Toronto's New Les Miz Will Star Ramin Karimloo, Genevieve Leclerc, Samantha Hill, Lisa Horner, Cliff Saunders
By Kenneth Jones
Ramin Karimloo, star of London's The Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies, will play Jean Valjean in the new Canadian-cast company of the 25th-anniversary edition of Les Misérables, to begin in October at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.
Mirvish Productions announced partial casting for Cameron Mackintosh's revised production of the musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg on Feb. 13.
The booking had been reported earlier in Toronto media, but the presenters made it official only this week. Specific dates will be announced; it's thought that the engagement will last to spring 2014.
The production is part of the 2013-14 Mirvish Subscription Season. In March 1989, David & Ed Mirvish presented the Canadian premiere of the musical based on Victor Hugo's novel. This new version of the 1985 smash has fresh orchestrations, scenes and design elements.
Karimloo, a native of Richmond Hill, ON, has played Valjean in London's West End. Genevieve Leclerc, of Quebec, will star as Fantine, a role she is currently playing in the U.S. tour of Les Miz.
Winnipeg actress Samantha Hill — currently a Christine Alternate in Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera, who takes over as the Principal Christine starting the week of March 4 — will play Cosette this fall.
"Canadian Idol" Season 3 winner, Juno nominee and Broadway and Stratford star of Jesus Christ Superstar, Melissa O'Neil, will play Eponine.
Toronto's Cliff Saunders, known for his roles in Beauty and the Beast, The Lord of the Rings and Broadway's The 39 Steps, will play Monsieur Thenardier.
Starring in the current Toronto production of The Wizard of Oz, Lisa Horner will play Madame Thenardier.
Mark Uhre, who has appeared at the Shaw Festival, will play Enjolras.
The U.S./North American national tour continues at the moment. Canadian dates on that tour were recently announced for Vancouver, BC (Queen Elizabeth Theatre, June 12-23); Calgary, AB (Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, June 25-July 7); Edmonton, AB (Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, July 9-14); Regina, SK (Conexus Arts Centre, July 16-21); Winnipeg, MB (Centennial Concert Hall, July 23-28).
This reconception of the smash 1985 London hit musical (the Broadway run began in 1987) has music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, book by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer. Original producer Mackintosh again produces (he is a co-producer of the current Oscar-nominated film version, too), and he has said he hopes to bring this revised version to Broadway, perhaps in 2014.
The 25th-anniversary production's directors are James Powell & Laurence Connor, who borrow visual elements from the paintings of Victor Hugo (on whose epic novel the show is based) and infuse a more naturalistic, conversational singing style in this version. (The beloved score remains.) The musical supervisor is David Caddick.
For more about the confirmed shows in the Mirvish Productions season in Toronto, including the current The Wizard of Oz, visit Mirvish.com.
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