Playbill Poll: Who Should Play Jean Valjean in 2014 Broadway Revival of Les Miz? Readers Respond

By Playbill Staff
July 14, 2013

With the creative team of the 2014 re-imagined revival of the Tony Award-winning musical Les Misérables in the midst of auditions, we wondered: Who should play the iconic role of Jean Valjean in the upcoming 25th-anniversary Broadway revival at the Imperial Theatre?



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Playbill.com polled our readers via Facebook and Twitter asking who should take on the role of Jean Valjean, the musical's protagonist who was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread — forever branded as prisoner number 24601?

Here are some reader responses followed by our own commentary:

@codykgriffin: @raminkarimloo as Valjean because he is insanely talented and perfect! And it would be a dream to see him in the role or any role.
Jacob Holland: I would LOVE to see Ramin Karimloo make his Broadway debut in the role of Jean Valjean. He has already played the role in London.
Drew Koon: Ramin Karimloo! With his fantastic voice he deserves to be on Broadway!!

London star Ramin Karimloo, who has yet to make his Broadway debut, has had a long connection with Les Miz. The actor performed the role of Marius as well as the role of Enjolras in the 25th anniversary of Les Miz at the 02 in London. In September 2013 Karimloo will reprise his performance of Jean Valjean, a role that he also played in Les Miz, in a Canadian tour of the newly staged production. It's about time the actor, also known for his performance in the title role in The Phantom of the Opera, makes his Broadway debut.

Alfie Boe
Photo by Alastair Muir
@oceangoinglisa: Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean
BroadwayBabyy97: Alfie Boe, of course! He blew us all away with his incredible voice for the 25th anniversary.

Alfie Boe, a Tony Award recipient for his work in La Bohème, was a popular choice for the role of Jean Valjean among our readers. Boe, the opera, stage and recording star, played the moral center of the musical in the televised 25th anniversary concert of the show at London's 02 Arena in 2010, and joined the cast of the West End production in spring 2011. Nick Allott, managing director of Cameron Mackintosh, previously told Playbill.com, "We've always said to [Alfie], 'If we ever take the show back to Broadway, we'd love you to think about doing it.' And he's always said, 'Yes, let's talk about it.'"

Josh Groban
@HeathKatherine: Josh Groban

Singer, songwriter and actor Josh Groban is known for his pristine voice and musical covers of theatrical classics. If Groban auditions for the revival of Les Miz, he could make his Broadway debut in 2014. In the video below, Groban talks about the musical and the possibility of playing a character in Les Miz:

Norm Lewis
@megan_masson: @normlewis777

Norm Lewis, who was nominated for a Tony Award for his moving performance as Porgy in the 2012 Broadway revival of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, starred as Javert in the 2006 revival of Les Miz, reprising the role in the West End and again in the current production at the St. Louis Muny. This time, he could take on the role of Jean Valjean for Broadway.

Hugh Panaro
Photo by Brett Thomas
Lindley Key: I would love for Hugh Panaro to play Valjean in the 2014 revival! He has one of the best male voices I've ever heard, and I can only imagine his acting would be equally amazing after seeing the amount of love and dedication he has showed towards the role of the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera. He is currently playing the role in the Muny's production of Les Mis, opposite Norm Lewis's Javert. I hope this opens the door for him to bring his Valjean to Broadway!

Hugh Panaro, who was seen in the original production of Les Misérables as Marius, will also star in the upcoming Muny production of Les Miz. After his run with The Muny, he could transfer to the re-imagined Broadway production in 2014.

Brian d'Arcy James
@rracheljean: Brian d'Arcy James! He would be incredible. There is no one I'd love to see in this role more than him!
Ana Galang: I can't believe I'm going to be the first person the suggest Brian d'Arcy James, yet here I am. And Raúl Esparza for Javert. How have neither of these been mentioned?

Two-time Tony Award nominee Brian d'Arcy James, who received nods for his work in Shrek the Musical and Sweet Smell of Success, has also been seen on Broadway in Next to Normal, Time Stands Still, The Apple Tree, Titanic, Carousel and many more. The versatile actor would be well suited for the iconic role of Jean Valjean in the upcoming Broadway revival.

Raśl Esparza
Photo by Matthew Karas
@Ladybirdplane: I think Raúl Esparza has the strength and the vulnerability to play Jean Valjean.
Juan Carlos Garza Segovia: Raul Esparza

Four-time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza was last seen on Broadway in the short-lived musical Leap of Faith. The actor, who recently appeared in City Center Encores! The Cradle Will Rock, is another ideal choice for the role of Jean Valjean, having received acclaim for his roles in the Broadway productions of Taboo, Company, The Homecoming and Speed-the-Plow.

Robert Cuccioli
@chokingafilms: @RobertCuccioli because he's the best!
Barbara Ritacco: Robert Cuccioli.

Robert Cuccioli, best known for his Tony-nominated performance in the dual title roles in Broadway's Jekyll & Hyde, currently appears in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The actor, who has also been seen on Broadway as Javert in the original production of Les Miz, would be an ideal choice for the role of Jean Valjean if and when he concludes his stint as the evil Green Goblin in Spider-Man.

Adam Pascal
Photo by Chris Cassidy
@cazcaric: I think Adam Pascal could really kill that role honestly. He's matured a ton and there's a unique clarity to his voice — kindness
Charlene Beckwith: Adam Pascal (:

Adam Pascal, who was Tony-nominated for his performance as rocker Roger Davis in the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent, has also led the casts of Aida, Memphis, Cabaret and Chicago. Pascal would be an exciting and different choice for the role of Valjean in Les Misérables.

Matthew Morrison
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
@la_beer: I think Matt Morrison cud really do the part justice!

Matthew Morrison, who was Tony-nominated for his performance in The Light in the Piazza, hasn't been seen on a Broadway stage since his stint in the 2008 revival of South Pacific. The actor, who rose to fame on the hit Fox musical series "Glee," has talked about his love for the theatre and coming back to the stage. The 2014 revival of Les Miz would be the perfect opportunity!

Will Chase
Blake Sherman: Will Chase — I think he would great and his voice would fit nicely with the part.

Will Chase, who was Tony-nominated for his performance in the Roundabout revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was also the star of another Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg musical — Miss Saigon. The actor, who will star in the upcoming Off-Broadway production of Little Miss Sunshine, has appeared in a variety of Broadway leading roles and would sound wonderful on the Tony-winning Les Miz score by Schonberg, Boublil and lyricist Herbert Kretzmer.

Peter Lockyer
Photo by Deen van Meer
Christopher D. Strawhun: What about Peter Lockyer from the current U.S. Tour?

Peter Lockyer, a long-ago young Marius in the original Broadway and touring productions of Les Misérables, has graduated to the role of heroic patriarch Jean Valjean in the 25th anniversary revised edition Les Miz. The actor, who has also been seen on Broadway in Miss Saigon, Cyrano – The Musical, La Bohème, South Pacific and The Phantom of the Opera, would be a great transfer to the Broadway production.

John Owen Jones
Katherine Odom: John Owen Jones.
Sadie Equality McCurry: JOHN. OWEN. JONES. He is perfect. PERFECT

In 1998, John Owen-Jones became the youngest person to play the role of Jean Valjean full time when he took over in the London production at the age of 26. Owen-Jones also appeared in the tenth anniversary concert at Royal Albert Hall in 1995, the 25th anniversary international touring production and the 2006 Broadway revival. If Owen-Jones auditions for the upcoming revival, we're sure that he'd be well prepared.

Hugh Jackman
Photo by Universal Pictures
Rick Piland: Hugh Jackman, great expression in his strong voice and face. Great stage presence!
@noelsterSF: @RealHughJackman because, duh.....

Tony Award winner Hugh Jackman starred as Valjean in the star-studded, Oscar-nominated movie adaptation and received his first Academy Award nomination for his performance. We wouldn't be opposed to the Broadway favorite reprising his performance on stage in the 2014 revival.

Colm Wilkinson
Photo by Michael Le Poer Trench
Sue Ellen Farrell: Colm Wilkinson… Bring Him Home!

Colm Wilkinson originated the role of Jean Valjean on Broadway in Les Miz and received a Tony nomination for his epic performance. We'd love to see him as Jean Valjean yet again!