Les Mis: FOX28's Tom Powell takes you behind the scenes - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Les Mis: FOX28's Tom Powell takes you behind the scenes


The most popular musical of all time is running right now at the South Bend Civic Theater.  A couple months back, FOX28's Tom Powell tried out to be part of the cast of Les Mis.

He's been blogging about his experience along the way.  Now he's sharing some of the more interesting behind the scenes moments that lead up to opening night:

Soon after rehearsals started, I realized making the cut had nothing on making the musical.  Photographer Chris Miller was with me last Tuesday night for one of the final dress rehearsals.  The entire cast was in costume, the lights were set and the orchestra was playing.  The production was coming together on stage.  Behind the scenes, it was a bit of theatrically organized chaos!  

"Is there anything you're worried about right now?"  I ask cast member Sean Leyes.  

"Not yet," he says.  

"Are you lying?"  I ask.  

"A little bit," he responds.

There's a lot to get together before an actual audience arrives.  "I'm most worried about the fact that I still have two costumes that I don't have quite yet," says cast member Stephanie Salisbury.  

"Getting my notes to all the cast, making sure the crew is getting everything set up," says Stage Manager Don Hunter.  

"I am excited, I'm scared to death," says Musical Director Becky Wilson.

"What I'm most worried about?  The bridge," says crew member Travis Mayer.  "That thing is an interesting contraption."

I'm putting in just a portion of the hours of the rest of the cast and crew, and I'm quickly realizing that making the musical takes a lot more than I ever anticipated.  On my breaks from work,  I've been changing from the "news guy"... to a disgruntled French Prisoner.

Patrick Farran goes from management consultant to an angry factory foreman.  Rehearsals can last from six until midnight.  That's enough to wear anyone out!  "I was kind of tired so wound up going to the Dentist office for an eye appointment.," Patrick says.  

But there's no time for rest.  Our brand-new prison costumes have to be distressed.  "Now we're going to take Tom outside and he's going to roll around in the mud," says a fellow member of the cast, Caitlyn O'Brien.  

"More Mud! More Mud," shouts cast member Dominic Go as he leads everyone outside to the parking lot.

Whatever it takes, right?   They convince me to roll around in the parking lot to give my costume that "real" look, like I have really been out breaking rocks for days.

Now it's time to get serious.  It's almost show-time.  Some pace, others follow their own unique superstitions.  "The number one thing... wear clean underwear," says Patrick.  "You've got to have a fresh pair."

"I have to have a bad dream, or else it's going to be a bad show for me," says cast member Natalie Rarick.

"I do a lot of praying that I don't forget what I've learned thus far," Stephanie says.  

"My grandmother, she was a vaudeville performer," says cast member Jillian Tully.  "Every single show I've been in I've hung a pic of my grandmother in her Chinese Outfit."

There's something about being here, with the theater folks, that helps you let your guard down.  The reason everyone puts in so much time has become pretty clear.     

"Do you work for the theater or are you doing this all volunteer?"  I ask Costumer Don Willman.  

"Volunteer," he says.  He says he does it "for the love of the theater."

"It's more of a family aspect.  We want more people like you to come in and joins us," Travis says.

Opening weekend was sold out.  There are only a few tickets left for the rest of the run.  It wraps up with the final performance on August 3rd.  The director, cast and crew have been incredible about working with me on this.  I was in opening night and I'll be in all of the Saturday and Sunday performances.  Also tune in this Wednesday night when we'll have an emotional story about who Director David Case is dedicating this performance.    

Les Mis: Making the Musical Blog

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