‘Les Miserables’ parody returns to the Desert Star Theater

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Victor Hugo’s classic novel, musical and now popular film “Les Miserables” gets a makeover in an upcoming comedic parody at the Desert Star.

“Les Miserables — or — A Lot Less Miserable” opened Mar. 28 and will run through June 8 at the Desert Star Playhouse in Murray. The musical comedy uses the same general storyline and characters of “Les Miserables” but then takes generous liberties with how story unfolds, creating an exciting performance of over-the-top characters and melodramatic acting.

Actors in the upcoming Desert Star parody of "Les Miserables" (Photo courtesy Chad Whitlock)
Actors in the upcoming Desert Star parody of “Les Miserables” (Photo courtesy Chad Whitlock)

After the recent popularity of the Oscar-winning film version of the musical, the Desert Star decided to bring back its popular parody of this timeless story. Scott Holman, who directed the show previously at the Desert Star, said the popularity of the film increased demand for the comedy version.

“Many of our patrons wondered why we weren’t doing our version of the Broadway classic,” Holman said in a news release. “With this great fan feedback, we decided the time was right for the return of our comedy version. Audiences can enjoy the drama of the big-screen blockbuster and then get a good laugh from our hysterical deconstruction.”

Desert Star has been producing family-friendly comedy for over 25 years. Assistant Director Mary Williams said the Desert Star is committed to providing audience members with exciting comedy for all ages.

“All of our work here at the Desert Star is fun, off-the-wall comedy,” Mary Williams said. “We take material and we twist it around so we’re doing a parody.”

The upcoming parody of “Les Miserables” is no exception. Jeff Jensen, who plays Marius in the production, said while the performance still resembles the original production, there are some hilarious twists to the well-known story.

“It is a story that has similar characters,” Jensen said. “But we take the story itself and have some fun liberties on how the story takes place.”

Despite it being based on an original production, Jensen said the performance will easily entertain even someone who is not familiar with the story.

“If you are a fan of Les Mis or familiar with Les Mis, you will totally get the humor in our comedy,” Jensen said. “But if you’ve never seen the play, the show stands on it’s own. So you can have fun and laugh even when you’ve never seen Les Mis before.”

While the production is scripted, like any other show, audience members from night to night will never have the same experience. Improvised acting, interaction with the audience and modern twists on the story make the production fast-paced, current and unpredictable.

“Our shows always have an exciting and fun element of unpredictability,” Jensen said. “The actors change or alter their lines to maybe go along with something in the news or in the area. The audience feels like they are getting a unique performance. While the story is consistent from night to night, in terms of music and lines and the general performance, … little elements might change from show to show, so it is current and fresh for the audience.”

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