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September 15, 1997


"Les Miserables" continues to satisfy audiences

  by Deborah Stone
   The award-winning musical sensation "Les Miserables" returned to The 5th Ave. Theatre for its fourth time since 1991 and had audiences on their feet clamoring approval once again. The triumphant return engagement of this epic saga swept patrons along on a three hour emotional rollercoaster, proving that its appeal and ability to inspire is still as strong as ever. Based on Victor Hugo's classic novel, the story takes place during three stormy decades of 19th century France. It centers on one man, fugitive Jean Valjean, and his struggle to evade capture by the cruel and relentless Inspector Javert. The music and lyrics tell this captivating tale that deals with issues common to everyone: prejudice, freedom, kindness and human nature.
   Northwest native Gregory Calvin Stone, a graduate of the University of Washington and frequent performer in Seattle area productions, gave a stirring and powerful performance as Jean Valjean. Rona Figueroa as Eponine showed both the tough bravado and poignant yearning in her character, singing her role with much energy and emotion.
   Other standouts were Rich Affannato as the passionate student and Kate Fisher as the sweet Cosette, a young couple desperate for their love to survive. J.P. Dougherty and Tregone Shepherd as the bawdry innkeeper couple, the Thenardiers, were clearly favorites of the crowd with their hilarious number "Master of the House." A strong supporting ensemble, an orchestra directed to perfection by Conductor Steven Mallardi and John Napier's cleverly designed sets contributed to creating a memorable evening for theatre goers.
   The 5th Ave. Theatre's up-coming season begins Oct. 14th with Julie Andrews in "Victor/Victoria." For ticket information call 292-ARTS.