Breaking: LES MISERABLES Announces First Wave of 2014 Broadway Cast - Ramin Karimloo, Will Swenson, Nikki M. James & Caissie Levy
It's the news that everyone's been waiting for! Cameron Mackintosh announced today the first four cast members of his acclaimed new production of Alain Boublil & Claude-Michel Schönberg's Tony Award-winning musical masterpiece Les Miserables, which returns to Broadway beginning Saturday, March 1 at the Imperial Theatre. Joining the cast of the new LES MIS are Ramin Karimloo (West End and current acclaimed Toronto star of Les Miserables, and The Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies in London) as Jean Valjean; Will Swenson (Tony Award-nominated star of Broadway's Hair and Priscilla Queen of the Desert) as Javert; Caissie Levy (West End and Broadway star of Ghost and Hair and Elphaba in Broadway's Wicked) as Fantine and Nikki M. James (Tony Award winner for The Book of Mormon) as Eponine. The official opening night for Les Miserables is Sunday, March 23.
Additional casting, including the roles of Marius, Cosette, Enjolras and the Thenardiers, will be announced in the coming weeks.
Said Cameron Mackintosh, "The success of Les Miserables across America and around the world has been beyond my dreams, so I am thrilled to bring the show back to Broadway 27 years after the original production with some of the finest contemporary talents in the American theatre today. Ramin Karimloo first played Jean Valjean for me in London over a year ago and earlier this month opened in the same role to tremendous acclaim in his home city Toronto. As Javert, he is matched by the magnetic Will Swenson who was such a sensation as Berger inHair alongside our Fantine, the charismatic Caissie Levy. And Tony Award-winning Nikki James will undoubtedly break hearts as Eponine fresh from her triumph in The Book of Mormon. The rest of the company is shaping up to be just as exciting and I can't wait for rehearsals to begin."
This newly re-imagined Les Miserables is still breaking box-office records and receiving rave reviews across North America, grossing more than $160 million. It is currently being performed at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, starring a Canadian, Ramin Karimloo, as Jean Valjean. International productions of the new Les Miserables have been met with equal success and acclaim in the U.K, France, Spain, Japan and Korea and will open in Spain and Australia. This new version of Les Miserables, which premiered in the U.K. in 2009, inspired filmmakers to make last year's immensely successful Oscar/Golden Globe/BAFTA winning movie.
Based on Victor Hugo's classic novel, Les Miserables is an epic and uplifting story about the survival of the human spirit. The magnificent score includes the classic songs "I Dreamed a Dream," "On My Own," "Stars," "Bring Him Home," "Do You Hear the People Sing?," "One Day More," "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," "Master Of The House" and many more.
Cameron Mackintosh's production of Les Miserables is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, original adaption by Trevor Nunn and John Caird and additional material by James Fenton. The original Les Miserables orchestrations are by John Cameron with new orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke and additional orchestrations by Stephen Metcalfe and Stephen Brooker.
The new production is directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, designed by Matt Kinley inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo with costumes by Andreane Neofitou and Christine Rowland, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter and projections by Fifty-Nine Productions.
The original production of Les Miserables can now only be seen in London where it's currently in its 29threcord-breaking year. Les Miserables originally premiered at the Barbican Theatre in a co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company in October 1985. It transferred to the Palace Theatre in December of that year and then moved to its current home at the Queen's Theatre in April 2004 where it is still playing to standing room only. In October 2006 Les Miserables took over the title of World's Longest Running Musical followed by two other Cameron Mackintosh productions, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera and Cats.
The original New York production of Les Miserables premiered first at the Broadway Theatre on March 12, 1987, later moving to the Imperial on October 17, 1990, where it played until May 18, 2003, for a total Broadway run of 6680 performances.
There have been four U.S. national touring companies of Les Miserables that have played more than 200 cities. Broadway audiences welcomed Les Miserables back to New York on November 9, 2006 where the show played the Broadhurst Theatre until its final performance on January 6, 2008. Les Miserables is the 4th longest-running Broadway production of all time.
Seen by nearly 65 million people worldwide in 42 countries and in 22 languages, Les Miserables is undisputedly one of the world's most popular musicals ever written, with new productions continually opening around the globe, with seven more currently scheduled. The worldwide gross for Les Miserables is $2.5 billion. There have been 47 cast recordings of Les Miserables, including the multi-platinum London cast recording, the Grammy Award-winning Broadway cast and complete symphonic albums and live recording of the New 25th Anniversary Production and now the motion picture soundtrack which has sold close to 1.5 million copies and has topped the Billboard and iTunes charts. The DVD's of the 10th Anniversary at the Royal Albert Hall and the 25th Anniversary at The O2 have sold millions of copies worldwide.
There are over 2,500 productions of the Les Miserables School's Edition scheduled or being performed by over 125,000 school children in the UK, US and Australia, making it the most successful musical ever produced in schools. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the legendary musical Les Miserables made theatrical history with an international first - three different productions in London at the same time. The Original Production at the Queen's Theatre, the acclaimed New 25th Anniversary Production at the Barbican (where the show originally premiered) and a celebratory concert at The O2 Arena. The O2 Concert was presented in over 500 cinemas throughout the United States on November 17, 2010 and is now available on Blu-ray DVD through Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
The 2012 Universal film version of Les Miserables co-produced by Cameron Mackintosh and Working Title Films, and directed by Tom Hooper, is one of the most successful musical films ever. The film received the Golden Globe Award as Best Picture (Musical/Comedy) and received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won three Academy Awards. The film's soundtrack debuted at #1 on Billboard's Album chart and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
Ramin Karimloo (Jean Valjean) is currently starring to great acclaim as Valjean in the Toronto production of Les Miserables, a role he also played in London's West End, where he also received the Theatregoers' Choice Award for his performance. In London, he also performed as the Phantom in the West End production of The Phantom of the Opera, as well as the show's 25th Anniversary production at the Royal Albert Hall. He was personally selected by Andrew Lloyd Webber to play the Phantom in the London world premiere of the show's sequel, Love Never Dies, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award as Best Actor in a Musical. His association with Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera also includes having played Enjolras and Raoul, respectively, in the West End productions of each show. He was also honoured to have performed the role of Enjolras in the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert at the 02 Arena in London. He also performed in the U.K national tours of Miss Saigon and Sunset Boulevard. He has toured extensively performing his own special genre of music, Broadgrass. His solo album Human Heart is available from Sony Records. Ramin is Iranian-born and was raised in Canada.
Will Swenson (Javert) is currently starring in the new musical Little Miss Sunshine at Second Stage Theatre and was most recently was seen in the Manhattan Theatre Club hit Murder Ballad. Broadway/West End: Hair (Drama Desk, Tony nominations). Broadway: Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (Drama League Nomination), 110 in the Shade, Lestat, and Brooklyn: the Musical. Off -Broadway: Rock of Ages, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Adrift in Macao, The Slugbearers of Kayrol Island, and Camelot with the New York Philharmonic. Tours: Miss Saigon, We Will Rock You and Fame! Film and Television: Gods Behaving Badly, The Switch, and the upcoming This is Where I Leave You, "The Good Wife," "Law & Order," "6 Degrees." Will is also a filmmaker. His first film Sons of Provo about a clueless Mormon boy band, which he directed, co-wrote and starred in, won several film festivals.
Caissie Levy (Fantine) most recently starred as Sara in the off-Broadway production of Murder Ballad. Other credits include originating the role of Molly in the Broadway and West End productions of Ghost The Musical, Sheila in the Tony Award-winning Broadway and West End productions of Hair, Elphaba in the Los Angeles and Broadway productions of Wicked, Penny in the Broadway, 1st national tour and Toronto productions of Hairspray, and Maureen in the national tour of Rent. Selected recordings include the original London cast recording of Ghost The Musical, the Grammy nominated Broadway revival cast recording of Hair, and her debut EP, With You, featuring stripped down arrangements of songs from her Broadway shows, available on iTunes, CDBaby and at caissielevy.com
Nikki M. James (Eponine) originated the role of Nabalungi in the Tony Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon, for which she received the Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Other Broadway credits include All Shook Up and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Additional theater credits include Romeo and Juliet, Caesar and Cleopatra, opposite Christopher Plummer at Stratford Shakespeare Festival, The Wiz at La Jolla Playhouse, Bernarda Alba at Lincoln Center, House of Flowers at Encores! and Walmartopia. Nikki's theater workshops include Lizzie in Baby (Papermill/NJPAC) and Beehive on Broadway. She appeared at New York Theater Workshop in the limited engagement of Fetch Clay, Make Man. She recently performed a one woman cabaret show to a sold out audience at 54 Below. She recently wrapped filming the movie, Lucky Stiff co-starring Jason Alexander. Nikki will also appear in the film The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby starring James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain. Nikki has appeared in a variety of TV shows such as "30 Rock," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Third Watch" and "The Jury."