Be a Les Mis Valentine! Celebrate A Heart Full of Love At Reston Community Players’ ‘Les Misérables’ by Diane Schnoor

There is one week left to catch a performance of the Reston Players’ critically acclaimed Les Misérables, and members of the cast and crew are hoping regional audiences will join them for some Valentine’s weekend surprises.

“We have been playing to full houses, and audiences have been on their feet before the finale ended at every performance,” said producer Richard E. Schneider. “Because of the immense interest, we have added one extra week of performances and have extended our run through February 15th.”

Family Portrait: Jean Valjean (Michael Reid), Fantine (Jennifer Lambert), Little Cosette (Ella Schnoor), and Cosette (Cara Bachman). Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.

Family Portrait: Jean Valjean (Michael Reid), Fantine (Jennifer Lambert), Little Cosette (Ella Schnoor), and Cosette (Cara Bachman). Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.

Schneider said audience members choosing to spend Valentine’s Day with Les Misérables can expect a few surprises, as well as a wonderful show. “Among the surprises, we are planning on serving Les Misérables themed chocolates, as well as offering one lucky audience member a chance to win a pair of tickets to our next production, Xanadu,” he said.

Michael Reid, who plays Jean Valjean, the central character of Les Miserables, noted that Valjean is a man completely molded and redeemed by love. “It’s love for his sister and nephew that drives him to steal bread to save their lives,” Reid said. “After 19 years in prison turns him into a hardened criminal, it’s compassion from a stranger (the bishop) that allows him to remember the good in the world and want to make the world a better place. It’s Valjean’s love for Cosette that allows her to grow beyond her horrible, cruel upbringing into a happy, caring woman. It’s also his love for Cosette that drives him to risk his life to make sure Marius survives the barricade to ensure her future happiness. Valjean is a symbol of how love – both our own and what others show to us – can turn the most bitter and jaded of us to happiness and good.”

Cara Bachman, a junior at South County High School, who plays the loving Cosette, said audiences should expect to thrill to the romance of Les Misérables. “In addition to having one of the most beautiful scores ever to be created, that very score accompanies this truly inspiring story,” she said. “Les Misérables shows the very best and the very worst of humanity. It so objectively explores the ways different scenarios appear to different viewpoints, with a set of characters so real and so beautifully written, each personifying the different parts of us all.”

Sean Bartnick, a student at NOVA and George Mason University, plays Marius, the revolutionary student who is also Cosette’s lover. “I wanted to play this role because I want people to see that Marius isn’t just some lover boy,” he said. “He’s conflicted and torn between Cosette and the Revolution. After finding out Valjean is the reason he’s alive, he realizes that the only way he can repay all that is to protect and love Cosette for the rest of his life. She is the symbol of hope.”

Alana Dodds Sharp, who plays the wickedly sinister Madame Thenardier, said that Les Misérables is the perfect Valentine’s Day musical. “Loves of all types are represented,” she said. “Love of a child, love of comrades, romantic love, unrequited love, Les Misérables has it all.”

Ensemble member Kate Keifer pointed out that Les Misérables makes a perfect Valentine’s Day outing because it depicts love in so many ways. “Fantine gave her life for the love of her daughter, Cosette. Eponine gave her life for her unrequited love, and Enjolras and the students gave their lives for the love of France,” Keifer said. “All of these people acting out of love makes that card and $4.99 box of chocolates seem insignificant, so why not get tickets to Les Misérables and experience true love this Valentine’s Day?”

The cast features Michael Reid (Jean Valjean), Ward Ferguson (Javert), Jennifer Lambert (Fantine), Ella Schnoor (Cosette), Alana Sharp (Madame Thenardier), Maggie Slivka (Young Eponine), Chuck Dluhy (Thenardier), Ethan Van Slyke (Gavroche), Emma Lord (Eponine), Cara Bachman (Cosette), Scott Harrison (Enjolras), and Sean Bartnick (Marius). The ensemble includes Bridgette Pfannenbecker, Erin Campagnoni, Susanna Todd, Stephanie Pencek, Kate Keifer , Shauna L. Neil, Joshua Wilson, Michael Clendenin, Matt McFadden, Rick Kenney, Cameron Bond, Jeffery Miller, Eric Hughes, and Patrick Graham.

A Heart Full of Love: Cosette (Cara Bachman) and Marius (Sean Bartnick). Photo by Traci J. Brooks.

A Heart Full of Love: Cosette (Cara Bachman) and Marius (Sean Bartnick). Photo by Traci J. Brooks.

Audience members and critics alike are raving over the Reston Players’ production of Les Misérables, which has been held over until February 15. DCMetroTheatreArts gave Les Misérables a 5 star review: “Reston Players’ exquisite and brilliant production of the epic Les Misérables, directed passionately by Andrew JM Regiec, is a shining example of what a small theatre can produce with a talented cast, designers, musicians, and a fine director.”

ShowBiz Radio’s Bob Ashby writes, “Reston Player’s confidence in its ability to pull off this show, and the evident commitment of the cast and staff to the enterprise, are amply rewarded in what by any standard is an extraordinary performance. Washington-area audiences are notoriously over-generous about giving standing ovations: this Les Misérables, however, fully deserved every bit of acclaim it received.

Local television and internet reviewer Rich Massabny exclaims, “As far as I’m concerned, you can pack up the whole show and take it to Broadway!”

Running Time: Three hours, with one intermission.

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Les Miserables’ remaining performances are TODAY February 9th at 2 PM, and the final weekend on February 13th, 14th, and 15th. February 15th has two performances – at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. All Reston Players mainstage productions are performed at CenterStage at the Reston Community Center – 2310 Colts Neck Road, in Reston, VA. CenterStage is handicap accessible and offers listening devices for the hearing impaired.

For tickets, call the box office at (703) 476-4500 x3, or purchase them online.

LINKS

Meet the Lovers of Reston Community Players’ ‘Les Misérables’ by Diane Schnoor.

Meet the Children in Reston Players’ Upcoming ‘Les Misérables’ by Diane Schnoor.

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