By Brandon Read
Well CCC, it looks like we are in for another great year of Professor Bradshaw’s productions in the 2013-14 Cumberland County College school year. This coming fall, the Cumberland County College Drama Club will be performing the beloved musical, Les Miserables. The story of a reformed thief, Jean ValJean, being chased by the ruthless Inspector Javert. According to NJ.com, anyone who would like to see this musical can get an up-close and personal viewing of this famous production on November 21, 22, 23, and 24. Auditions will take place during the 2013 spring semester at Cumberland County College. Any students who would like to audition for this production, “Come on out.”
As mentioned before, Professor Bradshaw will be the director of this iconic musical. She herself has acted in this production before, and had recently sat down for an interview to share some interesting information about the beginning stages for this production. Bradshaw stated, “Les Mis was a dream-come-true for me. After college, I moved to New York and began my performing career with one goal: to perform on Broadway. To get there, I continued studying voice and acting in New York, and took every opportunity I could to be a working actor by performing in Dinner Theater, Summer Stock, Regional Theater and tours, which culminated in my Broadway debut in Les Miserables.”
When Bradshaw went to audition for Les Mis, she mentioned that she and her husband were expecting their first child. She went to the audition anyway and the producers cast her for the first National Tour of Les Miserables. She states, “The rehearsal process was very intense but very exciting to work with the director and the entire creative team from the Broadway production. Eventually, I was transferred from the tour to the Broadway Company. It was quite a thrill, my dream came true, my Broadway debut.” Les Mis is an ensemble show which means that each actor has many different roles with the exception for the part of Jean Val Jean and Inspector Javert. Bradshaw mentioned she was one of these ensemble actresses during her time in this production, where she played four different parts.
Now, everyone is probably wondering, “Wasn’t there just a movie version that came out in theaters in late December?” The answer is yes, and people may have a feeling that this may be the reason why CCC is performing this production. To put this pre-conceived notion to bed, Bradshaw responded, “I actually decided to direct Les Mis at Cumberland County College long before the movie was released. However, until a few months ago, the licensing rights to Les Mis were not available. The very first day Les Miserables was released to community theaters, I immediately obtained the rights to produce and direct Les Miserables at the college.” There are numerous film versions of this beloved story, however according to Bradshaw, seeing the actual production of Les Mis is far better than watching the film. Bradshaw states, “The movie version was certainly packed with stunning visuals, expressions and emotions which only camera angles and close-ups can achieve. Live theater is a completely different experience. Every live performance is unique, real-time intimate relationship and chemistry between the performer and the audience.” Bradshaw compared the differences of watching the movie and the actual production to, for you sports fans out there, watching a good football game on TV compared to sitting on 50 yard line seats at the actual game.
Professor Bradshaw certainly has an idea of what she has in mind for this production. She states, “I wanted our students to experience a taste of what it was like for me, beginning with the rehearsal process, the music, the story , and being part of the finest and longest running musical in history,” and that it is, “an experience of a lifetime.”