Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society begin auditions for Les Misérables production

SEARCH BEGINS: Directors Lyn Townsend and Neil Westcott are leaving no stone unturned as they search for the best cast possible for the masterpiece production Les Misérables. Photo: Christine Little
SEARCH BEGINS: Directors Lyn Townsend and Neil Westcott are leaving no stone unturned as they search for the best cast possible for the masterpiece production Les Misérables. Photo: Christine Little

It is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century and this year the Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society wants the masterpiece that is Les Misérables to be one of their best productions that's come to the Little Theatre stage.

And so the search begins to find the best cast possible for the performance and director Lyn Townsend and musical director Neil Westcott want to leave no stone unturned.

The pair said they want to allow everyone the opportunity to audition and encourage anyone who may be interested to step up.

Auditions for Les Misérables will be held on Thursday, May 30 and Saturday, June 1 at Little Theatre, with rehearsals beginning from June 19 and show season running from September 13 to October 6.

"This will be one of our biggest shows we'll ever put on," Lyn said.

"For us, it's about getting the best cast we can.

"Because of its degree of professionalism, people will come expecting a certain level of professionalism and obviously we want to deliver."

About 50 people have already registered to audition but there are still places available.

"We're letting people know there are opportunities there, this is their opportunity to audition," Lyn said.

"And you don't have to be a member of the Society or performed previously, that's not a prerequisite at all."

It's not the first time Parkes M&D has performed Les Misérables - the Society staged the same production in 2003 at the Parkes Leagues Club.

Neil was a member of the 2003 cast, performing the role of Police Inspector Javert.

"It was groundbreaking then... The production had a very large orchestra," he said.

"I fell in love with it then.

"I've always wanted to do it in the theatre because it's more intimate and has a far greater ambiance.

"Lighting will play a big role because it is a very dark musical."

Neil said the Parkes production will feature an 11-piece band, as well as marvellous chorus roles.

"The music is sublime," he said.

"It is as good as it gets...the songs are so powerful."

Lyn said the new Les Misérables movie, released in 2012, has created a whole new era for the story and a new generation of followers.

The duo is very excited for what this week's auditions will bring.

"We feel we have the cast within our grasp," Lyn said.

"We're looking for people who will lift that bar higher."

"We had a taste of it in Goosebumps where we performed a small collection of songs from Les Misérables, which showed its potential," Neil added.

Lyn said the Goosebumps performance - which was the Society's first show back in the refurbished Little Theatre in October that looked back on some of their most memorable moments - gave them confidence that they could do Les Misérables in 2019.

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"We had a very good start to the year this year, with Anne of Green Gables (in April), which was very successful," Lyn said.

"And we have the junior production Shrek The Musical, which opens on June 7.

"We usually only do two shows a year, this (Les Misérables) will be three."

To register for an audition, email your request for a time slot to lyntownsend5@bigpond.com.

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