I had a fun weekend, and am looking forward to another in a few days. My son (senior) and daughter (frosh) are both in the cast of the local high school's production of Les Miserables. (He's Enjolras; she's in the chorus.)
I'm simply amazed at the complexity and depth of this production. Sure, they don't give Broadway-level performances, but there are no bad deliveries from top to bottom.
The music itself is quite complex. The number of tempo, meter and key changes is daunting. The orchestra is 100% students with three keyboards, drums, bass, guitar, four violins, two flutes, two clarinets, alto sax, two horns, trumpet, two coronets and a trombone. Or something like that.
One thing is clear: playing brass at piano level is tough. The biggest giveaway that they aren't pros is their lack on intonation during quiet passages. And it's almost all played quietly to allow the actors to be heard. Strings are the next most difficult to play in tune. A bigger section would really help smooth things out. The rest of the players were spot on with no clunkers, good intonation and tight timing. They have a great overall sound, and deliver some really lovely moments.
They've got everything else nailed too. Sets and stagecraft, lighting, sound, costumes, fast changes. The whole deal. It's been an amazing experience for my kids. (Whoever says that kids should just stick to the three Rs, should be forced to read, write and do arithmetic all day.) This training of how to work with others to attain great things will last them a lifetime.
Anyway, keep tabs of your local high school and college productions. There are some real gems out there.