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Fans line up for tickets to ‘Les Miserables’

New production to hit Proctors in April

Saturday, December 1, 2012
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— A small crowd of enthusiasts lined up Saturday morning in Robb Alley at Proctors to purchase tickets for the mega-musical “Les Miserables” as they went on sale for the first time.

The 25th anniversary production will run April 30 to May 5; tickets remain on sale, but the show is expected to sell out, said Philip Morris, Proctors’ CEO.

This is the first time the acclaimed musical has appeared at Proctors in about a decade, Morris said.

“The tour that was here a decade ago ended, and the producers rebuilt the show. It is different physically, and other things are different. It will tour for another year and will be closed,” he said.

The last time “Les Miserables” played in Schenectady, it performed on a 31- by 65-foot stage, part of the original vaudeville-era structure. This time, it will appear on an industry-standard 55- by 110-foot stage, comparable to stages on Broadway in New York City, part of a $30 million reconstruction of Proctors in recent years.

The musical is also different from those of years past, Morris said.

“The music is the same, but the production issues are different and it is visually different,” he said.

The new production will feature reimagined scenery inspired by Victor Hugo, who was a painter as well as the story’s author.

Hugo’s story is about love, revolution and redemption in 19th-century France. It tells the tale of Jean Valjean, a simple man hunted for decades by Javert, a ruthless policeman, after he breaks parole. Intertwining their lives is Cosette, the child of a factory worker for whom Valjean cares.

The show’s Schenectady appearance will follow the Dec. 25 premiere in theaters of a new movie version of the musical. The movie stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. The show at Proctors will not feature that kind of star power, but the production is nonetheless a powerhouse, Morris said.

“It is up there with a ‘Wicked,’ a ‘Lion King’ and a ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ ” in terms of popularity, he said.

The show’s popularity is what drew Lou Rose of Clifton Park to Proctors on Saturday morning.

“I expect the tickets to be sold out in no time. I don’t want to take any chances,” he said.

He last saw “Les Miserables” about 12 years ago “either here or in San Francisco,” he said, citing the focus on the French Revolution as his favorite part. “I loved it, and I want to see it in person.”

Joe Buttiglieri drove to Schenectady from East Greenbush to buy six tickets for himself, his wife and friends.

“My wife and I saw it once before in Syracuse 10 years ago. It is a powerful story,” he said.

He came to the box office because he said buying tickets in person, rather than online, ensures the opportunity to pick better seats.

When they come see the show next year, the Buttiglieris will likely make a night of it with dinner in the area.

Prices range from $20 to $75, but Buttiglieri said he was unconcerned about the price, since one is for his wife.

“Nothing is too good for Lu,” he said.

 
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