Comic relief, redemption part of Les Miserables

Jenny and Stephen Mathews as the Thenadiers, comic relief.

Jenny and Stephen Mathews as the Thenadiers.

The Picketwire Players of La Junta, Colorado present Les Miserables July 31, Aug. 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 2014. In a play full of tragedy and suffering, there are moments of comic relief and redemption offered through the characters the Thenardiers and the Bishop.

The Thenardiers, played by Stephen and Jenny Mathews, head a gang of con artists with very little moral compass. Even though it is easy to dislike these characters, it is also easy to laugh at them. Jenny and Stephen are so excited about being able to play these horrible characters and even more excited about being able to play them together. They bring comic relief to the many tragedies occurring throughout the play, from serving drinks and food with suspect ingredients to stealing silver during a wedding reception.

“We are having such great fun,” said Jenny. “I love the way my character is sarcastic with her husband.” She added that while it is fun to watch, “don’t do this at home, folks.” Stephen said the experience takes him back to before he had met and married Jenny 25 years ago. “I was quite a sewer goer in those days.” As you can see, the Mathews fit the comedy of the parts perfectly. “This is so out of character,” they laughed. “Well, actually, maybe not.”

They also are happy to be part of this talented cast and wonderful story. “Les Miserables tells a tale of humanity, humility, courage and hope,” explained Jenny. “It is definitely a play that people will remember.”

Norm Milks, who comes to La Junta’s Picketwire Players via a semi-professional theater in Buffalo, New York, plays the Bishop of Digne. The Bishop, according to Norm, “is pivotal in Valjean’s life because he shows him the way to God and redemption.” After meeting with the Bishop, Valjean restructures his life, becomes a leading citizen and has great compassion for others.

Having acted semi-professionally, Norm talked about the importance of community theater and how well Picketwire had done since 1968. “It exemplifies what it is to be a community theater that ascribes to professional standards and high quality.”

When asked why people should come to Picketwire’s summer musical, he answered, “First of all, they should come to support their community theater and second to see brilliant talent in a wonderfully popular play.”

For comedy and redemption, join us at Picketwire’s production of “Les Miserables” July 31, Aug. 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 at Picketwire Center for Performing and Visual Arts, 802 San Juan Avenue in La Junta, Colorado. The play begins a half hour earlier than usual – at 7 p.m. For tickets, call 384-8320. You can also purchase tickets online beginning July 15 at Ticket prices are $15.

Posted Jul. 16, 2014 @ 1:00 pm – La Junta Tribune Democrat