Les Miserables will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Broadway March 12 with a gala performance of the musical that will also mark its reopening after a complete restaging with a largely new cast.
The unusual step is part of the transformation of Les Miz ordered by directors Trevor Nunn and John Caird in October 1996. The old Broadway cast played its final performance at the Imperial Theatre Sunday, Jan. 26. The third national touring company of the show played for five weeks at the Imperial while Nunn and Caird rehearsed the largely new cast. The new cast began previews March 6, and will open to critics at 6:45 PM March 12.
Playbill On-Line members give their theories about why the show has lasted so long in Playbill Poll: What Accounts for "Les Miz's" Longevity? in Theatre News.
Here is the cast for the special 10th anniversary performance of Les Miserables:
In the lead role of Jean Valjean, bread thief and outcast, Robert Marien, the original Jean Valjean in Paris, will make his Broadway debut. Brought in from the London production, the Canadian-born composer, Marien, also appeared in the show's Montreal company (in French and English). Well-reviewed in the NY Times, Christopher Innvar will continue in his previous Broadway role of obsessive Inspector Javert. He played the title role in Playwrights Horizon's Floyd Collins and was featured in the original Victor/Victoria company.
Playing the hard-luck young mother, Fantine, will be Juliet Lambert, who appeared in Passion and Meet Me In St. Louis on Broadway, as well as national tours of Kiss Of The Spider Woman and The Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Comically craven innkeeper Thenardier will be played by Nick Wyman, the original Monsieur Firmin in Phantom Of The Opera. His other Broadway credits include On The 20th Century and My Fair Lady. Thenardier's equally horrid wife will be Fuschia Walker -- the show-stopping Effie in the Broadway and national tour of Dreamgirls. Walker was also in Once On This Island.
Back in 1994, Sarah Uriarte played Les Miz's love-struck Eponine. Since then, she's starred as Belle in Beauty And The Beast and Julie in the Carousel national tour, but now Uriarte will return once again as the girl who gives her life for love.
The current Eponine, Christeena Michelle Riggs, will trade roles and now play Cosette, Fantine's daughter.
Peter Lockyer moves up from the Les Miz ensemble to play Marius, the student. Lockyer played Yonkers opposite Bette Midler in the recent television staging of Gypsy, and he was Chris in the Miss Saigon national tour.
Finally, another Broadway debut: Stephen R. Buntrock as Enjolras, the leader of the student revolutionaries. Buntrock was in the national tour of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
As part of the March 12 gala, 300 pairs of tickets were given away to people who answered a trivia quiz about the show. The producers said contest was their way of thanking "devoted fans" who have kept the show running all this time.
The idea of using the anniversary to thank fans is similar to some proposed by Playbill On-Line members in a poll conducted in August. To read the poll, check Theatre News.
For more information on the recently resolved back-story of Les Miz vs. Actors' Equity, please see Playbill On-Line's story, "Union and Producer Reach Settlement in Les Miz Dispute."
Here are the members of the original Broadway Les Miz cast, which opened March 1987:
Colm Wilkinson as Valjean, Terrence Mann as Javert, Randy Graff as Fantine, Judy Kuhn as Cosette, Frances Rufelle as Eponine, Leo Burmester as Thenardier, Jennifer Butt as Mme. Thenardier, Michael Maguire as Enjolras, and David Bryant as Marius. Rufelle and Maguire won Tonys.
Here are other actors who played major roles in Les Miz over the years:
Valjean: Craig Schulman, David "Dudu" Fisher, Gary Morris, Ivan Rutherford.
Javert: Anthony Crivello, Herndon Lackey, Robert Westenberg, Robert Cuccioli.
Eponine: Debbie Gibson, Lea Salonga, Natalie Toro, Tia Reibling, Kelli Rabke, Shanice, Jessica Snow-Wilson.
Cosette: Jennifer Lee Andrews, Tamra Hayden.
Tickets for regular performances of Les Miserables can be ordered by calling (212) 239-6200. You can also buy tickets on Playbill On-Line.