Well the first "moment of truth" came last night, with casting the show. We had a huge turnout for the auditions. The great fun is that at the moment Weebly, where we host our main website, is having major problems with it's website editor so we cannot update our main site. (GRRRRRR! - and I have whinged at Weebly Support so hopefully it gets sorted soon) ...
We didnt pre-cast and the cast we now have are a total mixture of extablished theatre company members, and newbies. With a few people from the model agency Aesthetic Clarity, which I am also with, who came over and auditioned as well.
Casting Les Mis, isnt an easy thing. Despite this not being a youth show, I had a lot of 11 - 14 year olds wanting to read for Fantine. Nothing wrong there, but call me a fuddyduddy if you wish, I am not happy with the idea of having someone underage playing Fantine (especially outside of a school show context) considering the prostitution aspects of the character. (granted, parents were present, but still...) There were issues of trying to take into account who wanted a large role, and who wanted a small role. Lots and lots of girls/ women auditioning, and not so many guys.
It was our biggest audition turnout ever, and after we had heard the auditions, we finalised the casting that night. A lot of people hung on to find out their fate that night, despite it being rapidly approaching midnight. There were disappointments, I hate having to tell people that they didn't get the role they wanted, or they didn't get a role other than "factory girl number 4" type stuff. But when you have about 9 people all wanting to play Fantine, and the same wanting to play grown-up Cosette... it's going to happen, sadly.
With the guys, there are a lot of cases of one role played in Act 1 and another in Act 2. We have just slid through by the skin of our teeth on that. Although they are all super. There are also a couple of girls happy to play male roles, who pitched in as well. I do not like doing cross gender casting and am horrendously picky as well with it. If it has to happen, it has to be well done. (the joys of community theatre!)
With the girls, we had to cast bearing in mind all kinds of issues - not just acting skills, but also age, and age of who they are playing opposite, what the book says, rehearsal commitments, etc. It all worked out beautifully for the show in the end. There was one girl who is very pretty but has confidence issues due to being plus-size, who hadn't thought she would get a part because of her confidence issues, who is now beyond over-the-moon at having a large role.
Next week, we have the script read-through, then we start blocking the scenes.
Not really any backstage pictures yet, but here is one of Ed, who is cast in the role of Enjolras, outside the community centre where we rehearse, in the picnic area, having a laugh before we got underway with a flag for Les Mis, and a sword from a medieval show, fished out of our store cupboard at random I think he was kinda saying this was the role he wanted