'A Lot Less Miserable' called back to Desert Star

Published: Saturday, March 23 2013 1:20 p.m. MDT

The poster advertising the parody show "Les Miserables or A Lot Less Miserable!" returning to the Desert Star stage March 28.

Chad Whitlock

MURRAY — The executive producer and the director of the Desert Star Playhouse were flattered when patrons started calling in December to see if the theater was going to bring back their parody of "Les Miz" after the blockbuster movie hit the screens.

But after the calls kept coming, they realized it meant they needed to make a last-minute switch in their lineup. They needed to bring back their show now to meet public demand.

"It's never easy to change shows," Scott Holman, the director of "Les Miserables Or A Lot Less Miserable!" "It wasn't really on our schedule."

Holman called executive producer Mike Todd and together they decided to bump "The Phantom of the Opera" show to 2014 and plug in the “Les Miserables” musical knock-off.

That was in January. Two months later, the show is opening with all of the familiar characters including: Jean Levi-Jean played by Dan Larrinaga and Justin Berry; Cassette played by Kerstin Davis and Ashley Halsam and Funtime played by Steffani Dean and Julie Heaton.

The silly songs, the kooky characters and all the nonsense is back.

There are also updates and tweaks inspired by the movie, Holman said. So if a patron of Desert Star has seen the show before, there will still be plenty of comedy that's new.

"There's a lot to laugh at," Holman said. "It's absurd. You'll see the absurdity."

Holman said some may think it's somewhat dangerous to make fun of a classic that is so popular in Utah but he believes the Desert Star crowds understand the shows are harmless fun.

"I really enjoy the story (of ‘Les Miserables’)," he said. "To me it's a happy story that's hopeful in the end."

Todd said audience members can expect to laugh at the show, boo the villain and cheer the hero.

If you go:

What: "Les Miserables Or A Lot Less Miserable!"

When: March 28-June 8; 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday; 6 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m. Saturday;

Where: Deseret Star Playhouse, 4861 S. State, Murray

Tickets: Adults $15.95 call 801-226-2600

Website: www.desertstar.biz

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.

Email: haddoc@desnews.com

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