It's the French revolution with West Texas flair. Coronado High School is one of the first schools in the country to perform the tragic musical Les Miserables. "In April or May of 2002, it was released in a school edition form to high schools not community theatres not colleges, to high schools," says director, Melody McDaniel.
McDaniel and her cast are taking West Texas on a journey back in time, about 300 years, to tell the tragic life story about a man named Jean Val Jean played by lead actor Ian Klotzman. "It takes a lot to do a play like this. I've really grown in every way possible," says Coronado junior Ian Klotzman.
That's because the story isn't just about hard times, it's about getting through them. "You can turn if you are in a bad siuation. There is always a way out and no matter what, you can always be a good person if you just try," says Klotzman.
A story isn't complete without a few villains like Guy and Madame Tenardie. "He's basically a rat. He's a scoundrel. He goes around in the play and steals from dead bodies and he's just very pompous," says Coronado senior Dana Phillips.
"I like to steal from people and I love money. That's all I care about," says Coronado junior Kristi Heinrich, who plays Madame Tenardie.
But, even the villains can send a strong message about the importance of having a heart. "She gives people a lot of flack for their flaws and their mistakes and how miserable everybody is she doesn't really care. I just learned that you've gotta care about what other people are going through and try to help them as much as you can," says Heinrich.
"The thread that runs through the show happens in the first scene when the Bishop trusts Jean Val Jean, believes that he can be a good person, and it's written in the lyrics when he says I have bought your soul for God, and at that point, Jean Val Jean realizes it's his choice. He can make a choice to be a good person. What better message to send to high school kids?" says McDaniel.
Coronado will perform Saturday December 7th at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 8th at 2:00 p.m. in their school auditorium. Tickets are $10, and you can purchase them at the door.