News Column

Popular musical to debut at GCCC on Nov. 7

October 30, 2013


Oct. 30--"Les Miserables" is one of the most popular musicals of all time, and it is no small production, but Phil Hoke, drama director at Garden City Community College, was ready for the challenge when he decided to undertake the project.

"It is one of my favorite ones, but when I first got here, I talked with Clay (Wright) and I said, 'If we have to do musicals, I'm going to choose the first one to see if we can do it,' and the first one was 'Man of La Mancha,'" Hoke said.

He then asked Wright, who is the music director/instructor at Garden City Community College, which musical he would like to do.

"He said, 'Les Mis would be wonderful,' and then he laughed as though I wouldn't pick up the bait, and I said, 'Let's see how 'Man of La Mancha' does and if we pull that one off, then Les Mis is on the table," Hoke said. "And so 'Man of La Mancha' was brilliant, and as soon as it was over and done with, I said, 'OK Clay, we'll do Les Mis.'"

"Les Miserables" will debut at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building at GCCC.

Hoke said that "Les Miserables" is the biggest undertaking of his career.

"Actually, this is the record of the lifetime -- it's the biggest thing I've ever done," he said.

The show includes a 13-piece orchestra, conducted by GCCC Band Director James McCallister, 48 cast members and 14 crew members. Hoke said that people from throughout the community are contributing to the production.

"This is a full collaboration. It's community and college coming together," Hoke said.

Logan Walker is playing the lead role of Jean Valjean, City Manager Matt Allen is playing the part of Javert, Brian Seagraves is playing the part of Enjolras, and 8-year-old Avery Meng is playing the part of the younger Cosette, while 14-year-old Zoe London is playing the part of the older Cosette.

Wright and his wife, Marsha Wright, play the part of the Thenardiers, a couple that actress Krisha Baker describes as being the comedy relief.

"I love the Wrights as the Thenardiers," Baker said. "The fact that they're a married couple in real life makes it even more funny."

Baker plays the part of Eponine and said that just witnessing the production take shape has been inspiring.

"It gives me goose bumps," she said. "Everybody is so believable. Everybody brings their own magic and their own creativity to it, and when you see it on stage, with the music, and you see everybody as their characters, it is so magical and it's so beautiful. I love how this play is going to turn out."

The production is being directed by Hoke, with vocal direction by Wright and music direction by McAllister.

Hoke said that in addition to the musical being his biggest undertaking, it also could end up being his fastest-selling show.

"25 percent sold out -- in two days," he said Tuesday night. "We need people calling in and reserving their seats, otherwise we might not be able to guarantee it."

Three other performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8 and 9 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 10.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors age 65 or older and $8 for children age 17 or younger, and tickets are available at the GCCC Fine Arts office Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:15 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3:30 p.m. Tickets also may be purchased as early as one hour before each show at the box office, unless the show sells out before then.

For more information about tickets, call (620) 276-9540.

The GCCC Drama Program offers theater majors a solid academic and performance foundation, including extensive on-stage experience opportunities, so aspiring actors and actresses can pursue drama as a career and transfer successfully after graduation to a baccalaureate program.

The program is also open to nontheater majors who want to expand their theatrical backgrounds in performance or technical areas.


(c)2013 The Garden City Telegram (Garden City, Kan.)

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