for community members and visitors by the town of Manlius Recreation Department.

This year, for the first time in 12 years, Shawn Hebert, the town of Manlius’ musical director for more than 10 years, will take the stage for the first time as lead character, Jean Valjean.

Since 1976, the town of Manlius has put on 36 productions including Grease, Bye Bye Birdie, Oliver and Beauty and the Beast. Although "Les Misérables" has been popular since its premiere in 1980, the town of Manlius has not produced the musical until now. However, because of the musical’s hype that has come from the 2012 movie and 2014 Broadway revival, now is the perfect time to put on the musical, one of the production’s producers Kristine Zingaro said.

“Every year can be a struggle to find a show to do,” Zingaro said. “There are a lot of different factors that go into finding a show, such as which show will bring in the most audience and which show will please the community. We’ve been doing shows since 1976, but the interest and hype of 'Les Misérables' made us [choose] it. It was a no brainer.”

"Les Misérables" takes place during the French Revolution and is based off Victor Hugo’s 19th-century novel of the same name. The musical tells the story of Jean Valjean, a peasant who is imprisoned for 19 years because he stole a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving child. Once Valjean’s prison time is up, he is released and in order to start a new life, breaks parole. He becomes a mayor of a town and a father to a girl he adopts after her prostitute mother dies. Valjean is hunted by Javer, a relentless police inspector, throughout the story. Valjean and many of the characters help in the French Revolution, standing up for their ideals and taking one last stand against the government at a street barricade.

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