Tonight is closing night of Les Mis! So, last night I arrived at 6:15 for the orchestra dinner party (normally the call is 7:00) and there was no parking left in the cast/crew/orchestra lot. I was so annoyed! Apparently lots of the parking was reserved for VIPs, so I had to park in the dirt lot up the hill. (At least the parking attendant let me drop off my instrument first) Half the orchestra complained about having to do that. After the show, I had to lug my instrument up the hill to the parking lot and was out of breath by the time I got there. Plus I had dirt in my lungs from tires spraying dust all over the place. So, I finally got in my car and sat for 15 minutes until I finally found another way out cuz no one was moving. I left the premises at 11:08 (when I usually get home.) I was so mad (I had to do the same thing opening night, but this was worse.) So, anyway, as I was arriving for the dinner party (catered by Pat and Oscar's, which I couldn't eat cuz I had no appetite,) there was an announcement made to the people who were already at the theatre that there was no water pressure and therefore, the restrooms could not be used. Luckily, there were bathroom trailers brought in the week before because every performance was sold out and intermissions were lasting for 30 minutes. So, at least they had something. But the announcement was made that they were either going to try restoring the water pressure or bring in more trailers. (BTW, the staff had one restroom for us to use, so we weren't as worried.) So, a few minutes before the show, the guy in charge gets up on stage and tells everyone that the truck bringing in the extra units got a flat tire! We all just cracked up. He just said, "No, I am not joking." It was a hoot! Every night, there is an announcement before the show about turning off cell phones, keeping the aisles clear, etc. Part of it says "Moonlight is a smoke-free venue." Our music director turned to us and said it was a bathroom-free venue. We were all pretty giddy. So, we start the show as everyone is trying to get in their last opportunity to use the restroom. At intermission, the announcement was made that the water pressure had returned! We got the biggest cheer out of the audience. It turns out that the reason the water pressure was turned off was because a guy from the city spotted a leak or something and turned it off and decided to come back and restore it on Tuesday. The only problem was that he didn't tell anybody. But, it's a funny story now. So, I have good news. I have no more pain when I play! It's because I bought a new shoulder rest last Friday that curves around my shoulder instead of pushing it back. I am so happy! Also, we found out that we were in the paper! Articles are after the pictures.
And the North County Times Article
Is there a message in the fact that the last show that will grace the Moonlight Amphitheatre stage before it's torn down in a few weeks is about the French student uprising? Not only is "Les Miserables" one of the most popular rock musicals, it's also a compelling story about what leads the average person to make choices in a changing world.
Or there could be no symbolism at all. Perhaps it's really all about ending the summer season with a rousing, crowd-pleasing show. Moonlight is the first regional theater in San Diego County to produce "Les Miserables," and it closes a shortened three-show summer season so that Vista can tear down the old Moonlight stage to build a state-of-the-art stagehouse in its place this winter.
Adding to the event's excitement is the actor Moonlight has brought in to play the musical's lead character, Jean Valjean. Danny Gurwin has several Broadway shows under his belt, including "Little Women," "Urinetown," "The Scarlet Pimpernel," "Kismet," "A Little Night Music" and "The Full Monty." He also recently completed a run in "Most Wanted" at the La Jolla Playhouse.
While the role of Valjean ---- a petty criminal who reforms but is still hunted by the law ---- is a dream for any musical theater actor, Gurwin said he was concerned about his age at first.
"I think of myself as being on the young side of the role," said Gurwin, who is now based in Los Angeles. "Valjean is 38 when the play begins, and that's around the age I am now. But then he ages 20 years or so during the play. So it's a big undertaking to play it with sincerity and believability. It's a balance that I'm trying to find in the character, because it's one of the greatest leading male roles written in the last 30 years."
When "Les Miserables" hit the American stage in 1985, it was an immediate hit, taking the sweeping, epic story of the French Revolution and distilling it to the lives of a few people so we see how such grand events affected them. The musical by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil is based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo. Well-known songs include "I Dreamed a Dream," "One Day More," "On My Own," "Castle on a Cloud," "Do You Hear the People Sing?" "Bring Him Home," "A Heart Full of Love" and "At the End of a Day."
According to Gurwin, director Steven Glaudini (who helmed Moonlight's award-winning production of "West Side Story" and "Children of Eden") sees the show as more than a musical.
"He's treating it like a play that happens to be sung-through," said Gurwin. "It's a wonderful, rich play with such huge moments. But when the individual moments are played, the more intimate and more personal the story becomes. It's a huge journey."
Gurwin has recently been on a journey himself. Originally from Detroit, he moved to New York City and conquered Broadway. Two years ago, he moved to Los Angeles with a similar goal in mind for TV.
"I've been going back to New York for concert work," he said. "This is one of the first musicals I've done since I moved to L.A. It's a challenge to dive back in with such a demanding role. It's a huge ensemble and one the strongest ensembles vocally that I've ever worked with. That makes it quite exciting to be a part of.
"The music is stirring, but when you listen to the lyrics and follow the story, it's a very theatrical story we're telling. Some of the themes are on our minds today, with the war and the loss of friends. It's also about love of family and what we're willing to do to save them. There's really something for everyone to connect to."