PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: The Les Miz Tour's "Javert," Andrew Varela

By Matthew Blank
October 2, 2012

Musical theatre veteran Andrew Varela, currently touring the United States as Inspector Javert in the 25th anniversary production of Les Misérables, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.



Varela has been with the tour since its 2010 launch at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse. The singing actor previously played the role of Jean Valjean over 300 times in the Broadway and original touring productions of the musical. He has also appeared on Broadway in King David, Little Women and Sunday in the Park with George.

Other major credits include national tours of The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Evita and Little Women, as well as Paper Mill Playhouse stagings of Oklahoma! (Jud Fry) and Pirates! (The Pirate King).





Full given name: Andrew Martin Varela
Where you were born/where you were raised: Born in Los Angeles and grew up in Taiwan and the Philippines.
Zodiac Sign:Gemini
What your parents did/do for a living:Banking
Current audition song/monologue: "Over the Wall" from Kiss of the Spider Woman
Special skills: Horseback riding, guns (getting ready for the zombie apocalypse)
Something you're REALLY bad at: The self-checkout at the supermarket
First Broadway show you ever saw: Phantom
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? The original cast of Evita
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: "Pretty Women." I sing it as a lullaby for my son.
Some favorite musicals: Anything Sondheim
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: George C Scott. "God help me, I do love it so."
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead: Luciano Pavarotti, Chris Cornell and Joe Williams
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: The first time I saw Les Miserables, at the Broadway Theatre, I was blown away and wanted to be a part of that show!
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Songs about parents and children. (Still haven't made it thru "Cats in the Cradle")
MAC or PC? MAC convert. Never going back.
Most played song on your iPod: Cee Lo Green's "Forget U" (but not that one...)
Most-visited websites: Ted.com (mind-blowing)
Favorite Tweeters: - Judd Apatow
- Jim Norton
- A guy with whom my wife and I huddled in an Iowa bar to escape a tornado.

(Follow me @AndrewVarela525)
Last book you read: "The Sparrow" by Mary Doria Russell
Must-see TV show(s): "30 Rock"
"Mad Men"
"The Walking Dead"

Still missing "Battlestar Galactica"

Last good movie you saw: "Bridesmaids"
Some films you consider classics: "40 Year Old Virgin"
"True Romance"
"Fight Club"
"300"
"Big Lebowski"
"Kung Fu Panda"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Eddie Izzard
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Any magazine featuring Beach Body Disasters
Favorite cities: Bloomfield, KY; San Francisco; Paris
Favorite sport/team/player: Derek Jeter lives across the street from our friends in Tampa and throws great parties. Is that an answer?
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: Men at Work
Favorite non-theatre musicians/bands/groups: So many! Puddle of Mudd; James Morrison; Kings of Leon; Segovia; Soundgarden; Eastern Conference Champions; Sufjan Stevens; Staind; Adele; Lupe Fiasco; Eminem, Buena Vista Social Club (while cooking).
When you first realized you could sing: When, as a boy in Catholic school, everyone in the pew in front of me would turn around to see who was singing.
First stage kiss: West Side Story. I was Bernardo, and Anita surprise-frenched me.
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Pippin at Summit High School. I felt like THE MAN!
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: When I played the lead in a 4th grade production of Hubbub on the Bookshelf.
How you got your Equity card: Frida, 1992
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: A great steak house, a bottle of red, and my wife.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Knob Creek, easy ice.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: A grande Starbucks redeye, and singing "RUTGERS!" like an idiot.
Most vocally challenging role you have ever played: Jean Valjean. It's the hardest role any man will sing in music theatre.
Favorite Les Miz "side character": Bamatabois. He's a sociopath that wears pink lipgloss. How awesome is that?
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: MISHAP: I kissed Sutton Foster in the Broadway production of Little Women and she is VERY allergic to cats. I must have been holding my cat earlier in the day... because Sutton got hives from kissing me!

After that, I always washed my face and beard before that scene. Twice.

Worst costume ever: Any costume that takes more time to put on than the time I actually wear it onstage.
Worst job you ever had: I was 22 and had a director whose first note to me was, "Andrew, what I'm getting from you is prepared bullshit."

I wonder what line of work he's in now...
Who would play you in the movie? Javier Bardem
Leading man role you've been dying to play: SWEENEY!
Leading lady role you wish you could play: Effie in Dreamgirls (cuz I am telling you...)
Something about you that surprises people: I helped deliver a calf. Before a matinee.
Something you are incredibly proud of: Soy Cubano!
Something you're embarrassed to admit: I'm terrified of zombies. See above.
Career you would want if not a performer: Naval Officer
Three things you can't live without: Thai food, single barrel bourbon, my iPhone.
"I'll never understand why…" … actors argue with directors during notes. Just take the damn note!
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Just take the damn note!!