Les Misérables – Meet the Thenardiers!

meet-thenardier

Less than 1 week until we open!!!! Let’s continue meeting cast members – up next: Priscilla McRoberts and Mike Pederson, who play the Thenardier’s!

PLAYHOUSE: You both are Playhouse veterans – have you been in shows together before?

Priscilla McRoberts: We have never acted together before, but I have bossed him around as his director in a couple of shows – The Fantasticks and Spamalot.

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Production photo from “Spamalot.” Pictured in center: Mike Pederson. Directed by Priscilla McRoberts.

Mike Pederson: Priscilla and I have worked on shows together before. Not so much “been in together” as much as she has bossed me around (she’s really bossy). She has directed two shows that I have had the privilege of working on. The Fantasticks and Spamalot. Both through the Playhouse. Yep, if I had to describe Priscilla in one word it would be bossy. Next question!

PH: The Thenardier’s have to be fun characters to play! What has been your favorite part about playing them?

Mike Pederson and Priscilla McRoberts (in back) as The Thenardiers in "Les Misérables" rehearsal at UMD.

Mike Pederson and Priscilla McRoberts (in back) as The Thenardiers in “Les Misérables” rehearsal at UMD.

Priscilla: It’s always so much fun playing a villain – these two are greedy, opportunistic, dark, devious people who thrive in finding the weaknesses in others (which often means drunk or dead) in order to steal from them.  I particularly like how dark we have made Madame Thendardier.  It’s a great challenge to play so many different layers in a character.

Mike: The most fun for me has been finding the line these characters straddle between comedy and the darkness that we (humanity) have to offer. Finding the place in the show where the audience gets to realize that these characters that they were just enjoying are not at all what the music was telling them they were. If that makes any sense.

PH: Did you do any special research to prepare?

Priscilla: Sadly, I did not.  I haven’t read the book. I didn’t see the movie. I did see the original company in New York in 1987.  It changed my life.

Mike: I had read the novel forever ago so I went back to look at some of that and of course I love learning about the historical socioeconomic situations that birth these stories, so I went and looked at what was happening in Europe at the time. Not in a time machine mind you, but in books! And possibly the internet.

PH: What does it mean to you to be in this production?

Priscilla: I was a theatre major at Macalester College in 1987.  I had experienced some judgments about becoming an actor because I did not have a traditional actress body type/look and had been discouraged to pursue the industry for that reason.  I saw Les Misérables on Broadway in 1987 and when Madame Thenardier (played by Jennifer Butt who was a large woman with powerful energy, a strong voice, and genius comic timing) came out and stole the show, I thought to myself “I CAN be an actress.”  To be able to play the part that at one time gave me the courage to follow my heart is a gift I am humbled and honored to receive.

priscillaGGR

Priscilla McRoberts pictured on left in “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

Mike: It has been so very humbling to be a part of this production.These two characters are some of my favorite in all of musical theatre. Getting to play this in a community I really care about has meant the world to me.

PH: Any special thanks or shout-outs?

Priscilla:  I want to thank my parents who recognized my interest in theatre as a young girl in Fairfield, CT and who brought me to see brilliant Broadway musicals every birthday when I was growing up.  I thank Mike who is so SO much fun to play with. I thank my friends who always support and encourage me, especially when I doubt myself. And I thank Dottie Danner, our director, for giving me this opportunity.

Mike: To my family who first began fostering my love of the arts as a very small child going to see the Minnesota orchestra and shows at the Guthrie and children’s theatres. Thank you. To our director Dottie who has been simply a joy to work with, thank you so much for having me on this journey. Lastly, to Priscilla who has become a great friend, mentor and partner on this journey even if she is bossy.


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!

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