PMT opens 'Les Miz' at the Byham

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Do you hear the people sing? They are singing songs of "Les Miserables" in New York and Pittsburgh this week. A new production of the popular musical has just opened on Broadway, 28 years after it debuted there, played 6,600 performances and won eight Tony Awards. Starting tonight, the musical can also be seen in the Pittsburgh Cultural District, with Pittsburgh Musical Theater marching into the Byham Theater.

Directed by PMT founder Ken Gargaro, the cast includes Broadway veteran and Sewickley native Peter Matthew Smith, seen here most recently in the national touring company of "Memphis the Musical." He tackles the role of the escaped convict Jean Valjean, on the run and on route to salvation, while Tim Hartman sinks his comic timing into the treacherous Monsieur Thenardier. Carnegie Mellon University voice major Donovan Smith plays the heroic Enjolras, leading the rebels' charge into battle. Talia Akiva, above, is one of the actresses portraying young Cosette.

The company for "Les Miz" is gathered in collaboration with Robert Morris University, the theater program led by Mr. Gargaro and where music director Brent Alexander is an instructor. Mr. Alexander said this is the largest production he's worked on in his six years with PMT.

"Les Miserables" is at the Byham Theater, Downtown, tonight through April 6, 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (no performance April 3). Tickets are $12.25-$44.75 at 412-456-6666 or

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