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BWW Special Feature: The Final Three Stars Of LES MISERABLES 2014 Answer Our Questions!

Last month, BroadwayWorld announced the official casting of the major roles in Cameron Mackintosh's highly anticipated Broadway revival of Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil's mega-musical Les Miserables - Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean, Will Swenson as Javert, Caissie Levy as Fantine and Nikki M. James as Eponine, with a follow-up this month revealing Andy Mientus as Marius and Charlotte Maltby as Cosette - and, now, just as the first six did for us, so do the final three new stars of the show - Cliff Saunders as Thenardier, Keala Settle as Madame Thenardier and Kyle Scatliffe as Enjolras - recount some of their fondest memories of attending the show as observers, reflect on the prescient themes of Victor Hugo's timeless novel and reveal what specifically drives their passion for the powerful material, as well as look ahead to the new production of the international stage sensation arriving back on Broadway in 2014.

For more information on the 2014 Broadway production of Les Miserables, check out BroadwayWorld's casting announcement coverage, available here, here and here.

Also, visit the official site for Les Miserables on Broadway here.

Masters Of The House

BWW Special Feature: The Final Three Stars Of LES MISERABLES 2014 Answer Our Questions!Cliff Saunders (Thenardier)

Tell us about the first time that you saw LES MISERABLES and what that experience, or the show means to you?

The first time I saw LES MISERABLES was never. I came aboard in the Toronto production, Fall of 2013, knowing nothing about the show, so I had some catching up to do, as everybody else was quite familiar with it, and, might I add, quite patient with me. So I suppose the closest I came to seeing it was when we did our first stumble-through midway through the rehearsal process. Mind you, I couldn't really see the scenes I was in because I was too busy panicking, but I did watch the other scenes from the sidelines and was quite moved by the depth and scope of the piece.

What moment in Victor Hugo's story means the most to you personally? Furthermore, what moment in the musical is the most powerful of all to you? Why?

The moment in Victor Hugo's story that means the most to me personally would be when Valjean makes the decision to lead a clean life, departing from his criminal ways. I grew up somewhat impoverished and could quite easily have taken the dishonest thieving path that Thenardier (my character in the play) had taken, but fought against that and chose other outlets to distract me away from it. The moment in the musical that is most powerful to me is when Eponine is dying in Marius's arms, because, even though she knows he loves another, she at least gets to spend her last breaths with the only thing she has ever loved in her hard harsh life. Well that moment and the obvious moment when Ramin sings "Bring Him Home". WOW!!!

What message does LES MISERABLES have for a 2014 audience that perhaps is even more resounding than it was when the musical premiered thirty years ago? What theme or idea of the novel and musical is most pertinent to today, do you think?

The message that LES MISERABLES has for the 2014 audience is, whatever you do, DON'T STEAL BREAD!!! You'll spend a lifetime making up for it. This message is even more resounding now than when LES MISERABLES first premiered around thirty years ago because... have you seen the price of bread these days? Now there's a crime. I suppose the theme that is most pertinent today would probably be the divide between the people and the higher-up types that are running things. The people speaking out for change. Occupy Wall Street comes to mind. Here in Toronto we also have the Rob Ford Saga (a slightly different kind of protest).

Is there anything else that you'd like to share about why doing this new production of LES MIS is special/meaningful to you?

One of the reasons doing this show on Broadway is meaningful to me is, when I did "The 39 Steps" on Broadway, I had such a glorious time that it made me want to come back and do another show sometime. I feel very fortunate that I've been given the opportunity to be in another great show playing another fantastic part.

BWW Special Feature: The Final Three Stars Of LES MISERABLES 2014 Answer Our Questions!Keala Settle (Madame Thenardier)

Tell us about the first time that you saw LES MISERABLES and what that experience, or the show means to you?

Moment of honesty, I've never seen a staged production of LES MISERABLES. It's one of the reasons I'm so excited about diving into this material - I love the story and the music but have no preconceived notions of what it's going to be like to live in this world.

What moment in Victor Hugo's story means the most to you personally? Furthermore, what moment in the musical is the most powerful of all to you? Why?

I'll be seeing the show for the first time from stage! Ask me that again a few months from now; I'm sure I'll have many moments!

What message does LES MISERABLES have for a 2014 audience that perhaps is even more resounding than it was when the musical premiered thirty years ago? What theme or idea of the novel and musical is most pertinent to today, do you think?

There are so many themes from LES MIS that survive the times - hope, friendship, love, war, trust, the fulfillment of promises - I don't think any of these things are exclusive to one place or time, which is the beauty of this particular show.

Is there anything else that you'd like to share about why doing this new production of LES MIS is special/meaningful to you?

To be part of such an iconic piece of musical theater history is a dream come true. This isn't the first production of LES MIS and probably won't be the last; I'm just extremely humbled and excited to be part of its legacy.

BWW Special Feature: The Final Three Stars Of LES MISERABLES 2014 Answer Our Questions!Kyle Scatliffe (Enjolras)

Tell us about the first time that you saw LES MISERABLES and what that experience, or the show means to you?

The first time I saw the show was in 2007 on Broadway. It was a birthday gift from a friend. She knew it was my favorite musical and that I had never seen it. So she bought me tickets! I was so excited! The experience was everything I had hoped for it to be. We had seats right at the front of the mezzanine. The moment the music started I was in a different world. Those first two notes always hit me really hard. Everything was spectacular. From the set to the costumes, to the rotating barricade. The amazing thing was that the story never gets lost in all of the spectacle. The plot never gets overshadowed by how big the show is. I think that is something that has always made this a special show. The show has always meant so much to me because of the duality of right and wrong. Especially the relationship between Javert and Valjean. Is right and wrong as simple as cop and criminal? That grey area is always fun to experience and explore.

What moment in Victor Hugo's story means the most to you personally? Furthermore, what moment in the musical is the most powerful of all to you? Why?

The most powerful part in the story and musical for me are the same part. I also think it is one of the most difficult songs in theatre. Javert's Suicide. I think that moment is so poignant. When I try to imagine all of the anger, confusion, and exhaustion he is feeling in that moment it's overwhelming. Imagine walking through your life thinking that everything you are doing is in the name of God and justice, then hitting a crossroad where you don't think you might have been in the right. That's years and years of pride, honor, sanity, and happiness collapsing all at once. It fascinating!

What message does LES MISERABLES have for a 2014 audience that perhaps is even more resounding than it was when the musical premiered thirty years ago? What theme or idea of the novel and musical is most pertinent to today, do you think?

The theme that is the most relatable in our time period to me is the duality of right and wrong. We live in a country that is the land of the free. With that comes the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech. We are in a crossroads in our politics that brings a lot of religion into the political platform. It's the same thing in the show. Both Valjean and Javert believe what they are doing is in the name of God, but who is right and who is wrong? I think in our time we also have more teenagers and early adults that are more politically aware than in the past 20 years. The laws are slowly changing to the ideals of the younger generation. So the students in the ABC Cafe make me think of that. Young people who are starving for a change and will stop at nothing to do so.

Is there anything else that you'd like to share about why doing this new production of LES MIS is special/meaningful to you?

This production will be my first show on Broadway! To perform in your first show on Broadway and also have it be your favorite musical is a dream come true. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Here's to this sensational array of talent aligned for the new revival of Les Miserables! Be sure to stay tuned to BroadwayWorld for continuing updates on the casting and production as we head into 2014!

After all, next year, for Les Miserables it is "another day, another destiny," and another chance at "a world that is new, that is free," as well - especially with these spectacular new "masters of the house" coming to Broadway!

BWW Special Feature: The Final Three Stars Of LES MISERABLES 2014 Answer Our Questions!

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Pat Cerasaro Pat Cerasaro is BroadwayWorld's Chief Interviewer and Senior Editor, contributing exclusive columns including InDepth InterViews, Sound Off, Flash Fridays as well as additional special features and extensive news coverage. His work for the site has appeared in The New York Times, US Weekly, The Biography Channel, NBC and more.