von Essen, Harada, Davis & Bruno to Join Les Miserables
Four new principals will join the cast of Les Miserables, beginning Tuesday, April 24th at the Broadhurst Theatre (235 West 44th Street).
Assuming the role of Javert (replacing Norm Lewis) is Ben Davis. Taking over the role of Madame Thenardier (replacing Jenny Galloway) is Ann Harada. Stepping into the role of Eponine (replacing Celia Keenan-Bolger) is actress Mandy Bruno. And assuming the role of Enjolras (replacing Aaron Lazar) is Max von Essen.
Davis most recently appeared as Papageno in Kenneth Branagh's film version of Mozart's opera, The Magic Flute. His Broadway credits include Baz Luhrmann's La Bohéme (Marcello), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Trevor Graydon) and Les Misérables (Enjolras), a show he also toured with for four years. Some regional credits include La Bohéme (Marcello) at the Curran Theater; 110 in the Shade (File) at the Pasadena Playhouse; and Mame (Patrick Dennis) and Bernstein's Mass at the Hollywood Bowl. He has also appeared on television in "Numb3rs."
Harada originated the role of Christmas Eve in the Broadway and West End productions of Avenue Q. For the Broadway production, Harada received an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Ensemble and Artistry in Puppetry, among other awards. Her other Broadway credits include Seussical and M. Butterfly, as well as Broadway concert performances of Chess and Hair. Other NYC credits include: Falsettoland, The Moment When, and 1,2,3,4,5. Regional credits include Working, Golden Child, Scapin, and Das Barbecü (Portland Stage). Films include Happiness, Hudson River Blues, and Transamerica.
von Essen last appeared on Broadway as Jean Prouvaire in Les Misérables. His other Broadway credits include Dance of the Vampires and Jesus Christ Superstar, where he played an Apostle and also performed the role of Jesus regularly. Tours include Chicago (Mary Sunshine), West Side Story (Tony) and Liza Minnelli in Concert (featured singer and dancer). Off-Broadway credits include Desperate Measures, for which he received the 2006 NYMF Award for Excellence/Outstanding Individual Performance; Finian's Rainbow (Woody); John and Paul (Paul McCartney); and The Fantasticks (Matt). He has extensive regional credits. Television credits include "The Martha Stewart Show," "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," "The 2001 World Series," "The 2000 Tony Awards" and MTV's "The Grind."
Bruno comes to Les Misérables having just played the role of Marina Cooper on "Guiding Light," for which she received a 2006 Daytime Emmy Award nomination. A recent graduate of Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, her credits include the NYMF's The Man Who Would Be King, starring opposite "Guiding Light" co-star Paul Anthony Stewart; Vanity Fair; Kindertransport; Anne of Green Gables; Little Shop of Horrors; and I Ought to be in Pictures. Bruno has appeared in several commercials for RCN and the Partnership for a Drug Free America and has also been featured on recording projects with Spirit & Song Records.
The new production of Les Miserables opened November 9 as a six-month limited engagement. Due to popular demand, the show recently extended its run through at least Labor Day. The musical is the third longest-running show in Broadway history.
Les Miserables has been seen by over 54 million people in 38 countries and 21 languages since its first London performance in October 1985. The original Broadway production opened on March 12, 1987, at the Broadway Theatre, winning eight Tony Awards that season, including Best Musical. The show went on to play a total of 6,680 performances.
Photo of Max von Essen by Linda Lenzi