This musical classic opens in Detroit tonight

Former U of M student has national debut tour

One of the classics of musical theater is in Detroit through Jan. 8 at the Fisher Theatre. “Les Misérables” is one of the most celebrated shows of all time and cast member Haley Dortch joined Tati Amare on “Live in the D” to talk about her national debut tour.

According to Dortch, the musical is extremely intricate and contains unique elements. “It has a lot of costumes, and a lot of moving pieces, a lot of wigs, and just all of the elements you could possibly think of for a musical production,” said Dortch. “It tells a story of Jean Valjean and it follows him through his life and as he meets characters like Fantine, my daughter Cosette, Marius and Eponine and then their love story. It’s definitely an epic production that you should come see.”

Dortch said her character Fantine is recognizable for her strength. “Fantine is so strong and she’s resilient. She will do whatever it takes to care for her daughter and protect her daughter and she also has such a strong vulnerability that can be admired,” Dortch said.

According to Dortch, there are many expectations for her character but it’s exciting to put her own touch on the role. “I would say to play her, it’s kind of difficult because there’s such a legacy that comes behind her. Like you said, Anne Hathaway won an Oscar,” she said. “There’s a lot of ways that people want to see it done but to bring my own unique experience as a perspective to this role is new and exciting.”

Dortch said the musical is well-known and considered a favorite because it can connect with people of all backgrounds.

“I think because of how brilliantly written it is, anyone can connect to it. I know personally, my father comes from a world that is nothing close to musical theatre, but he can still connect with the story and I’m sure he knows more words of this musical than I do which is saying a lot,” Dortch said.

Dortch is a former student from The University of Michigan, and she said she hopes to return to the school eventually. “I loved my time at Michigan, I’m really hoping to return but the way that it set me up for my success is that with the training they have there, I feel so well prepared to continue this tour and have the stamina to do this tour and if my voice starts to go out, I have the tools to know what to do to make sure that I can continue to do the rest of the shows,” Dortch said.

According to Dortch, U of M provides an amazing musical theater program, and creates well-rounded individuals.

“I also just feel well prepared as a person because there is so much training. You’re expected to be well rounded as a person which I think is what makes Michigan such a unique place to study musical theater,” she said.

To learn more, watch the video above.

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