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Rising to the light

Guyer steps up to the challenge of staging two musicals for fall

Officials with the theater arts department of Guyer High School knew staging two musicals was an ambitious plan, but when more than enough students showed interest to stage both, the department got to work.

Program director Eleshia Crotwell said “students went wild” when the department held an open meeting to announce it had gotten the rights to stage the multicultural show In the Heights, which ran earlier in the fall, and Les Miserables, which opened last week and concludes this week with three performances.

“We knew we had the students to fill both casts, and we knew the students loved both shows,” Crotwell said. “Many of the students cast in Les Miserables have literally wanted to do the show since they were 6 years old.”

All but three cast members from In the Heights returned for Les Miserables, and about 20 students who had never performed with the program joined the production. Teddy Santiesteban, who played the principle role of Usnavi in Heights, sings the principle role of Javert in Les Miserables.

Staging two musicals in one semester meant the department couldn’t take a break between the two. Or not much of a break, anyway.

“We closed In the Heights on a Saturday, and began Les Miserables the following Tuesday,” Crotwell said. “By Thursday of that week, the Heights set was down, and the Les Miz set was being dreamed up.”

The Broadway staging of Les Miserables was noted for its technical excellence. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, the story follows a group of characters as French commoners agitated against the aristocracy, leading up to the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution.

The Broadway show featured a huge, revolving barricade protecting revolutionaries. Crotwell said the set at Guyer won’t spin, but the crew is using projections from illustrations in early editions of Hugo’s novel.

— Staff report


What: The Guyer High School Theatre Arts Department presents the musical by Claude-Michel Schonberg with libretto by Herbert Kretzmer.

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Where: In the auditorium at Guyer High School, 7501 Teasley Lane

Details: Tickets cost $10. Tickets are general admission. For more information, contact Eleshia Crotwell at 940-369-1156 or

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