Critics call Kenn Rapcznski's portrayal of Jean Valjean "stunning".
"Les Miserables" audiences at Manatee Players stand and applaud at the end of the performance each night.
Rapcznski plays the man seeking redemption and a second chance with understanding and emotion. That's because he's been there himself. He graduated from Ruthers Unversity, where he studied acting, and then won a scholarship to the Asolo. He moved to Sarasota where his family lived. His mother had been a circus performer with Ringling. Rapcznski took his career to New York, and was able to make a living as an actor, but addictions took over his life. The guilt and shame that followed kept him from singing. This role in Les Mis is the first time he's sang a note in 13 years.
He is working in his daily life thru AA to regain the very things Valjean seeks in the play, forgiveness, and redemption. And he says he is turning to the same Higher Power that Valjean seeks to give him the strength he needs to start over in his life and his career. He says, just as Valjean does, he is trying to make amends for wrongs he has committed, and he restart his career.