Plant City Entertainment (PCE) is set to perform Les Miserables inthe summer of 2013 as one of the first seven theater troupes in Florida licensed to perform the show.
According to Music Theatre International, the company through which rights to the show have been secured, troupes granted that permission in Florida also are in Deland, Fort Myers, Ocala and Orlando. In addition, college-level productions are forthcoming at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville and at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City.
Auditions for the local show are set for Saturday, April 6, from 2 to 10 p.m. at the Plant City Theater at 101 North Thomas St. Rehearsals will start the week after. Show dates are set for July 19-20 and 25-28 and Aug. 1-3.
Plant City Entertatinment (PCE) "usually stages only two-weekend shows, but for Les Mis they wanted to stretch it to three weeks," Pazo said.
The show's director is Domin Pazo, who said he was "almost crying" when he learned not only that the rights were available, but also that his community theater troupe had been successful in securing them.
"Dodie White, a PCE board member, was at her computer one day, checking to see if rights were available, and they were, and without missing a beat went out and immediately applied," Pazo said. "Normally when you apply for the rights to a musial they let you know immediately. This time, being Les Mis, we had to wait two long, grueling months."
In actuality, Pazo said he has been waiting for years to direct the show.
"I've been asking MTI for year when would the rights be available," he said. "I'd call every couple of months and ask, 'Hey, any news on Les Mis?' and for so many years the answer was, 'Not yet.' In 2008 they said, 'Maybe next year' then the show toured again in 2009 and we had to wait."
The waiting is over.
The "cattle-call" audition format is set, Pazo said, and he is looking to fill "five big male parts, four big female parts and then lots of good ensemble parts, both men and women."
Lined up for production are Miguel Oquendo, a vocal and theater teacher at Music Showcase in Brandon, who will tend to musical direction. Heather Cazzola is the show's choreographer; Holly Purich, a senior at Plant City High School, is the show's assistant director. Carlton Jones is the costume designer.
For Pazo, the show is one of his top-three favorites, along with Phantom of the Opera and Wicked.
"I love the passion of the music, the passion of the characters," Pazo said.
To do the show justice, Pazo said it needs "a live band and a lot of work."
"It's like I have to direct two things," he added. "My actors on stage and constantly making sure the sound is what I want."
Pazo said the show has been receiving "a lot of interest," as evidenced by "a lot of calls, a lot of emails."
"I expect a very good turnout for auditions," he said. "A lot of competition for a lot of roles, which is great."