Local girls to appear in ‘Les Miz’ at Welk Theatre
By Emily Sorensen
Two local girls, Erica Ramirez of Poway and Nicole Phan of 4S Ranch, will be singing their hearts out on-stage with the California Youth Conservatory’s production of “Les Misérables – School Edition,” opening Friday, July 13 and running through Sunday, July 29 at the Welk Resort Theatre.
“Les Misérables – School Edition” differs very little from the original version of the famous musical, other than being edited for content and also for time, with some songs losing repeats or whole verses to make them more suitable for younger performers and audiences. The school edition cuts between 20 to 30 minutes from the show, bringing the runtime down to two hours and 30 minutes.
Ramirez, 8, who attends La Jolla Country Day School, in addition to serving as a general chorus member, is one of three young actresses playing the role of “Young Cosette” on a rotating basis, with Ramirez performing the role in seven shows.
She has been acting for about a year, with her previous experience including playing the role of Miranda in her school’s production of “The Tempest,” which won best scene in the Student Shakespeare Festival at Balboa Park in April, and participating in her school’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.”
Ramirez, who enjoys reading and writing, as well as swimming, tennis and playing the piano, learned about the show when her mother saw a flier for auditions at Ramirez’s school. She had two days to prepare a monologue and song for the audition.
“When it came to audition time, I felt really ready,” said Ramirez. “Afterward, I didn’t feel so nervous.” In the future, Ramirez said she would like to be a teacher or actor.
As Young Cosette, she has a solo song, “Castle on a Cloud.” When she’s performing in the general chorus, Ramirez sings in different group numbers. Having performed now in both musical and non-musical shows, Ramirez says she prefers shows with singing. “It sounds more expressive when you’re singing,” Ramirez said.
Nicole Phan, 11, of 4S Ranch, also learned about the production of “Les Misérables – School Edition” through her parents, after her father showed her an email from CYC looking for performers. Phan, who will be going into the seventh grade at Oak Valley Middle School, isn’t a stranger to acting, having performed as the Fairy Godmother in “Cinderella,” as well as in “The Wizard of Oz,” but this is her first production with CYC.
After learning about the production, Phan watched a recorded version of the musical to prepare herself. “I watched the movie, and it’s a nice play, but it’s long,” said Phan. As a member of the chorus, Phan will be performing in 10 songs and will play many roles, including a beggar, a Parisian and a wedding guest.
Phan has previously taken singing lessons and acting lessons, and also plays the piano. She plans to keep acting, and would like to perform in a production of “The Little Mermaid,” as it’s her favorite Disney movie.
Tickets for the show are $30.50. The Welk Resort Theatre is located at 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive, Escondido. Tickets may be purchased online at www.welktheatresandiego.com or by calling 888-802-7469. For groups or other information, call 619-944-7574.
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