Toronto Production of Les Misérables, Starring Ramin Karimloo, Ends Feb. 2
By Michael Gioia
The Toronto premiere of the 25th-anniversary edition of Les Misérables, starring Ramin Karimloo (London's The Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies) as Jean Valjean — who will assume that role in the upcoming 2014 Broadway revival of Les Miz — plays its final performance Feb. 2 at the Princess of Wales Theatre.
Mirvish Productions presents Cameron Mackintosh's revised production of the musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg. The production began its Toronto engagement Sept. 27, 2013.
The production was part of the 2013-14 Mirvish Subscription Season. In March 1989, David and 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. Rehearsals began Aug. 19.
Karimloo, a native of Richmond Hill, ON, has played Valjean in London's West End. Genevieve Leclerc, of Quebec, is Fantine, a role she recently played in the U.S. tour of Les Miz.
Winnipeg actress Samantha Hill (Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera) is Cosette. "Canadian Idol" Season 3 winner, Juno nominee and Broadway and Stratford star of Jesus Christ Superstar, Melissa O'Neil, plays 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, plays Monsieur Thenardier (and will reprise his performance on Broadway) with Lisa Horner as Madame Thenardier. Mark Uhre, who has appeared at the Shaw Festival, is Enjolras.
The company also features West End actor Earl Carpenter as Javert, a role he has played in productions around the world; Perry Sherman (Next to Normal and Spring Awakening touring productions) as Marius; Ella Ballentine, Saara Chaudry and Madison Oldroyd, who share the roles of Little Cosette and Young Eponine; and David Gregory Black and Aiden Glenn, who share the role of Gavroche.
The ensemble includes Richard Leon Barth, Katie Beetham, Andreane Bouladier, Caroline Colantonio, Ben Gunderson, Brittney Johnson, Elena Juatco, Andrew Love, Cornelia Luna, Heather McGuigan, Marisa McIntyre, Matt McMahan, Tyler Murree, Jason Ostrowski, Kristen Peace, John Rapson, Rachel Rincione, Matt Rosell, David Silvestri, Alan Shaw, Aaron Walpole, Jonathan Winsby, Ashley Wright and Chris Zonneville.
The U.S./North American national tour concluded Aug. 11. The 25th anniversary production is slated to hit Broadway March 1 with an official opening set for March 23 at the Imperial Theatre.
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 Schönberg, lyrics by Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer. Original producer Mackintosh again produces (he was a co-producer of the Oscar-nominated film version, too).
The 25th-anniversary production's directors are James Powell and 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 Stephen Brooker.
For more about the shows in the Mirvish Productions season in Toronto, visit Mirvish.com.
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