PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: "The Garden of the Young!" Behind the Scenes at the Muny's Les Miz With Rising Star Alex Prakken
By Matthew Blank
This month, St. Louis' Muny presented a new staging of Les Misérables. Alex Prakken (Marius) was one of five university students cast in principal roles and given the rare chance to share the stage with Broadway stars Hugh Panaro and Norm Lewis. He shares photos from his experience at the country's largest outdoor theatre.
The production was directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, who served as the associate director and executive producer of the original Broadway, touring and Canadian companies of Les Misérables.
The cast was headed by Broadway favorites Hugh Panaro and Norm Lewis, who were making their Muny debuts as Jean Valjean and Javert, respectively, with Michael McCormick as Thénardier.
These artists were joined by five up-and-coming university musical theatre students who were selected by Jay-Alexander from the more than 1,500 performers who auditioned: Charlotte Maltby (University of Michigan) as Fantine, Alex Prakken (University of Michigan) as Marius, Bobby Conte Thornton (University of Michigan) as Enjolras, Katie Travis (Central Michigan University) as Cosette and Lindsey Mader (University of Oklahoma) as Eponine.
Rounding out the cast were Tiffany Green as Madame Thénardier, Lily McDonald as Young Eponine, Lilly Kanterman as Young Cosette and Jimmy Coogan as Gavroche. They were joined by an ensemble of 11 women and 14 men.
Based on the 1862 novel by French poet and playwright Victor Hugo, Les Misérables features music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, original French lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, with an English-language libretto by Herbert Kretzmer. The book is by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Trevor Nunn and John Caird. The original Broadway production opened March 12, 1987, and ran until May 18, 2003. It closed after 6,680 performances. It is the fourth longest-running Broadway show in history and was the second longest at the time it closed. The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won eight, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. A revival is scheduled to open on Broadway next spring.
The Muny production featured scenic design by Robert Mark Morgan, sound design by Jason Krueger, lighting design by Nathan Scheuer, video design by Rob Denton and costume design by Colleen Grady. Kevin Stites serves as the musical director, and the production stage manager is Michael T. Clarkston.
For more information call (314) 361-1900 or visit muny.org.
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