Salonga Exits Les Miz, Making Way for Judy Kuhn

News   Salonga Exits Les Miz, Making Way for Judy Kuhn Lea Salonga "dreams a dream" one last time Oct. 21, when she plays her final performance as Fantine in Broadway's new production of Les Miserables.
Lea Salonga ends her run in the revival of Les Mis
Lea Salonga ends her run in the revival of Les Mis Photo by Joan Marcus

The Tony Award-winning actress who starred in Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's Miss Saigon is leaving at the end of her contract, and will pass the torch to three-time Tony Award nominee Judy Kuhn, Broadway's original Cosette. Kuhn will slip into Fantine's woes Oct. 23.

Also joining the Les Miz revival at the Broadhurst Theatre on Tuesday Oct. 23: New Cosette Leah Horowitz and U.K. actor John Owen-Jones as Jean Valjean. Broadway's recent Jean Valjean, Drew Sarich, is swapping jobs with Owen-Jones and is taking over the lead in the London production.

After her 1991 Best Actress Tony Award win for Miss Saigon, Salonga was a replacement actress in the role of Eponine in the first Broadway production of Les Miz. She also starred in a 2002 revision of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Flower Drum Song, and is heard on its cast album.

Salonga's run in the current Les Miz staging began March 2, a few days earlier than the planned March 6.

* "I am thrilled to be returning to Les Misérables after all these years," Kuhn stated. "The original production was such an exciting and momentous part of the beginning of my career and now to go back to play the mother of the character I played originally, especially now that I am a mother myself will be great fun."

Judy Kuhn was nominated for three Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards for her work on Broadway in the American premieres of Les Miz and Chess and in The Roundabout's hit revival of She Loves Me. She also starred in Rags, and appeared on Broadway in Richard Nelson's play Two Shakespearean Actors (Lincoln Center Theatre), Alan Menken & Tim Rice's King David and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (NYSF).

Most recently she appeared in a new adaptation of Chekhov's Three Sisters by Craig Lucas at the Intiman Theatre directed by Bartlett Sher, and co-starred in the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's The Highest Yellow at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. She played Fosca in the critically acclaimed production of Passion at the Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration, and created the role of Betty Schaefer in the U.S. premiere of Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

In London's West End she starred in Metropolis, for which she received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination.

She sang the title role in Disney's "Pocahontas" as well as the in the sequel "Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World."

She can be heard on numerous original cast recordings as well as her solo album "Just In Time: Judy Kuhn Sings Jule Styne." Her new CD "Serious Playground: The Songs of Laura Nyro" — celebrating the work of the pioneering singer/songwriter of the 1960s and 70s — will be released by Ghostlight Records on Oct. 2.

The current Broadway revival production of Les Miz opened at the Broadhurst on Nov. 9, 2006. It currently features Ivan Rutherford as Valjean, Robert Hunt as Javert, Gary Beach as Thenardier, Ann Harada as Madame Thenardier, Megan McGinnis as Eponine, Adam Jacobs as Marius, Ali Ewoldt as Cosette and Max von Essen as Enjolras.

The original production of Les Miz remains the third longest-running show in Broadway history.

For tickets and information, call Telecharge.Com at (212) 239-6200, or visit www.telecharge.com or www.lesmisnewyork.com.

Lea Salonga in the Broadway revival production of <i>Les Mis</i>
Lea Salonga in the Broadway revival production of Les Mis Photo by Joan Marcus
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