Ramin Karimloo, Will Swenson, Caissie Levy and Nikki M. James Will Star in Broadway Return of Les MisÚrables
By Michael Gioia
Producer Cameron Mackintosh announced Oct. 22 that West End star Ramin Karimloo, Tony Award nominee Will Swenson, West End and Broadway actress Caissie Levy and Tony Award winner Nikki M. James will head the cast of the 2014 Broadway return of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's Tony Award-winning musical Les Misérables.
The production — which will begin performances March 1, 2014, at the Imperial Theatre, the show's home on Broadway for nearly 13 years and 5,244 performances — casts Karimloo (current Toronto star of Les Misérables; The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies) as Jean Valjean, Swenson (Hair, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Little Miss Sunshine) as Javert, Levy (Ghost, Hair, Murder Ballad) as Fantine and James (The Book of Mormon; Fetch Clay, Make Man) as Eponine.
"The success of Les Misérables across America and around the world has been beyond my dreams, so I am thrilled to bring the show back to Broadway 27 years after the original production with some of the finest contemporary talents in the American theatre today," said Mackintosh in a statement. "Ramin Karimloo first played Jean Valjean for me in London over a year ago and earlier this month opened in the same role to tremendous acclaim in his home city Toronto. As Javert, he is matched by the magnetic Will Swenson who was such a sensation as Berger in Hair alongside our Fantine, the charismatic Caissie Levy. And Tony Award-winning Nikki James will undoubtedly break hearts as Eponine fresh from her triumph in The Book of Mormon. The rest of the company is shaping up to be just as exciting and I can’t wait for rehearsals to begin."
Opening night is set for March 23. Additional casting will be announced in the coming weeks, and tickets are currently on sale.
The 25th-anniversary, re-imagined production of Les Misérables, featuring fresh scenic and narrative elements and new orchestrations, is currently playing Toronto with Karimloo as Jean Valjean.
The new production is directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, designed by Matt Kinley (inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo) with costumes by original designer Andreane Neofitou and additional costumes by Christine Rowland, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter and projections by Fifty-Nine Productions. The new version inspired filmmakers to create the recent award-winning film of the same name.
The original New York production of Les Misérables premiered at the Broadway Theatre March 12, 1987, and later moved to the Imperial Oct. 17, 1990, where it played until May 18, 2003, for a total Broadway run of 6,680 performances.
This will mark the third time Les Miz plays Broadway. Its first revival (staged by the original creative team, including Trevor Nunn and John Caird) was presented in 2006.
The Tony-winning score includes such classics as "I Dreamed a Dream," "On My Own," "Stars," "Bring Him Home," "Do You Hear the People Sing?," "One Day More," "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," "Master Of The House" and more.
Les Miz, written by Boublil and Schönberg, is based on the 19th-century novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, original adaption by Trevor Nunn and John Caird and additional material by James Fenton.
The original Les Miz orchestrations are by John Cameron with new orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke and additional orchestrations by Stephen Metcalfe and Stephen Brooker.
The original London production is still running and is in its 28th year. The musical premiered at the Barbican Theatre in a co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1985. It transferred to the Palace Theatre in December of that year and then moved to its current home at the Queen's Theatre in April 2004 where it is still playing. Les Miz is the fourth longest-running Broadway production of all time.
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