MERRILLVILLE | Ross Summer Music Theatre recently taught audiences that to “love another person is to see the face of God” during the summer show, Les Miserables.
The show also celebrated the 50th anniversary of RSMT and opening night fell on the 62nd wedding anniversary of founders Mr. Jerauld Reinhart and Mrs. Margilee Reinhart.
“Their relationship has been so inspiring to me,” Junior Cassidy Koontz said. “They created this whole program because they love each other.”
RSMT was started in 1964 by Jerauld and Margilee as a way for children to get involved with theatre and the community.
“It is an activity that youth have the opportunity to be a part of,” RSMT alum Mrs. Melinda Reinhart said. “It is a community cultural thing.”
The theatre group has also provided students a way to work with adults rather than just peers on a project.
“They see how these adults juggle jobs, their children, and personal commitments and are still able to do the show,” Melinda said. “It teaches professionalism.”
Les Miserables attracted 30 of Melinda’s choir students, and 20 MHS choir alumni to participate. However, the chance of being in the summer show is not limited to only Merrillville children, but to any that would like to join.
“In the early years there would be hundreds of kids that would participate from all over,” Melinda said.
RSMT has also provided more than just summer shows to participants.
“They have been a big extension of my family,” Senior William Akins said. “I’ve become well-rounded in acting, tech, stage make-up and all over the place in the theatre because of the Reinharts.”
Les Miserables is a favorite of the Reinhart family, and provided the participating thespians with memories.
“When the chorus took their curtain call on opening night, the audience was already on their feet,” Melinda said.
“I loved getting to see and meet the alumni,” Akins said. “None of them believed I was in high school.”
The summer shows also allow Melinda to see the growth in her choir students.
“A summer favorite is always getting to listen to my kids sing,” Melinda said. “Remembering from the first time they sing and how timid they are, to them currently singing is always so different.”