Special Performance of Toronto's Les Misérables, With Original Star Colm Wilkinson, Held Jan. 11 in Toronto

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11 Jan 2014

Colm Wilkinson
Colm Wilkinson
Photo by Margaret Malandruccolo

Colm Wilkinson, the Tony Award-nominated original star of Les Misérables, joins Ramin Karimloo and the Toronto company of that musical for a special charity performance Jan. 11 at The Princess of Wales Theatre. 

Wilkinson, who originated the role of Jean Valjean, plays the Bishop, a role he also played in the Oscar-winning film adaptation. As the Bishop, according to press notes, "he will pass the torch, or the silver candlesticks that his character passes on to Jean Valjean, to Ramin Karimloo, the young Canadian star who has won unanimous raves for his portrayal of Valjean – a role he will reprise in the upcoming new Broadway production." 

The 7:30 PM sold-out performance benefits five charities, including Casey House, Covenant House, Ernestine's, The Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa and Theatre 20.

The 25th-anniversary production, which began its Toronto engagement at the Princess of Wales Theatre Sept. 27, is playing an extended engagement through Feb. 2. 

Mirvish Productions presents Cameron Mackintosh's revised production of the musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg. For tickets, call (416) 872-1212 or (800) 461-3333 or visit Mirvish.com.



The 25th anniversary production is slated to hit Broadway March 1, with an official opening set for March 23 at the Imperial Theatre.

The production is 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.

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 with Lisa Horner as Madame Thenardier. Mark Uhre, who has appeared at the Shaw Festival, is Enjolras.

View footage of the cast in rehearsals here. Karimloo performs "Bring Him Home."

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. 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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Ramin Karimloo
Photo by Matthew Murphy