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Kansas City actor home with ‘Les Misérables’ tour

Jason Forbach

“At the end of the show you’ll see a teenage girl sitting next to a woman in her 80s and they’ll both be sobbing. … The themes are universal.”

Jason Forbach, 34, Overland Park

Enjolras in the 25th anniversary tour of “Les Misérables”

On Tuesday, Jason Forbach made his first professional appearance in his hometown when the road company of “Les Miz” opened at the Music Hall. “Les Misérables” had been one of Forbach’s favorite musicals since he was a kid. He plays Enjolras, the charismatic leader of student revolutionaries inspired by principles of freedom and justice. In his two years with the touring company, he’s been in 800 or so performances.

Forbach majored in journalism and music in the University of Missouri-Columbia, but got his first taste of theater at Blue Valley North High School.

The Kansas City Star

On his years at Blue Valley North High School: “We did ‘Evita,’ ‘The Crucible,’ ‘Big River.’ We were doing challenging pieces for kids that age.”

On starting his career in NYC: “It’s a tough city. I was kind of starting from square one. I had no background or experience to know what I needed to break in. So I just kind of climbed my way up.”

On his first long-term gig, the Las Vegas production of “Phantom of the Opera”: “It was an $80 million production. I lived there for three years. I liken it to a second master’s degree. That’s when I learned what it was to really be a musical theater artist.”

On Hugo’s “Les Misérables”: “There are so many characters that stand for so many different things. The bottom line is, it’s about love. I think that’s why it’s one of the greatest novels of all time — it touches on every aspect of the human condition.”

On reading all 1,450-plus pages : “Similar to ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’ he interjected segments about what the condition of the world was at that time. It’s just massive. There’s so much detail.”

On the musical adaptation: “How in the world could they make a concise musical from that book? It’s amazing.”

On the strength of “Les Miz”: “It’s amazing to see how the story connects with people, especially at this time. A lot of things these characters are fighting for are the things people are still fighting for now. You see audiences who are just as young as they are old, and they all react the same way.”

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