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'Les Miz' popular

Saturday matinee is added

April 11, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Like the Broadway production, the run of the Williamsport High School version of "Les Misrables" has been extended.

The musical's director, Ruth Ridenour, Williamsport music department chairwoman and drama coach, said a matinee has been added for Saturday, April 12, at 2 p.m., making the musical the longest running in Ridenour's 26 years at the school.

"Les Misrables," Broadway's longest running musical, was set to end its New York run March 15, but extended its final show date until May 18 in response to popular demand, Ridenour said.

Ridenour said that after selling out for the Friday, April 11, show and nearly selling out the Saturday, April 12, show, the production's members voted Wednesday night to perform a special matinee Saturday.

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She said the performers were excited about doing an extra show.

"When you have a full house, there's just nothing like it," Ridenour said.

Ridenour said she called Music Theatre International, the company that supplied the musical's copyrighted student edition, to get permission to perform the extra date.

She said she doesn't know how much money the musical has taken in so far.

A formal complaint from community member Amy Myers about the play's language forced a Washington County Board of Education school committee to review the musical before production could begin.

The committee voted that the show would go on.

"The publicity definitely boosted sales," Ridenour said.

Ridenour attributes this weekend's near sold-out performances to the students' April 3, 4 and 5 shows.

"I have people calling and getting six or seven tickets, saying, 'I want to see it again,'" she said.

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