Theatrenow went to London's Palace Theatre to meet Jody Crosier, one of the stars of Les Misérables (Marius). He will leave the cast on July 27, but took some time to look back on this long-running hit:
Are you sad to be leaving Les Miz? "It's always a bit sad at the end of a run, but I've just bought a new house, and I'm looking forward to spending some time working on it, and enjoying it, before I decide what I'd like to do next."
Much of your career seems dedicated to musical theatre. "I've been in a lot of musicals — Miss Saigon, Martin Guerre, Oklahoma!, The Pirates of Penzance — and I love musicals, but I can also 'do' straight plays and would like the chance to do some more of those, or television work, for a change."
How easy is it to make the transition from one area to another? "It's less easy than you might think! People seem to have a slight prejudice against musical theatre. If you're in it, especially for any length of time, there seems to be a feeling that you sing rather than act, whereas a show like Les Misérables is, like all musicals, as dependant on the acting as the singing if it's going to last."
It also seems to need a regular cast change? "A year's contract is, generally, about enough. You need to keep the show fresh, and a year or so of playing eight shows a week may be exhilarating, but it's also very tiring." A big, long-running show like Les Misérables must attract a lot of regular fans. Do you get to know them at all? "Yes, you get to recognize the regulars. Not least because we always do a warm-up onstage at 6:30 PM, which they know about, so they'll be there at the stage door to see you arrive, and after a while you get to know who they are.
"Everyone has their own fan or groups of fans, and there can be a slight sense of envy if you don't have as many as the other main characters! But there's a very nice sense of community about the show."
Presumably, after all this time, each new cast doesn't get the full Trevor Nunn/John Caird treatment? "No, we have a resident director who trains up the new cast, and they rehearse with us for some weeks before actually taking over, so we have the cast that takes over from us on 29th July with us at warm ups and so on for the last few weeks.
"When you get a cast change, the important thing is to have a sense of continuity, to faithfully re-create the show as it was originally intended, and which has made it such a success. There's a real sense of following in the footsteps of some very talented people over the last 16 years, and that's quite a responsibility.
"It's also quite a wrench to leave, and a very odd feeling seeing someone else preparing to take over from you. You want to say, 'No! This is my role!' but of course you can't, you have to let it go — like a lot of other people have done before you."
Jody Crosier plays Marius in Les Misérables at the Palace Theatre until July 27.