Who is pumped for Les Mis? I know we are!!! We open next week already and we would love to have you meet a few of our cast members. First up, meet our Cosette played by Duluthian, Jennifer Graupmann Campbell.
PLAYHOUSE: Cosette is a pretty coveted role in musical theatre history – what does this part mean to you?
Jennifer Graupmann Campbell: It has been really exciting to play Cosette in this production and to share the stage with such a talented cast. This is one of the few roles that I feel particularly suited for, so I’m very glad I’m getting the opportunity to perform it!
PH: It’s also a pretty hefty role vocally – for the folks that don’t know you already, what is your music background?
Jenny: I’ve been singing my entire life. I received my BA in Music from Luther College and my Master of Music degree from UMD. While I’ve gotten into musical theater more in the past few years, I have primarily performed in operas and classical recitals. I also love to sing jazz and choral music. I perform around the area with some jazz groups and sing soprano in Twin Ports Choral Project. I also teach private voice lessons out of my home and at UMD and direct the First Covenant Church Choir and Lake Superior Youth Chorus.
PH: What research did you do for this role?
Jenny: Cosette is one of the more underwritten characters in the show/book. It’s funny because she is the face of the show and so much of the story revolves around her, but there is a lot about her that is left unknown, so despite doing some research, I had to piece together much of my idea of Cosette based on her interaction with other characters. I still struggle with her inability to recall any of her childhood, but I guess it was good that she was able to forget her unfortunate past. I also listened to several recordings from different professional Les Mis casts to get a sense of various interpretations. I sort of feel like I began preparing for this role when I began voice lessons in eighth grade. Her song, “In My Life” was one of the songs in the first musical theater book I ever owned, and I really loved to belt it out in my bedroom to the accompaniment CD.
PH: What has been your biggest challenge with this part?
Jenny: Dottie, our director, has really pushed me to bring this character to life physically. For me, the easy part is the singing and facial expression, but moving about the stage takes a little extra effort. It’s funny the things you don’t ever realize you do until someone tells you not to. I’ve really learned a lot about myself as a performer in the process.
PH: What is your favorite part about being involved in this production?
Jenny: Honestly, I’ve really enjoyed watching the show and especially the other female leads – Sarah and Ali. It has been very inspiring seeing them bring their characters to life with so much depth and commitment. It’s also been very fun singing with Lucas (Marius). He has such a beautiful voice and I think we have a really good stage chemistry. I am looking forward to seeing where his career will take him.
PH: Any special thanks or shout outs?
Jenny: I would like to thank my husband Jeff for his support and encouragement and helping me to practice my Les Mis music at home. He knows the show better than I do, and he’s definitely my favorite duet partner.
Don’t forget to get your tickets, we open next week! You can purchase in person at the DECC Ticket Office or online by clicking the button below. And check back for more Q&A sessions with the cast!