Friday, April 19, 2013

Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Once in a lifetime musical event!

We came, we saw, and we started a revolution. Thousands of people witnessed Barter Theatre's Les Mis at main stage and hundreds more attended the two performances with Symphony of the Mountains in Kingsport. Thanks to all who went on this journey with us. It was spectacular. 

Barter Theatre

Thousands upon thousands of people have seen “Les Misérables” this past year through the movie release last winter or the many regional theatre productions. It’s officially the world’s longest running musical, and “Les Mis” has been seen by over 65 million people in 42 countries. But how many have seen it with a full symphony orchestra? Not many.

On August 16 and 17 the Mountain Empire is invited to see the musical event of the summer in a brand new way: a collaboration of Barter Theatre and the Symphony of the Mountains to bring the music of “Les Mis” to soaring new heights.

Cornelia Laemmli Orth conducting The Symphony of the Mountains

Although the story, based on Victor Hugo’s novel, is compelling, the music is the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of “Les Mis.” Alain Boubill and Claude Michel Schonberg have arguably written the best music for a theatrical production of all time. It has even made its way into pop culture with references on “Seinfeld,” “South Park” and more recently, “Homeland.” After the movie was released, even “Saturday Night Live” got in on the action with a spoof of “One Day More” with host Anne Hathaway.

As fans already know, the show is meant to be seen live. It is so rare for any production to have a full orchestra, which is why this is so exciting that Barter Theatre is collaborating with Symphony of the Mountains for two performances Kingsport. Last Sunday, Barter closed an extremely successful run of “Les Mis” in Abingdon, but the cast is eager to perform two more times and backed by a full symphony.

Actor Rick McVey said, “Playing Javert in ‘Les Mis’ has been one of the most thrilling and fulfilling roles I've ever done. To be able to do it with this fantastic cast and crew is undeniably one of the highlights of my career, and to perform with a full symphony orchestra is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

For two nights only, residents of the Mountain Empire can hear the music of “Les Mis” the way it was intended and backed by the professional musicians of Symphony of the Mountains.

The orchestra pit at Barter Theatre is only large enough to hold six musicians, and that was a tight fit. The Toy F. Reid Center in Kingsport, Tennessee, can hold the 30 Barter Theatre actors and a full orchestra.

Barter Theatre and Symphony of the Mountains are two of the longest-running performing arts organizations in the region. Barter is celebrating 80 years and the Symphony is celebrating 65. It makes perfect sense to collaborate when opportunity allows. Few organizations in the country are pooling resources in this way. Barter first partnered with The Symphony in 2011 with “Cabaret” and the outpouring of support was exciting for both organizations.

Audiences loved “Cabaret,” but will be even more blown away by “Les Mis.”

Hannah Ingram as Fantine

The difference between performing “Cabaret” and “Les Mis” is the scope of the project. “Cabaret” is meant to be more intimate with a smaller cast, but “Les Mis” is truly epic, and the entire story is told through the lyrics and music, instead of having breaks for dialogue.

Symphony conductor Cornelia Laemmli Orth and the musicians really have their job cut out for them. Most musicals allow for musicians to rest during dialogue. Since “Les Mis” is more of an opera than traditional music theatre, every word is sung. The characters in the show take turns singing solo or with groups, but the conductor and the musicians are performing in every single number for the entire play..

“I am very excited about this collaboration. Yes, it is a long time for me to have my arms up without a break, but I am sure I won’t even feel it. This music is so incredibly beautiful and passionate, that it makes us forget everything else,” said Laemmli Orth.

The Barter/Symphony collaboration will take place at the Toy F. Reid Eastman Employee Center in Kingsport, TN, on August 16 and 17 at 7:30pm. For tickets and more information, visit or call (423) 392-8423. 

Read More About the Collaboration with The Symphony of the Mountains.

To love another person is to see the face of God.        —Jean Valjean, Les Misérables. 

From the first soaring notes to the final triumphant chorus, Les Mis is a musical experience you will never forget. Pursued by the righteous policeman Javert, convicted felon Jean Valjean seeks to find redemption and protect the innocent orphan Cosette.  Songs like “On My Own,” “Who am I?” and “One Day More” have made Les Mis an international smash hit for over two decades. Barter’s thrilling original production features a cast of 26 and a live musical ensemble on stage.

Critics are calling it  "THRILLING!"

Everyone Remembers their First Time! Click here to hear Barter actors reminisce about their first time seeing Les Mis. 

Men Love Les Mis and we can prove it!

View rehearsal footage below.

Get tickets!

Meet the Cast

Meet the Collaborators

Back Stage: the Set and How it is Constructed
The set will NOT be traveling to Kingsport for the Symphony of the Mountains Collaboration Performance. 

Barter Theatre is located in beautiful Abingdon, VA. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway for two, a reunion for the whole gang, or an excuse for a Girls Night Out – Barter Theatre and Abingdon, VA is the perfect destination.


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  2. I can't wait I'm so excited! Barter theater is my favorite!

    1. Thanks Jessica! We are so excited! Do you have your tickets yet?