Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, a sprawling novel detailing the cat-and-mouse game played by an ex-con and an obsessed policeman, takes place as a bloody student uprising envelops nineteenth-century Paris. One wonders if the students Hugo had in mind were ninth-graders. Regardless the Miami Children's Theater production of Les Miserables, School Edition, a slightly abridged version of the hit musical (written in 1985 by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer, and Alain Boublil), made its debut last Friday, March 21, at the Coral Gables Youth Center Theater. Children's Theater executive director Angela Ardolino counts it among her most ambitious productions to date: "We've got 40 kids involved in this, including the stage crew."
The musical centers on Jean Valjean (played in this production by fourteen-year-old Harris Milgrim), a petty thief turned honest man, who is relentlessly hounded by Inspector Javert (played by Zack Held, also fourteen years old). The kiddie adaptation runs about two hours and fifteen minutes, compared with the actual musical's running time of three hours. "We're the first in Miami to do this new school edition of Les Miserables, which is a real honor," Ardolino says. "They took out a few parts that were sort of inappropriate for kids to be doing or saying."
Nevertheless the busy Coral Gables-based Children's Theater, which presents about eight shows a year with actors and crew ranging between the ages of eight and nineteen, plans to do and say plenty more in the future. It will soon expand into Kendall, continuing its musical bent with productions of Grease and Chicago in the summer, after Robin Hood and Much Ado About Nothing in the spring.--By Forrest Norman
Les Miserables, School Edition will be presented at 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 28 and 29, at FIU Biscayne Bay Campus, Mary Anne Wolfe Auditorium, 3000 NE 151st St, North Miami. Tickets cost $10. Call 305-233-2206 or visit www.miamichildrenstheater.com
Dance of the Onions
Group produce as good and evil and healthful onions will always falter. Reputed as "naughty," one little green onion known as Chipollino exhibits courage Friday and Saturday during Arts Ballet Theatre's performance. Residing with other vegetables, fruits, and flowers in the cheery town of Limonia, Chipollino protests against an edict making residents pay for sunlight, rain, and wind. The mischievous little stinker ends up on the run but ultimately redeems himself. Based on Gianni Rodari's fairy tale, the ballet is choreographed by Vladimir Issaev to the music of Russian composer Karen Khachaturian. Tickets range from $10 to $25. Call 305-935-3232. -- Nina Korman
Dig It, Kiddo!
For some kids, dirt is like chocolate cake: They can't get enough of it. If your kid has an affinity for mud, perhaps you should register Pig-Pen in the Historical Museum of Southern Florida's Spring Break Archaeology Camp, a week-long delve into history and the earth. Kids will join professionals at local archaeological digs, such as the Miami Circle (thought to be the oldest evidence of man in the region) and the Charles Deering Estate. Your little dirt-digger never had it so good. Camp starts Monday, March 31. Registration costs $100 and includes lunch, field trips, and T-shirts. Call 305-375-1625. -- Juan Carlos Rodriguez
How About Zoo?
From their dealings with your minor menagerie at home, your sons seem to be junior versions of Siegfried and Roy. How to stop them from torturing the beasts while they're bored and feckless during spring break? If they're between four and eleven years old, send them to Metrozoo (12400 SW 152nd St.) for planned daily activities. The kids won't be able to feed the animals, but kids themselves will be fed a morning and afternoon snack. Spring Camp runs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 31, through Friday, April 4. Cost is $124. Advance registration and payment are required. Call 305-255-5551. -- Nina Korman