published Monday, July 7th, 2014

Get Off The Couch: 'Les Miz,' Disney princesses, Elvis

LISA DENTON: Barry, I'm trying to keep the volume down over here in my cubicle, but after looking at the schedule of upcoming events, I can't stop singing.

I started out as Fantine warbling "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables," which will open Friday at Chattanooga Theatre Centre. Then I became the Snow Queen Elsa and decided to "Let it goooo, let it goooo. Can't hold it back anymore." I can't hit all the notes Idina Menzel does, but if John Travolta's imaginary friend Adele Dazeem has a voice, that's what I sound like. The film that song is from (we're not supposed to tell the title) kicks off First Things First's Movies in the Park series Saturday at Coolidge Park.

Then I saw that Elvis tribute artist Matt Cordell will be performing Saturday night at the Alhambra Shrine Temple. Before I knew what was happening, my upper lip had started to curl and my pelvis commenced to twitching, and now I can't stop singing "Burning Love." A song with the words "hunka, hunka" wins out every time.

BARRY COURTER: I wondered what all that spasming was about. I never know with you, so rather than call for a medic, I figured it wise to wait it out. We need a hand signal or something in case it's more than another Elvis twitch.

Maybe you could do a mash-up: "I dreamed a hunka, hunka burning love, can't let it goooo."

I know the Theatre Centre people are excited about "Les Miz" opening. Did I tell you they had more than 150 people audition for its roles? Obviously, the 2012 movie starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway made it popular again, but the music draws a lot of actors, too.

LISA: They've whittled it down to a cast of 30 or so. Their motto: Company loves misery. Ha ha. No, I just made that up.

BARRY: That's a miserable pun.

LISA: Oh, let it go. Hahahaha. Sorry. Please continue.

BARRY: I don't know about the rest of the cast, but I do know that Michael Dexter, who plays Jean Valjean, has some off-Broadway credits to his name, and Thomas West, as Marius, will have some off- and on-Broadway credits before too long.

LISA: Our colleague Randy Forester will be playing Farmer and Claquesous. And my buddies the Van Valkenburgs are involved -- Rodney in the role of Thenardier and Julie as stage manager. Oh, and WRCB Channel 3's Greg Glover will play Inspector Javert. I swear, I don't know where he finds the time to do the news.

BARRY: I don't know where any of them find the time. Most of these shows rehearse three hours a night at least five nights a week for two months. It's pretty remarkable, but they love it, and it shows.

LISA: And don't forget that "The King and I" is playing weekends in July at Signal Mountain Playhouse. Their "King" is Seth Carico, who has become an internationally known opera singer since graduating from Baylor School in 2000.

There really is some great talent around Chattanooga.

I'm just waiting on a call for a female Elvis impersonator. Thankyaveramuch.

Get event details every Thursday in ChattanoogaNow or online anytime at www.ChattanoogaNow.com.

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281. Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or ldenton@timesfreepress.com.

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