Durand, who was also seen in The Burnt Part Boys, London's Umbrellas of Cherbourgh and the Powerhouse staging of The Nightingale, succeeds original cast member Seth Numrich.
Also joining the War Horse ranks are David Manis (as Arthur Narracott), Stephen James Anthony (as Billy Narracott), Andy Murray (as Ted Narracott), David Lansbury (as Hauptmann Müller), Harlan Bengel, Toby Billowitz, Lute Breuer, Hunter Canning, Anthony Cochrane, Ben Horner, Leah Hofmann, Tessa Klein, Nat McIntyre, Geoffrey Murphy, Andy Murray, Tommy Schrider, Jack Spann and Katrina Yaukey.
The cast of War Horse also includes Stephen James Anthony, Alyssa Bresnahan, Richard Crawford, Sanjit de Silva, Joel Reuben Ganz, Ben Graney, Alex Hoeffler, Brian Lee Huynh, Jeslyn Kelly, Tom Lee, Jonathan Christopher MacMillan, Jonathan David Martin, David Pegram, Kate Pfaffl, Jude Sandy, Hannah Sloat, Zach Villa, Elliot Villar, Enrico D. Wey, Isaac Woofter and Madeleine Rose Yen.
War Horse began Broadway previews March 15, 2011, and earned five 2011 Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Direction. It is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris. Nick Stafford (The Battle Royal, The Snow Queen) adapted Michael Morpurgo's 1982 children's novel for the stage.
War Horse features a series of life-sized equestrian puppets, which have the capability of strikingly lifelike movement. Each evocative creature (created by Handspring Puppet Company) is manipulated by an on-stage crew of three puppeteers who give life to a horse named Joey, as he grows from a skittish foal into a full-grown horse.
Here's how LCT bills the work: "At the outbreak of World War I, Joey, young Albert's beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. Joey is soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man's land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a mission to find his horse and bring him home."
The production features designs by Rae Smith and original puppet design and construction by Adrian Kohler, lighting by Paule Constable, and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick. The puppetry directors are Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler; video designers are Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer; and songs are by John Tams. The production has music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt.
War Horse began performances in October 2007 at the National's Olivier Theatre where it continued in repertory for a sold-out run through March 2009. The production transferred to the West End's New London Theatre March 28, 2009. Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of the novel debuted in December.