Wojciech Kępczyński, a visionary of the Polish musical stage, is introducing Varsovian audiences to a hit that's been gracing the stages of London's West End for a near quarter of a century. Having waited for permission for almost two years, the production is set to be a real artistic and technical challenge for the Warsaw-based Roma Theatre...
Photo by Marek Dusza
After waiting almost two years for permission, the production is set to be a real artisitc and technical challenge for the Warsaw-based Roma Theatre
Wojciech Kępczyński, a visionary of the Polish musical stage, is introducing Varsovian audiences to a hit that's been gracing the stages of London's West End for a near quarter of a century.
This is an especially hard musical to stage. It needs high as well as downright rocking voices, declares the director. Also essential is acting talent. The casting process lasted more than half a year, but in the end we were able to assemble our dream team.
The lead, Jean Valjean, will be sung by Janusz Kruciński. He believes that the most important factor rests on playing the part humbly, in order to remain true to the suffering that the role conveys. The role of Jean is to be shared with Damian Aleksandre.
Les Misérables is the most famous French musical. Only Miss Sajgon can compete. The two were created by the same partnership of Claude-Michel Schönberg (composer) as well as songwriter and librettist, Alain Boublil. In the case of Les Misérables one should remember a third author, the French Romantic novelist, Victor Hugo. The creators of the musical made ample use of the characters and literary motifs from his novel The Wretched.
'Les 'Misérables' took off after its English adaptation, writes Jacek Marczyński in Rzeczpospolita. The World premiere in the Paris-based Palais des Sports in 1980 was the only occasion where the play was staged in France. It was only when Cameron Mackintosh, a British producer, heard the CD recording, that the musical was granted another lease of life. The Libretto was translated into English, installing certain changes so that the historical context would become comprehensible for global audiences. Schönberg composed a few additional songs with lyrics contributed by Herbert Kretzmer. It was this version of 'Les Misérables' that was to be shown in October 1985 in London. And even though the press reviews were not very kind at the time, the musical conquered the public. It's since been shown in over 40 countries."
Roma does not have a rotating stage, says literary manager and 'Les Misérables' translator Daniel Wyszogrodzki. We could have of course bought one but we decided upon a different investment, seven platforms moved by laser sensors. They can lift the heaviest pieces of set decoration and are incredibly precise. We bought them from a Swedish firm called 'Visual Act' - World pioneers in digital stage technology. They supplied the equipment for the Eurovision finals and for the end of the Olympics in Vancouver. Thanks to them, we are able to lead Roma into the 21st century.
'Les Misérables' has obviously amassed great audiences, adds Wojciech Kępczyński. But for me, this is first and foremost an actor's musical. And this is why it will be such a difficult test for the whole group.**After the fantastic success of The Phantom of the Opera, 572 shows, over half a million audience members - Musical Theatre Roma stands before an even greater staging challenge. Les Mis is a great literary work, with great passion and great ideals. It is a massive production, depicting the losses of many, over a time span of some years which necessitates an unprecedented force in musical theatre. The legend of its staging is perhaps best exemplified by the barricade in the second act.
- Les Misérables; libretto: Alain Boublil; songs written by: Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer; music: Claude-Michel Schönberg; libretta translation: Daniel Wyszogrodzki; dir.: Wojciech Kępczyński; scenography: Grzegorz Policiński; choreography: Paulina Andrzejewska; musical direction: Maciej Pawłowski; costume: Magdalena Tesławska and Paweł Grabarczyk; starring: Janusz Kruciński, Damian Aleksander, Łukasz Dziedzic, Edyta Krzemień, Marcin Mroziński, Paulina Janczak, Łukasz Zagrobelny, Anna Dzionek, Tomasz Steciuk, Ewa Lachowicz, Krzysztof Bartłomiejczyk; premiere: September 25, 2010.
- Musical Theatre Roma / Teatr Muzyczny Roma
ul. Nowogrodzka 49
General and Artistic Director: Wojciech Kępczyński
Assistant Director: Maciej Bargiełowski
tel. (22) 621 80 37
Source: press release, www.teatrroma.pl