LES MISERABLES U.S. Tour took some members of the press backstage to see some behind the scenes preparations for the Load in of LES MISERABLES now playing at the Bass Concert Hall, in Austin, Texas. Heather Chockly and Trinity Wheeler, both stage managers, shared with us some interesting numbers.
It takes 9 semi-trucks to move everything from one city to another. It takes a crew of 15 travelling and 75 locals 16 hours to set-up everything for the show and 8 hours to pack it back up. During each city run, it takes the 15 travelling crew members and 30 locals to help during the show. There are 2 prop masters, 2 carpenters, several electricians, sound people, hair and make-up people and many dressers who are hired locals as well. There are over 1,000 pieces of wardrobe and 45 wigs (that are all made of human hair) that have to be in the right place at the right time (and you think you had trouble keeping track of one pair of shoes). All the women in the show wear at least 2 different wigs. Valjean and Javert wear multiple wigs because of the aging process. In addition to all of the props needed to make the show flow, there are also 4 projectors used for the backdrops and additional one up in the balcony to help create 3D effects. These backdrops are inspired by paintings of Victor Hugo and make the show more cinematic in scope.
LES MISERABLES tours with their own 15 piece orchestra and this keeps the sound consistent and edgy. Heather told us that this show compared to the Broadway version has eliminated the turntable, it moves faster, is darker and grittier (Heather does not recommend taking your children to this one). She also said that it is raw and powerful and the new orchestrations make it a great show.
Trinity told us that the biggest challenge is that it’s physically a large show and was hard in the beginning to move it. But now with time and practice, it’s gotten better. It can also be challenging to keep track of a large cast and who’s in and out of shows, who’s on vacations, etc.
LES MISERABLES plays now through June 3rd at Austin's Bass Concert Hall. Single seats may still be available by going to their website.
Photo Credit: Kathy Strain
The backstage view of Javert's Suicide
Who used this rake?
Can you imagine keeping track of all of those wires?
Do you recognize some of these props?
Screens for backgrounds
What scene is this bag used in?
Part of the Barricade