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An Open Letter to Those Who Want to Hear it From the Cast of Blind Brook’s Les Miserables

Wednesday night of hell week is nothing short of the grandest celebration and the most extreme anxiety. For the crew members, it means to make sure that every arrangement with the set pieces and props are in order and that the light cues are exactly where they need to be, clarifying that the technical side of the production is 100%. It’s their last chance to fix any errors or to add on anything they find useful, and without them, shows would be the definition of a mess. For the cast members, it means that the lines, movements, and emotions are exactly what they need to be for opening night. It’s the last day to utilize the directors’ picky (and very useful) notes, and with that, the show has a human side, one where the audience can awe at our ability to captivate their own minds. For the seniors of this show, myself included, we’ve been through many of these tech/hell weeks before. We can share many stories of embarrassment and awesomeness that is the process of creating productions at Blind Brook. With these three days before opening night, they’re meant as knowledge, knowing that it’s going to be a performance we can all be proud of. And I can say without a single doubt in my mind that if you were to ask anyone- freshman, sophomore, junior, senior- which hell week, which process, which time has given you the most appreciation for anything and everything to do with theater, they will say it was this one: the show which all of you might not be able to see. So when I write this letter, it’s hard to continue. I want to stop what I’m doing and give up, stay in my bed, and never leave. As for anyone involved I think they feel the same way. It was almost five months working on this show, time that we all spent hustling and grinding on making every second in the production the best that the school would ever see. And the funny thing is, this is the best show this school has ever done, and not many people will know that but the cast and crew. I think we all knew we had something special when we had our first music rehearsal, the first time we all sat down together and sang everything. Usually, that first music rehearsal we have nothing memorized. None of the notes are sung correctly, and we have to work on one song for about an hour at length. But for this first-time gathering as a cast, we knew everything. Almost every single note was there and it sounded amazing, truly amazing, and got every single one of us ready for March way back in December! The next few months were nothing but phenomenal. How I wish I could go into detail of every rehearsal and every growth of character in all of us. This bond grew each day. Each time we’d leave that school to come back the next day and continue developing our friendships was beautiful. It was beautiful. 

I want to go back to Wednesday night of hell week because I want everyone to understand how we feel. As we finish getting ready for places, a senior meeting is called for in one of the classrooms. Obviously there has been talk about the future of our show- considering on Tuesday we were unable to rehearse due to the school closure- but we weren’t letting anything stop us at that moment. As we walk into the classroom, we see that Chrissy is tremendously upset. And at this time, we all thought we were done for. As it turns out, she wanted to see what our opinions were on specific outcomes. Whether or not we’d have a performance for just the high schoolers, or one with just parents, or the show being postponed indefinitely. We all wanted this show to be seen now, I mean every rehearsal for the past two weeks had been show-ready. It was at that time of that senior meeting where all of us broke down before we got back on that stage. Tears welled up in everyone’s eyes and all we could do was hold each other and comfort the best friends we have ever made. We didn’t know what to do, not only that, we didn’t know what the school was going to do, which was even scarier. We performed that show a few minutes later, and it was the most difficult experience for us. Uncertain about the future, we gave it our all to give the audience that wanted to come and watch our Wednesday night rehearsal a chance to see our hard work and our integrity. There were times where I was backstage and it was hard not to cry. How can you look at everyone, knowing that each and every single person worked until they dropped, only for it to end up being this sort of ending? It was confirmed to us after we performed that the show would be postponed to a future unknown date, and it was at that point where my mind left me. I fell into this dream-like state of sadness and uncertainty. A lockdown entered my brain, thoughts, and emotions were all over me as if they were trying to escape, but I couldn’t figure anything out. Nothing made sense to anyone anymore.

I write this on the day that was supposed to be our closing night. For the seniors, this is when we take our final bow, and say our thanks to everyone who helped us make the show the way it was. It’s a night where we pass down our warm-ups to next year’s seniors, and where we go to the diner to celebrate what a great time these past months have been. So if this is the only place where people can hear about the experience that was working on Les Mis, here is our thank you’s:

We would love to thank Stephen who was our musical director on the show. He got us to make our harmonies sound exceptional, taught us how to grow as individual singers, and have the band sound like a professional Broadway-bound band.

To TJ and Tracy, the choreographers who have worked with us the past four years, thank you for being the kindest people. We talk all the time, so having you both around to help us figure our stuff out in terms of movement takes the greatest patience on planet earth. The motivation you gave us was one of a kind.

To Zach, working on our lights, mics, and sets is a difficult task that seems like it can only be done by you. You’re hard work shows, and it is why you mean the world to us. Visually, you represent us and we thank you for that. 

To the sophomores and juniors, this isn’t the end for you just yet. Thank you for sticking with theater even if it drives you crazy. We’ve made such amazing friendships along this crazy way, and we couldn’t have asked for a better group of people. The determination in all of you is amazing, and keep that, and let it grow until it’s your closing night.

To the freshman, thank you for giving us hope that theater in this school isn’t dying, and we hope that we gave you all a phenomenal first year into this program. Make it grow, and always stay weird and stay comfortable in your shoes. It was a real honor to be able to bond with all of you, and we hope that when you’re seniors one day, the freshman are able to feel the same way you did during this time. 

Chrissy…

I wish the words in this letter were able to explain how much you mean to our lives in and out of this school. We do the show for ourselves and we do the show for you. We do it to make you proud and to show you that we care about the work you’re putting in. You’re not only a director but a mother to us all. You care about all of us, and it shows. It really, really shows. I need you to know that we all do the show because we have seen your productions and think to ourselves “wow…. I need to be a part of this experience.” And let me tell you that it has lived up to the hype. This love we all felt for the theater came from you, so thank you for every single second.

So as I finish this letter, I hope that whoever is reading this can understand the feelings we all have. In any grade, in any part of the show. We are all upset, but we continue to celebrate that what we made was the best show this school has ever made. We all worked harder than ever before, and it shouldn’t go unnoticed. And let’s just say, if one day the show is back on, and you’re able to get a seat….

Just say I warned you. 

Vive la France

About the author

Michael Lieberman