ESSEX JUNCTION – Hundreds of Vermonters arrived at Essex High School last night armed with protest signs and singing the songs of angry men in response to what some are calling the unfair portrayal of law enforcement in the musical. The EHS production of Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Les Miserables opened last evening, and included several scenes in which the police are seen as villainous.
“I just think it’s really disrespectful,” said one protester outside the high school Thursday evening holding a sign reading #justiceforjavert. “I think cops are heroes, stars, and this show makes them look like guys who target certain individuals, hold grudges, and distribute the law unevenly. I don’t know how the school even let the kids do the show, honestly.”
The protester was asked about the prostitution, violence against women, profanity, and horrific death in the show, but had no problem with those scenes. “Yeah, most of it’s fine, but couldn’t they have re-written the show a bit to make Javert the hero, and not some criminal? So frickin’ biased.” He continued to chant loudly outside of the school until the show ended and his wife arrived to bring him home.
The show’s director defended her position in a social media post after the show.
“We’re not actually allowed to change the show,” she posted. “Legally. We can’t change the lyrics or the music, as per our licensing contract. I’m not on my own here, literally every production is the same.”
Her efforts at PR fell flat as complaints continued to pour in, with others upset about the portrayal of important business owners and landlords as corrupt.
Les Miserables runs through Saturday, with ticket information online and sold at the door. As of press time the production was planning to continue with its unfair depiction of people in power, who are always good and blameless.