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Sierra Rep launches 35th season with epic musical Les Misérables

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Sierra Rep launches 35th season with epic musical Les Misérables

Cliff McCormick and Miori Kennedy play Jean Valjean and Young Cosette.

Rich Miller Photography/


POSTED February 17, 2014 8:33 p.m.

SONORA — Sierra Repertory Theatre opens its 2014 season this March with the epic Les Miserables. 

The production – complete with a huge cast, complex characters and elaborate costumes and sets – will also mark the start of SRT’s 35th Anniversary season. It plays March 1 through May 4 at Sierra Rep’s East Sonora Stage. 

It’s the first time SRT has staged Les Miz, and the opening night gala performance is sold out. No wonder. This show has it all: themes of love and compassion; an incredible musical score; intense drama; fantastic singing from beginning to end. Plus, presenting Les Miz in SRT’s intimate, 200-seat space will give theater-goers a chance to be swept up in the emotion of the production close-up, SRT’s Producing Director Dennis Jones said.

 “Imagine, people will be seeing this incredibly epic musical from no more than 10 rows away,” he said.

Les Miz enjoys the reputation as one of the most popular musicals in the world. Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, it tells the story of Jean Valjean, a prisoner who skips parole in hopes of starting a new life. He’s pursued relentlessly by police inspector Javert, who refuses to believe Valjean can change his ways. Along the way, Valjean and a slew of characters are swept into a revolutionary period in France where a group of young idealists make their last stand.

Since it premiered, Les Miz has been seen by more than 65 million people and won numerous awards, including eight Tonys. The Broadway production is one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history, behind CATS and Phantom of the Opera. 

Les Miz is a three-hour production, most of it sung, so Jones and company had to search for actors who are also accomplished singers. Valjean is played by Cliff McCormick, who has performed leading roles throughout the Bay Area, including Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar and Jekyll/Hyde in Jekyll & Hyde. Eric Jon Mahlum plays the inspector, Javert. He appeared in the Broadway production of Wicked and has played featured roles in numerous national tours and regional theater productions across the country including Mame at Goodspeed Opera House, A Little Night Music at Arden Theatre and Sweeney Todd at Opera Kansas.

Also joining the cast are Chris Vettel, who plays the innkeeper Thernardier, and Scott Sowinski, who plays the revolutionary Enjolras. In addition to playing the pastor in last year’s Sierra Rep production of Church Basement Ladies, Vettel sang for four seasons with the Opera Company of Boston before performing in national and international tours (Annie, Sunset Boulevard and Cabaret) and at regional theaters. Sowinski has performed extensively in New York and in regional theaters, as well as undertaking such roles as Anthony in Sweeney Todd for New York City Opera and appearing on opera and concert stages around the world. Sierra Rep audiences may remember him from his turn as Tony in SRT’s production of West Side Story.


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