Tacoma Musical Playhouse opened its 20th Anniversary season with a new $1.2 million stage, sound system, lighting and the hit Broadway show, Les Misérables, on Friday October 18th, to a weekend of standing ovations.
The talented cast was superb in their opening performance led by James Walters as Jean Valjean who is seen regularly on west coast stages, including the Seattle Opera’s. This is Walters’s first performance at TMP. John Cooper who played Javert with an equal list of credentials also had given a magnificent performance in Les Mis as the antagonist. John Kelleher plays a strong Monsieur Thénardier as the male secondary antagonist. He is the innkeeper in Montfermeil and becomes a crook in Paris. He is married to Madame Thénardier played by Lisa Wright Thiroux, a TMP favorite and a strong actor in her own right.
Éponine, the eldest daughter and first-born of Monsieur and Madame Thénardier, is played by April Villanueva Santo Domingo. She gives a very strong vocal performance along with local area resident Alena Menefee as Fantine, the French working class women and mother of Young Cosette. Young Cosette is played by two very talented young actors, Lacey Krueger and Madison Watkins, along with adult Cosette played by Lauren Nance.
The show is long, about three hours, but the audience showed with a standing ovation that it was worth every moment. Said one audience member, “The music came to life and as I sat there I had to keep looking around and absorb the beauty I was seeing and hearing…”
The $1.2 million dollar renovation to the theater was worth it. The stage is lower and wider giving room for the cast to perform, allowing for the larger sets and making every seat in the house exceptional. The orchestra once on the floor with its patrons is now backstage. Les Misérables was a beautiful way for TMP to show off its new stage, and open its 20th Anniversary season. “These changes will allow us to grow our productions and programs, and greatly enhance the TMP patron’s theatergoing experience,” says Jon Douglas Rake, Managing Artistic Director and Founder of TMP.
Les Misérables plays at the Tacoma Musical Playhouse through Sunday November 10, 7115 Sixth Avenue, Tacoma, 253-565-6867. Shows are Friday and Saturdays, at 8pm and Saturdays and Sundays, at 2pm. Tickets are $29 for Adults, $27 for Seniors/Students/Military and $20 for Children 12 and under.