In 1995’s Les Misérables Lauren Baker played little Éponine and she is now back as part of the ensemble.
“I play characters that I couldn’t play back in 1995 given that I was only 12,” she said.
“I remember watching the adults sing songs like ‘Lovely Ladies’ and wearing colourful costumes in the wedding scene and wanting to be part of it and now I have that opportunity.
“I’m really enjoying being part of the show. It’s not just the music and acting that I love but the friendships you make with the cast.
“When you put the costumes on you feel the characters come alive and you can’t help but feel moved by the music.
“I can’t help but think of what I was doing as little Éponine when I see our little actresses playing the role today, they are doing a great job.
“It has been nice to reminisce with the cast from 1995 about the good times working on Les Mis but now I am older, I am enjoying being on stage more and really getting into the grittiness of the characters.”
Lauren also appeared in Taree Arts Council’s Fiddler on the Roof and Anything Goes.
Les Misérables 2018 is Bruce Wiseman’s 50th production on stage with Taree Arts Council.
Last time around in 1995 he was in the ensemble and played the pimp to the ‘lovely ladies’ and was a member of Thénardier’s gang.
He’s back in the ensemble as Bamatabois this time and quite a number of the ensemble roles he was not in last time.
“The role of Bamatabois, even though small, I’m finding challenging from a vocal and timing perspective.”
He said all shows he has done with Taree Arts Council come with great memories but the ones that stand out have been My Fair Lady, Les Misérables, Cats, Miss Saigon and Mary Poppins. Bruce has also directed three plays for TAC.
He’s enjoying being part of Les Misérables again.
“The young dynamic cast have been great to work with. The amount of talent we have in this area continues to amaze me and working under the guidance of perfectionists such as Gayle Cameron and Don Secomb is always a great experience .
“When the opportunity to audition came up for the second time, I didn’t hesitate.
“This is my all-time favourite musical and may possibly be my last production. What a fabulous show to retire on.”
There’s a sense of déjà vu for Wayne Lambert, who is returning to be part of the ensemble in Les Misérables again.
In 1995 his main role was Feuilly, one of the students. “I was also a convict, sailor/customer, poor person and I believe a beggar.
“I’m thrilled that the role I’m playing this time is the same student Feuilly. I'm also a convict again, a sailor, inn patron and poor person.
“I think the difference this time is we are going an extra step with the set, lighting and sound not to mention more rehearsals which means the audience are going to be in for an awesome experience. “
Wayne hasn’t been in any other shows with Taree Arts Council since Les Misérables in 1995 but has been part of a couple of musical productions in Perth and Melbourne and the Manning Valley Choral Society, as recently as the mass choir for Schubert's Mass in June.
He’s finding the experience of this year’s production just as good, challenging and enjoyable as last time.
“However, this time around I know the story and the songs much better because when I auditioned 23 years ago I had never heard any of the songs/music. I wondered what all the hype was about when I saw people wearing Les Mis t-shirts around the place.
“I feel excited, privileged and blessed to be a part of this year’s production.
“I must say it’s great to be singing alongside people who were in the 1995 production again and it’s also great to meet and sing with and get to know the new cast of people for this new production.”
Les Misérables is on at the Manning Entertainment Centre from November 2 to 18. Tickets from www.themec.com.au, phone 6592 5466 or at the customer service desk at Stockland Forster.