Son's Broken Wrist Sidelines O'Donnell from Hollywood Bowl Les Miz; Ruth Williamson to Replace
Les Misérables in Concert makes its Hollywood Bowl debut in a unique production featuring an all-star cast; Melora Hardin as Fantine, Maddie Levy as Young Cosette Tom Lowe as Enjolras, Michele Maika as Cosette, Michael McCormick as Thénardier, J. Mark McVey as Valjean, Lea Michele as Éponine, Brian Stokes Mitchell as Javert, Sage Ryan as Gavroche and John Lloyd Young as Marius.
Rosie O'Donnell, who was to play the role of Madame Thenardier, has regretfully withdrawn from the performances in order to care for her eldest son, who broke his wrist. She will be replaced by veteran stage and TV actress Ruth Williamson.
Ruth Williamson's film credits include "Evan Almighty", "The Producers," "Legally Blonde
2," "Family Man," and "Malcolm X." Her television credits include
"American Body Shop," "Hannah Montana" and recurring roles in
"Enterprise," "Nip Tuck" and "The O.C." She has also been seen on
Broadway in La Cage aux Folles, The Music Man (Revival), Little Me,
Guys and Dolls, and Smile. Her off Broadway credits include DuBarry
Was A Lady, Swingtime Canteen and Preppies.
This concert adaptation of the eight-time Tony Award-winning musical features the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conducted by Kevin Stites. The production also features local high school students, adding a dash of home-grown talent.Richard Jay-Alexander, who served as Associate Director and Executive Producer of the original Broadway, touring and Canadian companies of Les Misérables, lends his prowess in a special staging, revealing this sweeping story of love, passion and redemption. During these one-of-a-kind productions, audiences are transported to post-Revolutionary France while basking in the balmy California sunset. Melora Hardin, perhaps best known as Jan Levinson on The Office, makes her musical stage debut in the role of Fantine. Maddie Levy, at eleven years, makes her Hollywood Bowl debut as Young Cosette. Formerly Éponine on Broadway, Michelle Maika now plays Cosette. British actor Tom Lowe, of '90s boy band fame and who previously played the role of Marius in London's West End, plays Enjolras. J. Mark McVey, who has played Valjean on Broadway and in London, graces the Hollywood Bowl stage reprising the role in this year's production. Lea Michele played young Cossette on Broadway and is now playing the role of Éponine. This is Michele's first role since starring as Wendla in the 2007 Tony-Award winner for Best Musical, Spring Awakening. Brian Stokes Mitchell, dubbed by The New York Times as Broadway's "last leading man," plays Javert. Mitchell appeared last year as Emile de Becque in Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific. Northern California native Sage Ryan already has an impressive acting resume for his eight years, including being chosen as a semifinalist on America's Got Talent. He will also be seen in Robert Zemeckis' film of A Christmas Carol later this year, as Tiny Tim. Thenardier is being played by Michael McCormick, who re-visits the role, after having done the National Tour of Les Misérables and most recently appeared on Broadway in Curtains. Ruth Williamson, whose Broadway credits include Guys and Dolls, Smile, Annie and Music Man, performs the role of Madame Thénardier. Rounding off the principal cast as Marius is John Lloyd Young, Tony Award-winner for Lead Actor (portraying Frankie Valli) in the original production of Jersey Boys.
Les Misérables in Concert is presented by arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International. RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER began his theatrical career in the original cast of the Broadway play, Zoot Suit, appearing thereafter in the original Broadway cast of Amadeus, which led to his being engaged as Associate Director of the National Touring Companies of that Tony Award-winning play. Jay-Alexander is probably best known for his association with Producer Cameron Mackintosh, having served as Executive Director of Mackintosh's American company for ten years, running its day-to-day operations in North America. Prior to that he had been the stage manager/dance captain of the Broadway revival of Oliver! and stage manager/assistant director of the Broadway production of Song & Dance. Richard served as Associate Director and Executive Producer of the original Broadway, touring and Canadian companies of Les Misérables, staging more than a dozen productions. For Mackintosh The Phantom of the Opera followed, and then Miss Saigon, for which Richard was Executive Producer for the original Broadway, touring and Canadian companies. He also served as Executive Producer and Associate Director for Broadway's Five Guys Named Moe and was Executive Producer of its Grammy-nominated original cast recording. Richard subsequently produced recordings for Bernadette Peters (Live From Carnegie Hall, Rodgers & Hammerstein, both Grammy-nominated), Johnny Mathis (On Broadway) and Mary Cleere Haran (Pennies From Heaven, The Memory of All That). With Jay Landers, he wrote the liner notes for Barbra Streisand's The Movie Album and for her DVD boxed set of The First Television Specials. Also, with Landers and Marco Marinangelli, wrote lyrics for several Walt Disney Records projects, including Lilo and Stitch: Island Favorites. He was appointed Executive Producer of Playbill Records by Philip Birsh and in such capacity, helped to launch the label's debut recording, Brian Stokes Mitchell, as well as the re-discovered Betty Buckley recordings titled (and recorded in) 1967 and Quintessence. Richard has directed concert productions for some of the world's greatest entertainers, including Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand.
KEVIN STITES was the Music Supervisor for Broadway's The Color Purple for which he also composed the incidental music. His recent credits include revivals of Les Miserables, The Threepenny Opera, Fiddler on the Roof, Nine (2003 Tony Award winner for Best Musical Revival) Oklahoma!, Titanic, and Leonard Bernstein's On the Town. Stites was also the Music Director of Andrew Lloyd Weber's Sunset Boulevard and Pamela's First Musical, a BC/EFA Benefit Concert. In his native Chicago he served as Music Director for the acclaimed Ovations Series at the Auditorium Theatre and directed sixty productions. Mr. Stites has received six Joseph Jefferson Awards for his work on Sweeney Todd, Chess, Pal Joey, Sunday in the Park With George, Baby and Windy City. Melora Hardin, best known as Jan Levinson from The Office, in which she portrays Steve Carell's rigid former corporate boss and love interest, recently wrapped up work the film Seventeen Again, opposite Zac Efron, which is slated for theatrical release in February 2009. Currently, she can be seen in the feature films, The Comebacks and 27 Dresses with Kathryn Heigl, both out on DVD. She is also filming in Nashville as the adult female lead role and love interest to Billy Ray Cyrus in the highly anticipated upcoming feature, Hannah Montana: The Movie. Her other feature film box office successes include Thank You for Smoking, The Hot Chick, Soul Man, Absolute Power opposite Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman, and the horror film Drive-Thru. She recently made her directorial debut with the independent feature entitled You, which she is shopping for distribution. Hardin currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband actor/writer, Gildart Jackson, and their two young daughters.
Maddie Levy has been singing and dancing since she was two years-old and performing on stage since she was five. Maddie has worked with local theater groups including Downey Civic Light Opera, La Habra Depot Theater and Orange County Children's Theatre. Some of her favorite roles have included Molly in Annie Warbucks, Gretl in The Sound of Music and Tinkerbell in Peter Pan. Maddie has also used her acting skills in television and film roles including appearing as Young Hannah in the soon-to-be-released independent film Bloom and as Illy in Revolver.From being a singer and songwriter of the chart topping UK band North and South to starring on London's West End stage in the role of Marius in Les Misérables and as The Rum Tum Tugger in Cats for more than a thousand performances, TOM LOWE is indeed a Renaissance man. He first set foot on American soil in 2001 to attend Harvard University and graduated with honors in East Asian Studies in 2005. He traveled through China, learning to speak fluent Mandarin, working as a hip-hop dance instructor in Beijing and as a travel journalist in the remote corners of China's Northwest region. While on the East Coast, Tom was invited to sing "The Star Spangled Banner" for The Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park-becoming the first non-American to do so.
Michele Maika is currently a marriage and family therapist registered intern practicing in Los Angeles. Her television roles include appearances in N.Y.P.D Blue, Friends, Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, King of Queens, Beverly Hills 90210, Touched by an Angel, Step by Step, The Pretender and It's Like You Know. She has starred in the films 3 Strikes, A Wake in Providence and Demolition University (in which Michele was typecast as a machine-gun toting terrorist). She is married to writer/director Alec Berg. Together they have a five-year-old daughter named India.Michael McCormick just completed the entire Broadway run as Oscar Shapira in Curtains. He starred in the recent Broadway revivals of 1776 and Kiss Me, Kate. Other Broadway credits include: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Pajama Game, Sam Mendes' revival of Gypsy, Marie Christine, Kiss of the Spiderwoman and La Bête. His Off-Broadway credits include A Man of No Importance, The Prince and the Pauper, An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Bouef, Mafia on Prozac, Scapin, Arturo Ui, In a Pig's Valise, The Regard of Flight, Charlotte Sweet, Tomfoolery and Coming Attractions. Mr. McCormicks national tours include The Producers and Les Misérables. McCormick's TV work includes the three Law and Order series, Cosby, PBS' My Favorite Broadway, and the staged concert of Candide. His film credits include Paul Schneider's Pretty Bird, Charles Busch's A Very Serious Person, The Producers, A Couch in New York and The Gutter Song. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, and lives in Connecticut with his actress wife Alison Bevan and son Dylan.
J. Mark McVey made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1997 and has performed with numerous symphonies across the world. He made his Broadway debut as Jean Valjean, in Les Misérables, after winning the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actor while in Washington, D.C. The first American to perform Valjean in London's West End, McVey spent seven years in the role, completing almost three thousand performances. Currently, Mr. McVey is working on a new production, A Tale of Two Cities based on the Dickens novel and bound for Broadway. Other Broadway successes include The Who's Tommy, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, Chess, Hey Love, A Helluva Town, The Show Goes On, Carousel, My Fair Lady, South Pacific, Seven Brides and Showboat.. McVey is happily married to Ms. Christy Tarr-McVey and is the proud father of 2 beautiful daughters, seven-year-old Grace Holly and four-year-old Kylie Elizabeth.LEA MICHELE, best known for playing Wendla in Broadway's Spring Awakening has also starred in Fiddler On The Roof, Ragtime and Les Misérables. Her Off-Broadway credits include Hot and Sweet and Spring Awakening. Regionally, she has performed in The Diary of Anne Frank at Round House Theater, and Ragtime at Toronto's Ford Center. She has participated in workshops featuring Nero, Samson and Delilah, Gypsy King, Spring Awakening and Wuthering Heights. Lea has also performed live concerts, including Alive in the World benefiting the Twin Tower Orphan Fund and can be seen in the upcoming film Holy Rollers. Her television appearances include The Big Ten, Third Watch and Guiding Light. She will perform solo at Upright Cabaret in an upcoming performance directed by Richard Jay-Alexander.
In the past few years BRIAN Stokes Mitchell's performances as a solo vocalist have been praised by critics nationwide with sold-out evenings at the Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Tanglewood, Ravinia and Symphony Hall. His musical versatility and thrilling voicean instrument The New York Times says "rumbles out of him like thunder underlined by drum rolls"has kept him in demand by some of the country's finest conductors and orchestras, performing under the batons of Leonard Slatkin, Marvin Hamlisch, John Williams and Paul Gemignani. The Broadway stage, however, is where Brian Stokes Mitchell has received the most adulation, including Broadway's highest honor, the Tony Award. It was his role in the revival of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate that earned him Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. The actor was also Tony-nominated for his performance as Coalhouse Walker, Jr. in the epic musical Ragtime and as the title character in August Wilson's Tony nominated play King Hedley II. His other Broadway outings include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly's Last Jam (replacing Gregory Hines), David Merrick's Oh, Kay! and Mail.Sage Ryan was born and raised in Northern California and moved to Topanga last year, partly to pursue acting. He has appeared in numerous local, regional, and national commercials and especially enjoys voice-over work. Last year, he was featured on America's Got Talent with his grandfather and competed individually in the semi-finals. Recently, Sage discovered his love of musical theatre, performing in How to Eat Like a Child and The Music Man. This year, Sage played Tiny Tim twice; first in a national commercial and again alongside Jim Carrey in Robert Zemeckis' 2009 A Christmas Carol. He is also a passionate environmental activist volunteering for Ocean Revolution, Californians for Humane Farms, Animal Acres and various efforts to stop global warming.
Tony-Award winner John Lloyd Young created the role of Frankie Valli in the original Broadway cast of Jersey Boys. Young impressively won the Lead Actor Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Awards for his Broadway debut role and was named Person of the Week by ABC World News Tonight. Before starring in Jersey Boys, Young was a New York theatre actor performing on stage in The Drawer Boy, The Chosen, The Summer of the Swans, Spring Awakening and The Five Hysterical Girls Theorem. Young has performed at Carnegie Hall, the White House, New Year's Eve in Times Square, the New York City Marathon, Yankee Stadium, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, McCarter Theatre Center, Kennedy Center and New York's Town Hall. His film and television credits include The Belligerents, Law and Order, appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman, Live with Regis and Kelly, Celebrity Jeopardy, and NBC's Today Show. John is a co-chair of the Actors Fund of America National Advisory Board and a graduate of Brown University. The three performances will be Friday, August 8, 2008, 8:30 PM, Saturday, August 9, 2008, 8:30 PM and Sunday, August 10, 2008, 7:30 PM. For tickets and more information, click here.