Hugh Panaro, Norm Lewis, Michael McCormick Among Principal Cast of St. Louis Muny Les Miserables
By Andrew Gans
The Muny has announced principal casting for the fifth show of its 95th season, Les Misérables, which will play the outdoor St. Louis venue July 15-21.
The production will be 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 will be headed by Broadway favorites Hugh Panaro and Norm Lewis, who will be making their Muny debuts as Jean Valjean and Javert, respectively, with Michael McCormick as Thénardier.
These artists will be 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 will be Tiffany Green as Madame Thénardier, Lily McDonald as Young Eponine, Lilly Kanterman as Young Cosette and Jimmy Coogan as Gavroche. They will be joined by an ensemble of 11 women and 14 men.
“Richard’s passion for this production has inspired all of us,” said executive producer Mike Isaacson in a statement. “He is creating a Les Miz that embraces its incredible legacy, but promises astonishing new moments of power. For anyone who loves musical theatre, Hugh and Norm in these roles, on this stage, is a bucket list moment.”
Director Jay-Alexander added, “Casting this production of Les Miz for The Muny was one of the most difficult things I ever had to do. I couldn’t believe the level of talent that came to St. Louis for these auditions. I spent time with everyone and did some coaching. It was both joyous and heartbreaking to make the decisions, but Mike Isaacson and Megan Larche [casting consultant] kept me very focused, and this will be one of the greatest companies ever assembled. Raising these glorious voices to Claude-Michel Schonberg’s score will be spine-tingling. I’m thrilled that both Hugh and Norm said ‘yes’ to leading this company, as I share a very rich history with both actors, and I told them that this will be the last time I do this show … anywhere!
“Going to visit The Muny and taking it all in was a little overwhelming, as it is the largest outdoor musical theatre in the country. But this made me even more excited. Having Kevin Stites as the musical director and conductor will be a thrill for everyone because he knows every note and nuance in that score, and loves the show as much as I do. Also, having associate director Marybeth Abel by my side will only add to the depth of knowledge this cast will receive, allowing them to be the best that they can be, in what I believe to be the greatest musical of all time. I plan to give this production everything I know and have to offer, and give the actors a truly fulfilling experience. I am also thrilled about the design of the show and the unique environment in which it will be presented. I’ve already told my colleagues to plan a summer road trip. I am very much looking forward to it.”
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 features scenic design by Robert Mark Morgan, sound design by Jason Krueger, lighting design by Nathan Scheuer, video design by Seth Jackson and costume design by Colleen Grady. Kevin Stites serves as the musical director, and the production stage manager is Michael T. Clarkston.
Single tickets will be available beginning June 1 at The Muny Box Office in Forest Park, online or by phone. For more information, call (314) 361-1900 or visit www.muny.org.
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