By Wayne Harada
OK, fans of “Les Miserables.”
Here’s the first wave of casting announcements for the re-imagined new version of the Tony Award-winning musical, which returns to Broadway with preview performances beginning March 1, leading to the March 23 opening night at the Imperial Theatre.
The first cast members playing key roles:
• Jean Valjean — Ramin Karimloo, West End actor now starring in “Les Miz” in Toronto (pictured at right, as Valjean); he previously has performed the masked lead in “The Phantom of the Opera” and the sequel, “Love Never Dies.”
• Inspector Javert — Will Swenson, a Tony nominee for Broadway’s “Hair” and “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” who presently is starring in “Little Miss Sunshine” on Broadway (pictured as himself, below, right, during "Priscilla" run).
• Fantine — Caissie Levy, who starred as Molly in the West End and Broadway musical of “Ghost” as well as Sheila in “Hair,” and a former Elphaba in Broadway’s long-running “Wicked.”
• Eponine — Nikki M. James, a Tony winner who created the role of Nabalungi in “The Book of Mormon.”
Actors and actresses for the other lead roles — Marius, Enjolras and the Thenardiers — will be named in the weeks ahead.
The announcement was made by producer Cameron Macintosh, who is bringing the beloved musical back to Broadway 27 years after the original production opened at the Broadway Theatre, later moving to the Imperial. The show, with songs by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, is an international favorite; the new show has been touring, currently in Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre, and its success on the road promoted movie-makers to film the Oscar-winning movie version starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, directed by Tom Hooper.
Tickets to the new “Les Miz” are on sale at www.telecharge.com, (212) 239-6200 or (800) 447-7400.
A Hawaii company is staging “Les Miz” at Paliku Theatre, Windward Community College, with four more performances at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23, 25 and 26 and at 4 p.m. Oct. 27.