Local theater proves its quality

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By Becca Owsley

Musicals were always a part of my childhood. My mom loves musicals, most of which she’s seen in movie form but occasionally we take a trip out to see one live on stage.

Basically, I got the homegrown version of musical appreciation every time mom watched a musical.

Sunday we ventured out with friends to the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center at John Hardin High School to see the pro/am production of “Les Misèrables.”

I’ll admit it’s not my or my mom’s favorite musical. It’s a bit depressing but the songs are iconic in musical theater. My favorite musicals always have been “The Sound of Music,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Wicked” and “Singing in the Rain.” Mom’s favorite always has been “West Side Story.”

But this production is in a long line of many that proves our local talent can produce a high quality theater experience just as well, if not better, than some Louisville venues.

These actors, stage hands, technical artists and musicians have spent weeks and long hours preparing a show that was better than anything I expected. “Les Misèrables” is a big musical in score and scope and a massive achievement for any theater.

The PAC not only took on this challenge but also produced a very high-caliber musical.

In the audience, your eyes first drift to the set pieces that show off the quality of the performance. The pieces turn and twist into a variety of backdrops until the large final barricade is produced in one of the climactic scenes.

The setting was only the beginning.

The musical talent was top notch. At times, you couldn’t tell the professionals from the amateurs. From the youngest to the oldest soloist on stage, they all gave a top-of-the-line performances.

When college freshman Hollie Nall exploded in Eponine’s famous song “On My Own,” it brought goose bumps. And this is just one example of the quality performances in the show.

While the production didn’t make me love the musical more, it did reaffirm the fact that Hardin County has quality theater in its own backyard. Instead of driving to Louisville to the theater, why not take advantage of what’s here?

Audiences raved over the Youth Theatre of Hardin County’s “Peter Pan” earlier this year. The Hardin County Playhouse has won state level awards for their productions. With “Les Misèrables” the PAC proved that a smaller town can produce a big time musical event.  

Local theater grows when you see it, support it and participate in it.

If you are a fan of theater, give our local venues a chance. You might be surprised to find how talented your neighbor, teacher or student is.

And the experience is made even better when you can look on stage and say, “Hey, I know that guy.” You can’t usually say that at a Louisville venue.

There’s still time to catch “Les Misèrables” at the PAC. Show times are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15-$30. For more information or tickets call 270-769-8837.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270- 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.