Lodi has the opportunity to be the first city to stage a community theater performance of “Les Misérables,” but it may lose the chance if Lodi Musical Theater doesn’t find a headlining sponsor to donate at least $15,000.
For Lodi Musical Theater director Nicole Howton, staging “Les Misérables” has been a dream that has been on hold since New York’s Musical Theater International put a 28-year restriction on rights to the show. In December, the restriction for community theater was lifted and Lodi Musical Theater was granted the chance to be the first organization outside New York to stage a full-scale version of the musical.
“Les Mis” in Lodi will include at least 120 locals, including cast and crew members, choir members and a full orchestra.
Auditions for “Les Mis” are scheduled for June 12, 13 and 14. However, Howton says she will only hold auditions if a headlining sponsor comes through.
The headline sponsor would donate $15,000 or more toward the $35,000 needed to put on the show. The sponsor’s name would appear on all promotional materials as the show presenter.
Though they are looking for a headlining sponsor, the show will go on if they are able to earn the funds through smaller donations that add up to the $35,000 needed to cover costumes, set design and to pay the orchestra members.
All donations are tax deductible, and should be made to Valley Performing Arts.
Howton has applied for a $30,000 grant from the Lodi Arts Commission, but the LAC will not make a decision before the end of summer.
Performances are planned to be held at Hutchins Street Square on Nov. 21 through 30. Tickets will be $35 each, whereas tickets for the Broadway show in Sacramento are selling for $250 each.
Howton says the large-scale performances generate funds for both Hutchins Street Square and the city, and it will be a disappointment for Lodi if this opportunity is lost.
“It would be a great loss for the Square, but it would really be a great loss for the community,” she said. “We’ve been waiting 28 years for this show to be available.”
Howton auditioned and cast “Les Mis” several years ago in Lodi, before she knew about the license restriction. Nearly 1,000 adults came to the auditions in Lodi and she continues to get at least a dozen emails a week from actors and singers hoping to perform in “Les Mis.”
“It’s the community who wants this show,” Howton said.
Lodi Musical Theater previously staged “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “West Side Story,” “South Pacific” and “Godspell” in Lodi.
Anyone interested in giving a tax deductible donation to “Les Misérables” can contact Len Reid Reynoso, of Valley Performing Arts board of directors, at 209-304-5432. Donations should be sent to Valley Performing Arts, 2044 Sugarbowl Way, Lodi, CA, 95242. For information about Lodi Musical Theater, visit www.troupecabanastudio.com.
Contact Lodi Living Editor Lauren Nelson at email@example.com.