'Les Mis' works out Washington

Yeas and Nays,Politics,Nikki Schwab

On Tuesday, "Do You Hear the People Sing" was more like do you see the people sweat, as members of the traveling production of "Les Miserables" took over Vida Fitness on U Street to workout with some Washingtonians.

The workout consisted of reps of lunges, crunches, bicep curls and jumping jacks set to a mix of sometimes-remixed Broadway tunes. There were yoga stretches and relay races. And yes, there was spontaneous singing throughout the hour-long class.

Trinity Wheeler, a production stage manager for the musical, is a certified personal trainer and developed the regimen to make stage life a little easier. "You don't think of it because it's not a dance show, but the second act is basically a battle," Wheeler said of the musical. "And the barricade, I tell people, is like a giant jungle gym ... it's actually really physically demanding."

But it's not just the play itself that's tough. Alan Shaw, who plays Joly, has been on the road with the production for two years and finds it hard to stay healthy living out of hotel rooms and eating out at every meal. "Although, I've had a really healthy lifestyle in New York, I still was finding myself gaining weight," he said. "Because our schedule is pretty hectic."

Also while in D.C., the entire cast was treated to a Friday pre-screening of the new movie version of "Les Miserables." "I loved the movie -- being with the show for two years, it kind of reinvigorated my passion for the show," Shaw said, of the film out next Tuesday. "We saw it at 11:30 [a.m.] this past Friday and we had a show that night and you could just feel the energy and the passion on stage."

"Les Miserables" is playing at the National Theater until Dec. 30.

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