It’s been a hot French minute since we last talked about Les Misérables. One of the longest-running and most cherished Broadway musicals of all time was back in the spotlight in late 2012 with a buzzy, big-budget movie adaptation, packed with singing celebrities (and Russell Crowe) and enough close-ups to make even Norma Desmond cringe. To say that theater fans were divided on the final product would be a heavy understatement.
That’s all water under the Pulteney Bridge, though, because Les Miserables is back – and what’s more important is that it’s safely returned to the hands of real musical theater performers who promise to return the beloved title to its former glory.
The cast of the second Broadway revival (which opens March 23) took to Good Morning America to offer a little taste of the newly reimagined production, performing the Act 1 counterpoint extravaganza “One Day More.” Watch the performance below (and keep in mind that it was 9 in the morning), then find out who you’ll be geeking out over in the coming months.
Ramin Karimloo is a huge star in the West End but he’s yet to come to Broadway (maybe he was picky in choosing roles, as surely there have been opportunities). Either way, Karimloo is welcome on the New York stage, having done sweet justice to major roles like the Phantom and Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera across the pond. Early buzz suggests that Karimloo is the reason to see this revival – plus, in keeping with the vein of Hugh Jackman, he’s one certifiably sexy Valjean.
Smash fans (I know you’re out there, and I know you’re reading this) will recognize season 2 cast member Andy Mientus, who won a Tony and made his Broadway debut on television before doing either in real life. He’s a rising star among New York’s new generation of theater actors, and if you’re an ABC Family fan, you’ll see him on the network’s new drama Chasing Life later this summer.
One can only dream of originating a Broadway role the way Nikki M. James did, creating the Ugandan Disney princess Nabulungi in the big fat hit The Book of Mormon (and winning a Tony in the process). James follows up her award-winning turn as the tragic Eponine, who sings “On My Own” and just loves musket balls.
Meet Will Swenson, the velvety baritone husband of Audra “Already-a-Broadway-legend-at-43” McDonald. Swenson’s been charming audiences on Broadway for a decade, starring in the Elton John vampire musical (yes, you read that correctly) Lestat, the Tony-winning revival of Hair, and the dragtastic jukebox tuner Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
TV and theater vet Cliff Saunders plays the vicious innkeeper Thenardier, while Tony nominee Keala Settle plays his razor-tongued wife (arguably the sassiest character in Les Miz besides, like, Enjolras). Settle’s truly a reason to get excited, as she delivered one of last year’s best performances in the short-lived Hands on a Hardbody, and she even starred opposite Clay Aiken in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and lived to tell the tale.
BONUS DEAD PROSTITUTE: Fantine
Caissie Levy cut her teeth on Broadway in Wicked, Hairspray, and Ghost The Musical, which may not have lasted long but showed audiences that she has the chops to lead a show. Wash away any traces of Anne Hathaway when Levy steps into the role of the (bizarrely) fan favorite Fantine.