A four-week extension to Feb. 22 was announced shortly after its Dec. 14, 2008, opening at the 280-seat MAX space at Signature's home. The show got good reviews, and on Feb. 9 the 13 Hayes nominations were revealed (including Outstanding Resident Musical and Outstanding Director of a Resident Musical for Eric Schaeffer).
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Previews for the intimate new production of Les Misérables, began Dec. 2, 2008, under artistic director Schaeffer. By special permission from producer Cameron Mackintosh, Signature Theatre "is producing a brand-new version of Les Miz by creating an environmental staging that combines the epic scale of 28 actors, 138 costumes, a Broadway-sized 14-piece orchestra, and a five-ton steel set with the intimacy of a 280-seat theatre," according to the not-for-profit Equity company that made its reputation with re-examinations of musicals.
Les Miz, the hit musical by Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer, known for its teeming populace and massive streetscape "barricade" set. It was originally announced to play only to Jan. 25, 2009. Joining Schaeffer on the creative team are choreographer Karma Camp, musical director Jon Kalbfleisch, set designer Walt Spangler, costumer designer Kathleen Geldard, lighting designer Mark Lanks and sound designer Matt Rowe. Orchestrations are by John Cameron.
The cast includes Greg Stone, from the national touring companies of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, as the fugitive Jean Valjean; Andrew Call, of Broadway's Glory Days, as Marius; Tom Zemon, of the Broadway productions of Les Miz and The Scarlet Pimpernel, as pursuer Javert; Stephanie Waters as Cosette (she also performed the role on Broadway); Signature Theatre favorite and two-time Helen Hayes nominee Tracy Lynn Olivera as Fantine; Christopher Bloch (Signature's Urinetown) as Thenardier; Helen Hayes Award winner Sherri L. Edelen as Madame Thenardier; Felicia Curry as Eponine; and Chris Sizemore as Enjolras.
The troupe also includes Kurt Boehm as Fauchelevant/Claquesous, Matt Conner as Montparnasse, James Gardiner (the librettist of Glory Days) as Babet, Adam Ethan Grabau as Bamatbois/Grantaire, Michael Grew as Courfeyrac, Thomas Hunter Hedgpeth as Jean Prouvaire, Sam Ludwig as Feuilly, Aaron Reeder as Bishop of Digne/Lesgles, Thomas Adrian Simpson as Combeferre/Foreman, Stephen Gregory Smith as Joly, Russell Sunday as Brujon/Army Officer, and ensemble members Eleasha Gamble, Channez McQuay, Amy McWilliams, Hannah Willman, Weslie Woodley, plus Rachel Boyd as Young Cosette, AJ Breivik as Gavroche, Anna Nowalk as Young Cosette, Jordi Parry as Gavroche, Elizabeth Rader as Young Eponine and Avery Watkins as Young Eponine.
According to Signature, "One of the most popular musicals of all time, Boublil and Schönberg's Les Misérables is a passionate saga of love and betrayal set during the upheaval of post revolutionary France. At its center, fugitive Jean Valjean is pitted against the tenacious Inspector Javert in a lifelong struggle to evade capture. This deeply personal drama of a man seeking redemption is played out against a sweeping historical backdrop of unparalleled scale, where the worlds of student revolutionaries, thieves and criminals, and desperate young lovers collide."
Based on Victor Hugo's classic 1862 novel, Les Miz is full of power ballads and pop anthems, including "I Dreamed a Dream," "On My Own," and "One Day More."
Music is by Schönberg, lyrics are by Herbert Kretzmer, original French text is by Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, additional material is by James Fenton.