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‘Les Mis School Edition’ at Granite Bay

Drama, music classes join to present musical
By: Eileen Wilson Special to The Press-Tribune
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"Drama is about making a world of make believe,” said Jim Prichard, musical theater teacher at Granite Bay High School. And the drama and music departments at Granite Bay High are working at fever pitch. Creating sets, rehearsing songs, transforming a bare stage into a stunning reproduction of revolutionary Paris. “Les Miserbles School Edition” opens April 30, and Prichard, who has headed the drama department at Granite Bay since 1999, is definitely excited about the production. “We have been wanting to do ‘Les Mis’ for a number of years,” he said. The show has numerous singing parts, and the school experimented with teacher schedules this year to allow choir class to meet at the same time as musical theater. This marriage of two classes allows students to sing and rehearse together, so choir members can be a big part of the show as well. Rehearsals began for principal actors months ago – performers are required to be enrolled in the musical theater class to audition. The mandatory class allows students to spend a full class period each day, perfecting their craft during school hours, requiring fewer evening and weekend rehearsals. As the show approaches, students are rehearsing four evenings a week, and working on the set during weekends as well. Prichard is thrilled with students’ progress. “Visually, the show is going to be gorgeous,” he said. “The challenge with the set is you have to reveal scenes,” Prichard said. Moving from the streets of Paris, to a barricade, to a café, requires every piece to be on wheels. While set, lighting and sound are an integral part of the show, the performers, of course, are who the audiences want to see and hear. Prichard is excited about the large cast – it’s important to him that as many students as possible are offered the experience of creating a live performance. “A show is a living thing – you start with an idea. You have a script or score, but a show takes on a life of its own because every cast is different,” he said. In addition to choir and musical theater students, the show will utilize an orchestra comprised of both adults and Emerald Brigade band members. Prichard came to Granite Bay from Galt High School in 1999 specifically because of the outstanding theater program, and is proud to carry on the school’s tradition of excellence. “I’m hoping as people know it’s Granite Bay High School, they expect something good – they know they’ll get their money’s worth.” This musical is for everyone. “The music just makes you feel…it’s powerful,” said Prichard, at a loss to explain the music’s impact. “It’s a musical about hope.” Jamie Pisciotta, a junior who plays the part of Eponine, is looking forward to opening night. “All the leads are phenomenal,” she said. “It’s a really good cast all around.” Pisciotta who has been in choir for nine years, but has been singing since she was a young child, feels the show will appeal to all audiences. “The show is exciting and action packed,” she said. “It has everything from romance to rebellion.” Prichard encourages the community to use the school’s new online feature to purchase tickets in advance. The 500-seat theater sometimes sells out, and the best opportunity for great seats will be for the first few performances. To purchase tickets, visit www.granitebayhigh.org and click on the “Les Mis” link.