By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Aurora’s Les Mis opens to sold out shows
Proud father attends daughter’s every performance
By Carole Townsend

LAWRENCEVILLE -  There’s a revolution going on in Lawrenceville; it’s the French Revolution as portrayed in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables , and for the second year in a row,  the Aurora Theatre is delivering a powerful performance. 

“Les Miserable speaks to generations of audiences, through musical genius and stories of vulnerability and passion,” said Aurora Producing Artistic Director Anthony Rodriguez. “After waiting thirty years to do the show, it exceeded all expectations. I’m thrilled for an other opportunity to work with these amazing artists on this magical show.”

One of the artists is Roswell native, Kelly, who plays Cosette, the beautiful young woman who is rescued from poverty and abuse. She is raised in privilege by Jean Valjean, her surrogate father. Schmidt portrays the character with poise and compassion. While last year’s performance of Les Miserables at the Aurora Theatre was her first ever in the role of Cosette, Schmidt is passionate and believable, and her character’s love for Valjean is palpable.

Sitting in the audience every time Schmidt plays the role is her own father, Andy. He has not missed a performance since his daughter played “Cosette” for the first time at the Aurora Theatre last year.

“In a way, it's comforting knowing that he's out there rooting for us and catching every nuance, “ Schmidt said. “I really don't think about it when I'm on stage though, especially since Cosette's story centers around her relationship with her father, and I have to stay focused on telling the truth of this story.”

The importance of her parents’ support is evident when Schmidt talks about the path that led her to performing. “I started taking ballet when I was three years old, went to drama camp all through elementary school, and have been singing as long as I could talk.  I sang in the elementary and middle school chorus, and then I began studying private voice lessons when I was fourteen.” As with sports or education or anything else that children undertake, it is often the parents’ willingness to go above and beyond that helps their child succeed. The long hours of practice and training demanded by the performing arts are just as exhausting, and Schmidt is quick to give her parents credit for their support.

Schmidt has several people in her corner when it comes to support, training and the push for excellence. She includes former teachers, coaches and mentors on that list, as well as her fiancé Chad. “I could not do this without him,” she said.

When asked for a word of advice for aspiring young performers, Schmidt answered, “The best advice I can give is that it is essential to keep training.  Take classes, study private lessons, see shows, listen to music, read books, ask questions.  Soak up as much information and knowledge as you can.  And be confident …  You can do anything you set your mind to.”

Les Miserables is playing at the Aurora Theatre through March 1.
Show times are: 

Wed. – Fri., 8:00 p.m.
Sat., 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sun., 2:30 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.auroratheatre.com.