PTG’s ‘Les Miserables’ delayed a second time due to theater and COVID setbacks


Rachel Lewis

For two months, the PTG cast has been rehearsing in the orchestra room with the closure of the Pioneer theaters.

Pioneer Theater Guild has postponed the production of Les Miserables from November to spring of 2022 after spending two months preparing for the show.

“I was devastated,” said Pioneer senior Joleena Siebler, the president of PTG’s student board.  “Theater has been my number one thing in high school, and it was the thing I was looking forward to most coming back from Covid.” 

Due to the undergoing repair of the Pioneer theaters and concerns with rising Covid cases, PTG co-sponsors and district leadership have come to the conclusion that postponing the production is the safest way to continue the show. 

“We are challenged right now due to the shutdown of the theater spaces at Pioneer. While our students and PTG co-sponsors have pushed themselves to keep our performance schedule, we have come to the conclusion that we need to postpone the production of PTG’s Les Miserables until the spring. This decision did not come easily but we know it is the best decision for a quality experience for our students,” said the district’s fine arts coordinator Robin Bailey in a letter to the members of PTG. 

The renovations of the Pioneer theaters due to a mold issue has created many challenges for this production. Although PTG had made plans to have the performance in the theater at Huron High School, there were still many complications with transportation equity and logistics on how to transport sets and equipment. 

With all of the setbacks, it became clear to the co-sponsors that trying to get Les Miserables ready in time for the fall would only create a stressful environment for everyone involved. “We want to create a valuable experience for everyone,” said Mysti Plumer, one of PTG’s co-sponsors. “This wasn’t an easy decision for any of us.”

Despite the disappointing situation, students understand that the postponement was for everyone’s best interest. “I do understand why this decision was made,” said Siebler. “We only had about two and a half weeks to do tech,” referring to the technological and inner adjustments that the theater’s crew team had to learn with their new venue at Huron, which included relearning all the lighting systems. “At what point do we compromise the quality of the show just to do it? Tech was not going to be ready in two and a half weeks,” she said.

Students are still upset to have to wait until the spring to perform Les Miserables. “It’s sad that even after a second try we still can’t do the show,” said Pioneer junior Ethan Palms.

PTG was set to showcase Les Miserables in the spring of 2020, but the show was cancelled due to Covid. “This is such an iconic show and I was really looking forward to following through with it,” said Palms. 

PTG co-sponsors have said that they will not be recasting the show in the spring, so cast members will maintain their original roles when the guild continues its preparations in the spring. 

Pioneer staff is still trying to create opportunities for students in PTG in the fall.

“We are genuinely trying to find ways for the students to perform,” said Principal Tracey Lowder. “We know that’s important. We are going to find a solution to this.” 

The district still wants to have the opportunity to show off the work that students have already put into the production of Les Miserables since 2020. 

“We want to honor the work of the students thus far. So, on Friday, November 5th, PTG co-sponsors will produce a unique, one-night concert preview of Les Miserables to showcase some of the numbers from the show. More information will be shared very soon,” said Bailey. 

PTG co-sponsors have also said that they are still planning on putting on Future Stars and a winter play later this year. 

By postponing the production of Les Miserables, PTG hopes to create a solid plan with the district regarding Covid and make the overall PTG experience more enjoyable for everyone. 

“It’s sad that the show will be postponed, but I understand why this decision had to be made,” said Palms. “It is what it is.”