SBCT Les Mis: The Director's Emotional Inspiration - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

SBCT Les Mis: The Director's Emotional Inspiration

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FOX28's Tom Powell was recently cast in the South Bend Civic Theater Production of Les Miserables.  It's playing right now to sold-out crowds through August 3rd. 

While getting to know the cast and crew he learned about the emotional inspiration behind David Cases's direction of the show.  Tom has been blogging about his experience along the way:

You'll have to move fast to keep up with David.  We caught up with him a week before opening night of Les Miserables at the South Bend Civic Theater.

"You see that smile you're doing right now?"  He asks cast member Sky Medors.  That's what you should have as the pimp," David says.

"That's my normal smile," Sky responds laughing.

"Look at that face," David says.  "It's perfect."

David lights up when he directs, but the last time he did this show it was a darker time in his life.  His assistant director, wife and soul mate Judy was dying.

"Les Mis was the last thing she saw me do that in 2008 and she had cancer," David says.  "In November of that year she had died."  He says Judy was his sidekick and his other set of eyes.  She wasn't afraid to share her opinions about what was playing out on stage.  "I might not have agreed with some of the things she said, because I knew she was right," David jokes.  "I didn't like that idea"

Judy was going through chemo so he was only able to come to a dress rehearsal.  She came up to David with tears in her eyes after the curtain closed.  "She whispered in my ear and said, 'This is the best thing you've directed.'" 

David struggled for a long time after Judy's death.  "I did a couple shows right after that and I don't remember them at all," he says.  He says his heart wasn't in it, so he took a few years off, but when he learned Les Mis was coming to SBCT this summer, he knew he had to jump back in to directing. 

"It was a good one for me to come back to," he says.  This time his assistant director is his daughter Emily.

"I think it's been therapeutic to have him by people that he likes and people that make him feel good and just nice people," Emily says.  Some of the people on stage now were  in David's original production with Judy. 

That includes actor Sam Green.  "When she passed, it just took the wind out of everyone's sails, especially David, just like the spark that was the theater just was lost for awhile and it took awhile to get it back," Sam says.  "It definitely feels back now, and I think it's important that it's this show."
 
Actress Kathleen Raab, who has been a part of both productions of Les Mis, says she sees that spark again in David.  "David's doing great, he's really strong," she says.  "I'm sure it brings back the memories of when he did it with Judy, but he's doing fabulous." 

There's an emotional line at the end of Les Mis that definitely brings back Judy's memory.  The characters sing, "To love another person is to see the face of God."

"I still well up at that," David says.  "I think of my wife at that point."

That moment and this entire show is dedicated to Judy.  David knows she's no longer in the seats, but she's still part of his audience.  "If she just was to say she was proud, and she was by my side, that's all I would want," he says. 

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