From Dastardly to Demure, Resolute to Revolutionary, BWW Profiles LES MISERABLES' Standout Roles
LES MISERABLES hasn't been seen on Broadway since its 2006 revival, but its hold on pop culture has been so strong, it almost feels like the musical never left the Great White Way.
It's as if there has been a continuous production running, beginning with 1987's original cast, starring Colm Wilkinson, Terrence Mann and Randy Graff, and forging ahead toward Cameron Mackintosh's 25th Anniversary tour, which paved the way (along with Tom Hooper's 2012 movie version) for this year's return.
So, in honor of Les Miserables' opening tonight, BroadwayWorld brings you the actors who've taken on the many complex and vocally challenging roles of Victor Hugo's world, from the unscrupulous Thenardiers to innocent Cosette, or principled Javert against the compassionate and strong-willed Jean Valjean. From Fantine and Eponine, unfortunate in life and romance, to Enjolras and Marius, the fiery young leaders of the French Revolution.
Scroll down, and be sure to let us know your favorites!
About the character: After being released from imprisonment for serving nineteen years (five for stealing a loaf of bread and fourteen for multiple escape attempts), he decides to break his parole and turns his life around, proving that the corrupt can make themselves virtuous and selfless once more.
His standout moment: "Bring Him Home"
Other replacements: Gary Morris (1987); Timothy Shew (1988); William Solo (1989); Mark McKerracher (1992); Donn Cook (1993, 1994, 1995); David "Dudu" Fisher (1993); Frederick C. Inkley (1995, 1998); Philip Hernandez (1995); Rob Evan (1996, 1997); Ivan Rutherford (1996, 1997, 2001); Robert Marien (1997, 1998); Timothy Shew (1999); Randal Keith (2003); Drew Sarich (2007); John Owen-Jones (2007).
About the character: Javert respects the law above all else and relentlessly pursues Valjean, hoping to bring the escaped convict to justice. He firmly believes that humans cannot change for the better.
His standout moment: "Stars"
Other replacements: Anthony Crivello (1987); Norman Large (1988); Herndon Lackey (1989); Peter Samuel (1990); Robert Westenberg (1990); Robert DuSold (1991); Richard Kinsey (1992); Chuck Wagner (1993); Merwin Foard (1995); David Masenheimer (1995, 2002); Christopher Innvar (1997); Robert Gallagher (1998); Philip Hernandez (1998); Gregg Edelman (1999); Philip Hernandez (2001, 2002); Joe Mahowald (2002); Michael McCarthy (2003); Ben Davis (2007).
About the character: A poor worker who loses her job and, as a result, turns to prostitution in order to continue paying the Thénardiers to care for her illegitimate daughter, Cosette.
Her standout moment: "I Dreamed a Dream"
Other replacements: Maureen Moore (1988); Susan Dawn Carson (1989); Laurie Beechman (1990); Christy Baron (1990, 1994); Susan Dawn Carson (1992); Rachel York (1992); Donna Kane (1993); Susan Gilmour (1994); Debbie Shapiro Gravitte (1994); Catherine Hickland (1995); Paige O'Hara (1995); Jacquelyn Piro (1995, 2001); Melba Moore (1996); Susie McMonagle (1996); Florence Lacey (1996); Lisa Capps (1997); Juliet Lambert (1997); Lisa Capps (1998); Juliet Lambert (1998); Susan Gilmour (1999); Jane Bodle (1999); Lauren Kennedy (2002); Jayne Paterson (2003); Lea Salonga (2007); Judy Kuhn (2007).
About the character: Daughter of the Thénardiers, Eponine, who grows up to be ragged and a waif, secretly loves Marius.
Her standout moment: "On My Own"
Other replacements: Kelli James (1987); Natalie Toro (1988, 1990); Jennifer Naimo (1989); Michele Maika (1992); Brandy Brown (1992); Debbie Gibson (1992); Tia Riebling (1993); Sarah Uriarte(-Berry) (1993, 1997, 1998); Kelli Rabke (1995); Jessica-Snow Wilson (1995); Shanice (1995); Christeena Michelle Riggs (1996); Dawn Younker (1997); Megan Lawrence (1998, 1999); Rona Figueroa (1999); Jessica Boevers (2000); Catherine Brunell (2001); Dana Meller (2001); Diana Kaarina (2002); Mandy Bruno (2007).
About the character: Marius, a student revolutionary, is friends with Éponine, but falls in love with Cosette, and she with him.
His standout moment: "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables"
Other replacements: Ray Walker (1988); Matthew Porretta (1991); John Leone (1992); Eric Kunze (1992); Michael Sutherland Lynch (1993); Craig Rubano (1993); Tom Donoghue (1995, 1996); Rich Affannato (1997); Peter Lockyer (1997, 2002); Stephen Brian Patterson (2002); Kevin Kern (2002).
About the character: Cosette is in the care of the Thénardiers who are paid by Fantine to take care of her child. She grows into a beautiful young woman of culture and privilege under Valjean's adoptive and loving fatherly care and protection.
Her standout moment: "A Heart Full of Love"
Other replacements: Melissa Anne Davis (1992); Jennifer Lee Andrews (1993, 1995); Jodie Langel (1995); Tamra Hayden (1995); Kate Fisher (1997); Christeena Michelle Riggs (1997); Tobi Foster (1998); Sandra Turley (2001, 2002); Stephanie Waters (2002).
About the character: Enjolras is the leader of the student revolutionaries and a friend of Marius.
His standout moment: "Red and Black"
Other replacements: Joseph Kolinski (1988, 1990); Joe Locarro (1990); Joe Mahowald (1992); Lawrence Anderson (1992); Ron Bohmer (1994); Gary Mauer (1996, 1999); Robert Aaron Tesoro (1996); Brian Herriott (1997); Paul Avedesian (199)7; Stephen R. Buntrock (1997); Stephen R. Buntrock (1999); Christopher Mark Peterson (1999, 2002, 2003); David Gagnon (2002).
About the character: A second-rate thief, Thénardier runs a small inn.
His standout moment: "Master of the House"
About the character: Thénardier's unscrupulous wife.
Her standout moment: "Master of the House"
Other replacements: Diana Rogers (1994); Gina Ferrall (1994); Tregoney Shepherd (1996); Ann Arvia (1996); Jean Fitzgibbons (1997); Fuschia Walker (1997); Betsy Joslyn (2000); Kathy Santen (2002); Aymee Garcia (2002).