David Post, the founder of Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth, is directing the school edition of “Les Miserables,” opening Friday, Jan. 29, at BAAY Theatre and showing through Feb. 7.
“This talented cast of 16- to 18-year-olds breathes new life into the classic tale,” Post says.
“Les Misérables” takes the audience on an exciting journey through revolutionary France, where a number of young idealists put their lives on the line for what they believe in,” he says.
Noah Dunn, a 17-year-old junior at Bellingham High, plays Jean Valjean. It’s his first production at BAAY, although he has played a couple shows there with his band, Sweet Invicta. Kaleb Harrison, the band’s keyboardist and saxophonist, plays M. Thenardier in the production.
The brilliance is that the misery is not the focus, but rather the things in their miserable lives that are so worth living and fighting for.
Noah Dunn, who plays Jean Valjean
Dunn says he’s “been a bit in love” with the musical for three or four years and the book for even longer, but says he was so gun-shy of being onstage that it took a friend “a whole lot of prodding” to get him to audition.
“I’m glad he convinced me,” he says.
Amy Wilson plays the orphan Cosette. She’s 18, was home-schooled, and graduated from Bellingham Technical College in June 2015.
‘“Les Mis’ doesn’t only offer an escape to a world where everything was at stake,” she says. “It reminds us that these things remain present in our own lives and are part and parcel of our lot on Earth.”
Kaleb Harrison, 17, a junior at Sehome High and a Running Start student at Whatcom Community College, says he’s happy to be playing Thenardier, the innkeeper, because he and his character have much in common.
“I love to laugh, mess around, and have fun, and since I play sort of the main ‘comic relief’ character, I feel like I can really bring myself into my portrayal of Thenardier.”
Olivia Brice, 16, another junior at Bellingham High, play Eponine, the street-smart but tenderhearted daughter of the Thenardiers. Her favorite part in the show is at end of the first act, when the cast sings “One Day More.”
“It is such a strong song and I love how the entire group comes together and creates such a powerful feeling,” she says.
Dunn says “Les Mis” takes a grim time in history and makes it transcendent and beautiful.
“‘Les Misérables’ means ‘the miserable ones,’ and it is about a group of truly miserable people,” he says. “The brilliance is that the misery is not the focus, but rather the things in their miserable lives that are so worth living and fighting for.”
When: 7 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Jan. 29 through Feb. 7, with matinees at 2 p.m. Jan. 31 and Feb. 6, and noon Feb. 7
Where: BAAY Theatre, 1059 N. State St.