Ron LaRosa, the associate director of the touring and Broadway companies of Les Miserables since 1997, will leave producer Cameron Mackintosh to be a casting director for Walt Disney Entertainment in Florida in early March 1999.
In the industry, LaRosa, 35, had become a well-known casting director for Johnson-Liff Associates, casting Mackintosh's The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miz, a show in which he had earlier performed on tour.
During the time of the 1997 recasting and aggressive artistic "brush up" of the Broadway Les Miz, in time for its 10th anniversary in New York, LaRosa rose to the position of associate director, the person responsible for maintaining the vision of director-adapters John Caird and Trevor Nunn.
"I loved my time with Les Miz; the people at Cameron Mackintosh have been more than supportive," he told Playbill On-Line Jan. 14 by telephone from Melbourne, FL, where he had informed the road company of his plans Jan. 13. He told the Broadway company Jan. 12.
The Nebraska native said the career change was about "relocation" and that he looked forward to a different pace -- to say nothing of warm winters. For Walt Disney Entertainment in Florida, LaRosa will cast Actors' Equity Association performers, including dancers, primarily for theme park shows.
"Finding young, aspiring talent" has always been gratifying, he said, and working with more dancers will be "new and challenging."
It is not yet clear who will take over the position of maintaining the large-cast, detail-filled, three-hour Les Miserables, which celebrates its 12th year on Broadway March 12, 1999. LaRosa said a fresh perspective from someone new is healthy for an established company like Les Miz.
The Les Miz tour, meanwhile, is in its 11th year and shows no signs of stopping. New markets are still being found on the road, he said, and theatregoers that have already embraced the Victor Hugo-based show return in droves.
LaRosa began as an actor in the touring Les Miz ensemble in 1990 and traveled with the show for two years. In 1993 he joined Johnson-Liff, where, in addition to casting Les Miz, he assisted in the casting of Miss Saigon, Big, Sunset Boulevard and Carousel, among others.
-- By Kenneth Jones