Beyond the Barricades: Les MisÚrables' Eponine

By Playbill Staff
March 11, 2014

The Tony Award-winning, international hit musical Les Misérables by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg will officially open on Broadway in a newly envisioned revival March 23 at the Imperial Theatre.



In celebration of the new production, starring West End actor Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean, Andy Mientus as Marius, Samantha Hill as Cosette, Tony Award nominee Will Swenson as Javert, West End and Broadway actress Caissie Levy as Fantine, Tony Award winner Nikki M. James as Eponine, Kyle Scatliffe as Enjolras, Canadian actor Cliff Saunders as Thenardier and Tony Award nominee Keala Settle as Madame Thenardier, Playbill.com is looking back at a selection of Les Miz leading players who came before.

This week we look at Les Misérables' Eponine.

Click through for a tour of actresses who previously stood behind the barricades.

Michael Ball and Frances Ruffelle
Photo by Michael Le Poer Trench
Frances Ruffelle originated the role of the street urchin Eponine in the 1985 London production and reprised her performance in the original Broadway company. The actress, who took home the 1987 Tony, Theatre World, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk awards for her performance, also made appearances in the 25th anniversary concert of Les Misérables at the O2 Arena and the star-studded film adaptation. Ruffelle's many stage appearances include Dinah in Trevor Nunn's Starlight Express, Yonah in the original West End production of Children of Eden, Roxie Hart in Chicago and, most recently, the title role in Piaf.

Lea Salonga
Lea Salonga, a Tony Award winner for her performance in Miss Saigon, was a replacement for the role of Eponine in the original Broadway production of Les Miz. She reprised her performance in the 10th anniversary concert at London's Royal Albert Hall and in the London production of the musical. In 2010 she played Fantine during the 25th anniversary concert of Les Misérables. She also became the first Asian actress to play the roles of Eponine and Fantine in Les Misérables on Broadway. Salonga has also been seen on Broadway in Flower Drum Song.

Celia Keenan-Bolger
Two-time Tony Award nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger originated the role of Eponine in the 2006 Broadway revival of Les Misérables. The actress, who received Tony nods for her performances in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Peter and the Starcatcher, was last seen on Broadway in the acclaimed revival of The Glass Menagerie.

Samantha Barks
Universal Pictures
Stage and screen actress Samantha Barks, who brought Eponine to life on the big screen in the film adaptation of Les Miz, played the role in the London production in 2010 and again in the show's 25th anniversary London concert at the O2 Arena. Barks appeared in the Hollywood Bowl production of Chicago and has also been seen on the West End stage in Oliver! and Cabaret.

Shanice
Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Shanice was the first black performer to star in the role of Eponine in the musical Les Misérables. The singer made her Broadway debut in the musical and is known for her hit singles "I Love Your Smile," "Silent Prayer," "Saving Forever for You" and "When I Close My Eyes."

Kerry Butler
Kerry Butler, a Tony Award nominee for her performance in Xanadu, was a replacement in the original Broadway production of Les Miz. The actress originated roles in Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can and The Best Man and was also on Broadway in Rock of Ages, Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast and Blood Brothers.

Deborah Gibson
Deborah Gibson was a replacement in the original Broadway production of Les Miz and has also been seen on Broadway in Cabaret and Beauty and the Beast.

Sarah Uriarte Berry
Sarah Uriarte Berry, a Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominee for The Light in the Piazza, was a replacement in the original Broadway production of Les Misérables. She has also been seen on Broadway in Beauty and the Beast, Taboo, Next to Normal and End of the Rainbow.

Lea Michele
"Glee" actress Lea Michele, who made her Broadway debut in 1995 as a replacement in the role of Young Cosette in Les Misérables, portrayed Eponine in the Hollywood Bowl's Les Misérables in August 2008. The actress, who originated the role of Wendla Bergmann in the Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening, plays Rachel Berry on "Glee" and recently released a solo album entitled "Louder."

Sutton Foster
Sutton Foster, who understudied the role of Eponine in the original Broadway production of Les Miz, also embodied the belting street urchin on tour with the hit musical. Foster is a two-time Tony Award winner for Thoroughly Modern Millie and Anything Goes. She received Tony nominations for Little Women, The Drowsy Chaperone, Shrek the Musical and will return to Broadway in the upcoming production of Violet.

Danielle Hope
Danielle Hope, the winner of the BBC talent contest "Over The Rainbow" — earning the role of Dorothy in the Andrew Lloyd Webber production of The Wizard of Oz — went on to play Eponine in Les Misérables in the West End in June 2012.

PHOTO ARCHIVE: "Come With Me..." Les MisÚrables Over the Years

View the Entire Photo Gallery
John Dewar, Paul Harman, Frances Ruffelle, Colm Wilkinson, Randy Graff and (seated) David Bryant and Judy Kuhn in the original Broadway cast
Photo by Michael Le Poer Trench