Les Mis role lifelong dream

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FINAL REHEARSALS: Luke Glendining (centre) is happy his voice has come back full strength. He is on stage with fellow Les Mis actors Ben Robertson (left) and Ethan Chittock. PHOTO JOANNE MCCLOY PHOTOGRAPHY
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Les Miserables lead actor Luke Glendining of Ashburton could not sing last week, as he had a cold.

It was not good timing, as the Variety Theatre of Ashburton show was moving into final rehearsals, which are under way this week.

“It isn’t ideal, but it’s better than (having a cold) this week,” the 29-year-old said.

The main characters have an understudy, who will step in if they get sick or injured and can’t perform.

Last week Glendining’s understudy, Matt Williams, did all the singing for Glendining’s character of Jean Valjean beside the stage, while Luke mouthed the words on stage.

Glendining is relieved this week his voice is back 100 per cent, all ready for opening tomorrow night.

Glendining said to play the character of Jean Valjean had been a lifelong dream. And it was a dream he wouldn’t believe was real, until he was on stage performing the part in front of audiences.

“It’s a show I have always wanted to be part of, and to be able to play that role, it still doesn’t feel real until we put it on stage, pretty exciting,’’ Glendining said.

Big roles of recent years had included playing Danny in Grease and Simon in Jesus Christ Superstar last year, but this was his biggest role ever.

He said he had always been a Les Mis fan, ever since he himself started learning to sing at the age of 12. His favourite tunes from the show were Empty Chairs and Empty Tables sung by Mario and Bring Him Home sung by Jean Valjean.

Les Miserables follows the story of Jean Valjean, played by Luke Glendining, a well meaning thief turned factory owner. Inspector Javert, played by Aaron Boyce, is Valjean’s nemesis as he tries to help dying single mother Fantine, played by Briar Patrick. Valjean rescues Fantine’s daughter Cosette from dismal circumstances.

The child Cosette is played by Eva Wells and Amarlie Fletcher, while the adult Cosette is played by Kimberley Fenton.

Les Miserables is a story of broken dreams and unrequited love, sacrifice and redemption. Songs include I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, One Day More and Do You Hear the People Sing.

Í Les Miserables opens tomorrow night at the Ashburton Event Centre, where it will stage through to May 25.

See asheventcentre.co.nz for tickets. Read The Ashburton Courier review of the show online on Monday – ashburtoncourier.co.nz