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Storming the Barricades

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"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." — Victor Hugo

The man who wrote Les Misérables — the book, not the musical — wasn't much of a musician. In fact, Victor Hugo was thrilled when he finally learned to peck out a bit of Beethoven on the piano with only one finger. But, in spite of his own musical deficiencies, the author's poems and novels have inspired more than 1,000 melodic compositions, in addition to the long-running musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, which has toured the world numerous times before it was inventively translated to film in 2012.

This weekend's Les Miz, opening at Playhouse on the Square, doesn't mark the first time local artists have taken on the challenges of this genre-defining mega-musical. That honor goes to the students of Briarcrest High School, who staged the show in 2011. It is, however, Memphis' first major, homegrown production and features local favorite Jordan Nichols as Marius, the role he recently played on tour.

The cast also includes Ken Zimmerman and Courtney Oliver as Thenardier and Madame Thenardier, Claire Hayner as Fantine, Michael Detroit as Javert, and Philip Andrew Himebook as Jean Valjean.

Les Miz fans may also want to drop in on POTS Great Wine Performances. The popular fund-raiser, Tuesday, August 20th, is inspired by — you guessed it — Les Misérables. Guests are invited to toast Marius and Cosette's wedding. They'll also sip whites with Javert and sample Burgundies in the Red Light District. Tickets are $50 in advance or $65 at the door. Call 726-4656 to purchase.

"Les Misérables" at Playhouse on the Square, August 16th-September 15th. Playhouseonthesquare.org.

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