Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press
A dreamlike interpretation of “Les Miserables” will be at Meadow Brook Theatre June 30 through July 3.
Director Katherine Carter is an alumna of Andover High School in Bloomfield Hills. She now lives in New York City, and through her theater company, The Other Mirror, she adapts stories for the stage.
“Les Mis” was the first musical Carter learned, working in a student production of the play while at Andover. This time, she said, she wanted to take the story in a different direction.
“With the movie still fresh in everyone’s mind and the Broadway tour still running, it was very important to me that this was not your normal ‘Les Mis,’” Carter said. “It’s so tempting just to give over to the piece and let it be a beautiful revival of the ‘Les Mis’ that we all know and love. What I really wanted was to give my audience who knew the piece a new way to fall in love with it.”
FYI: Tickets are $15 and $20 and can be purchased at Meadow Brook Theatre, or atticketmaster.com. Performances are June 30 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and July 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. Visit www.theothermirrortheatre.com/The_Other_Mirror/Les_Miserables.html
She said she is happy to return to Michigan, bridging her out-of-state company with theater people she worked with in the past.
“What’s really exciting about this ‘Les Mis’ and the fact that it’s an outside company coming to Michigan is that it allows a lot of different things,” Carter said. “Michigan’s so wonderful, we have a ton of amazing theaters in the community, like Meadow Brook.”
Justin Spiro, founder of Spiro productions and also from Bloomfield Hills, is a law student with a love for musical theater. “Les Mis” will be the premiere production for his company.
Spiro said his favorite element of “Les Mis” is the story of redemption, forgiveness and second chances. Knowing about Carter’s experience in musical theater, he brought her on as director. He said he wants the music to be the main focus of the show.
“The music (of ‘Les Miserables’) is astounding,” Spiro said. “I’ve probably seen around 30 musicals live throughout the last 10 to 12 years, and the music to me is the best of any show I’ve seen.”
Vocals are the focus of this show, Spiro said, adding the cast is talented both vocally and as actors, though he wants the music to be better than in other productions.
Carter said each of the cast members had a “wow” moment in auditions.
“I think there’s a difference between an actor-singer and a singer-actor,” Spiro said. “You need both, there’s no question they are important elements, but my whole idea going into this was I wanted the absolute best singing talent I could find.”
The cast includes 40 Michigan actors and singers, with Jim Territo as music director, and former Andover choreographer Roberta Campion as movement director.