Les Misérables: The Not-So-Miserable Performance

On Friday, the Junior Players cast showcased Les Misérables, the first school play since COVID-19. 

Set in France during the 19th century, Les Misérables is a story following Jean Valjean, a French man who suffered 19 years in prison for running from the police after stealing a loaf of bread. When freed, Valjean established a new identity, and became a successful factory owner. The main antagonist of the play, Javert, is a police inspector and is insistent on pursuing Valjean in hopes of revealing his true identity. 

The final curtain call of Les Misérables, picturing the cast taking a bow in front of the audience (Credit: Jacqueline Park).

Javert, played by senior Jack Brenner, ended up taking his own life after becoming overly frustrated with Valjean’s offenses and his own failure to arrest him. 

Junior Talia Sarraf reflected on her experience watching the show.

“Amazing acting [and] amazing cast; they performed well,” Sarraf said. “Javert’s suicide was very realistic.”

The backdrops and props of Les Misérables are depicted (Credit: @greatneckpublicschools on Instagram).

During the show, the fire alarm disrupted the show, and the flashing lights alarmed the cast and the audience. 

“The fire alarm happened because of our smoke machines,” said cast member Jacqueline Park. “From what I heard, they had been running for a little longer than the first night, so the smoke filled the auditorium and set off the alarms. We all took it lightly and recovered from the chaos quickly to put on the second show.”

The audience waited outside until it was safe to go back inside (Credit: Author).

Park also gave insight into her time working with the cast members and the rest of the crew.

“The show was an incredible experience to be a part of,” Park said. “The cast was extremely welcoming, and [the] performances were overall very successful. I hope everyone who came to watch enjoyed.”

Senior member Owen Roubeni and sophmore Owen Flood also reflected on their experiences.

Les Misérables is not an easy show to put on, but Junior Players took on this challenge and knocked it out of the park,” Roubeni said. “In these [past] four years and especially with Les Mis[érables], I’ve noticed the passion and love we all have for what we do. To constantly be surrounded by that is something surreal. The reactions from the audience are worth all the work we’ve put into this show.”

The cast photographed on stage (Credit: Jacqueline Park).

“Overall, I was very happy with how the musical turned out,” Flood said. “It was amazing to see over two months of work come together to produce a two and a half hour show.”

Although they are not pictured as much during plays, the stage crew works hard behind the scenes (Credit: @juniorplayers_gnnhs on Instagram).

Balancing school and theater could be hard for some, but for Park, she managed to survive. 

“For me, personally, it was not that difficult balancing school and theater,” Park said. “I did get home later than usual since rehearsal started 15 [to] 30 minutes after school and ended at five at the beginning, and 7:30, two weeks before opening night. But all that changed for me was the time I did my homework. Otherwise, I was able to keep my grades up fairly well,” she says.

Rehearsal about a week before the performance (Credit: Jacqueline Park).

Roubeni recapped his experience as a whole in theater and stated, “I’m beyond grateful to say that I’ve been a part of JP [Junior Players], something I’d like to call my family. I will dearly miss the experience of rehearsing and performing in high school, but ‘the day begins and now let’s see what this new world will do for me.’”

During an emotional scene, Roubeni is photographed fourth from the left, Flood to the right, and Park on the far right (Credit: Jacqueline Park).

The Great Neck community did a great job supporting the cast members. Stay tuned for the next play in April. We look forward to it, Junior Players!