Saturday, October 1 , 2016, 1:06 pm | Fair 69º

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Santa Barbara Youth Ensemble Theatre Stages ‘Les Miserables’ at Lobero

Do you hear the little people sing? You will not want to miss the Santa Barbara Youth Ensemble Theatre's eighth season at the Lobero Theatre with their awe-inspiring all-youth production of Les Miserables.

America’s first professional youth ensemble gathers dazzling costumes and sets, professional direction by Broadway veteran Janet Adderley, astounding choreography by Alana Adderley, exquisite orchestration by professional musicians, and the brightest and most talented young actors Santa Barbara has to offer.

The end result is a heart-wrenching, unforgettable production of Les Miserables like you've never seen it before. With an Academy Award-winning film adaptation and Tony-nominated revival on Broadway, Les Miserables is the hottest musical on the scene!

This timeless sung-through adaptation of Victor Hugo’s gut-wrenching story has won more than 100 international awards and touched audiences all over the globe. It is a tale of broken dreams, passion and redemption and a nation that is seething with revolution. The vulnerability, naïve hope and undeniable spirit that this all-youth cast brings to songs like “Do You Hear the People Sing," "On My Own," "One Day More" and "I Dreamed a Dream" create a chilling, magical effect and infuse a fresh meaning to this timeless classic.

Rickie Lee Benedetto was born to play Fantine. At only 13 years old, her vocal power, richness and finesse rival Randy Graff, the actress who originated the role on Broadway going on to win the Tony. Grace Blankenhorn's dramatic magnetism as Eponine is an experience not to be missed. At 12, Grace commands the stage with the ease of an actress who has lived her entire life in front of the footlights. She is a pure conduit of emotion with a mega-watt voice and the emotional vulnerability to reduce and audience to tears.

"That is true star quality," Trevor Nunn, who directed Janet Adderley on Broadway, once told her.

Nunn won the Tony for his direction of Les Miserables. Grace has star quality in spades. And then there is Elise Guerrand-Hermes as Cosette. At barely 10 years old, Elise possesses the exquisite effervescence and beauty of a princess. She is regal yet so innocent and warm with a pristine soprano voice that will melt your heart.

These astonishing three actresses provide the anchor for our two evening performances. Join us at the Lobero. Les Miserables is not to be missed! Performances are set for for 2 and 6:30 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, May 31 and June 1.

Tickets for VIP seating are $125, $29 for adults and $19 for students. For tickets, contact the Lobero Theatre box office at 805.963.0761 or online by clicking here.

— Lisa Rivas represents the Santa Barbara Youth Ensemble Theatre.

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