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Event: Les Misérables – (Wellington) Aug 2022

The Capital Theatre Trust and G & T Productions are thrilled to announce the stellar cast for the Wellington season of LES MISÉRABLES – the first major musical theatre production at the St James since its $37 million restoration.

New Zealand’s much-loved star of musical theatre, Chris Crowe will play the villain, Inspector Javert. Chris has received critical acclaim as The Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, a role he had the pleasure of performing across New Zealand, and more recently as Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Other credits include: Enjolras (Les Miserables), John (Miss Saigon), Judas/Pontias Pilate (Jesus Christ Superstar), Anatoly (Chess), Peron (Evita) and Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus) for the Australian Opera Studio in Perth.

Taking the role of Jean Valjean is Hayden Lawrence whose credits include Jekyll & Hyde, the New Zealand premier of Miss Saigon, and Sweeney Todd. Hayden has also had lead roles in Paris as Paris, Chess as the Russian Anatoly Sergievsky, Jesus Christ Superstar as Judas Iscariot and most recently Chess again as the American Freddie Trumper. While in London, he auditioned with 4000 hopefuls for ITV’s Superstar, making it to the final 100 and performing in front of a panel consisting of Sporty Spice Melanie Chisholm, actor/singer Jason Donovan and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s casting director David Grindrod.

Joining Hayden and Chris are two of New York’s finest musical theatre stars, Nick Lerew and Maya Handa Naff. Nick will reprise his character Marius, a role he’s performed professionally more than a hundred times, while Maya will be Eponine, a character she has also brought to life many times during her extraordinary career which includes performing, directing, and teaching across the United States. Having trained in New York City, Maya’s career highlights include Miss Saigon (Kim), The Importance of Being Earnest (Cecily Cardew), Cabaret (Sally Bowles) and Avenue Q (Christmas Eve) while Nick can boast roles in some of the world’s biggest shows, including Miss Saigon (Chris), South Pacific (Lt. Joseph Cable), Into the Woods (Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf), and Legally Blonde (Emmett).

Twenty years after making her big stage debut as Cosette, Gemma Hoskins will play Fantine. Since then, Gemma has appeared in multiple Wellington productions including Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Beauty & The Beast, and Miss Saigon.

As the youngest member of the cast, Flora Dryburgh’s age belies her experience on stage. Having brought to life characters including Wednesday Addams in the Addams FamilyMusicaland Alison Vernon Williams in the New Zealand premiere of Cry-Baby The Musical, Flora brings to life the principal role of orphan Cosette. Her other credits include Jesus Christ Superstar (2020) and touring with the Capital E National Theatre for Children in Seasons by the late Peter Wilson.

Playing the outrageous innkeepers, The Thénardiers are Sandy Leadbeater and Tania Dreaver. Sandy has most recently been seen in Coasters 2021 production of Mary Poppins playing Mr Banks and is a regular performer in Porirua Little Theatre productions. No stranger to LES Misérables, Sandy has performed as Javert in the Wellington and Palmerston North seasons back in 2002. Tania is relishing the challenge of playing the villainous Madame Thénardier, having recently brought to life two other strong female characters in Miss Andrews in Mary Poppins, and the imposing Mother Abbess in PLT’s production of The Sound of Music.

Like his character Enjolras who fights for the rights of the people, Joe Mara is a lawyer by day and performer by night. Classically trained in piano, Joe is also the former president of Vocal FX, a men’s barbershop chorus which competed internationally, and has been involved in a variety of theatre shows from Sweaty Eddie in Wellington Musical Theatre’s Sister Act to Dr Flake in Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s light opera, Die Fledermaus.

This extraordinary line-up of Wellington-based talent joins a 29-strong ensemble cast for the production that runs from 19 August to 4 September. Note – there is a preview on the 18th August 2022.

Male ensemble 

Adam Nachowitz, Alex Coogan-Reeves, Alistair Davies, Benjamin Emerson, Ben Paterson,
Chris Hayward, Chris McMillan, Chris Wardle, Dominic Taffs, Dominic van den Berg,
Glenn Horsfall, Jared Pallesen, Matthew Scadden, Patrick Jennings, River Santner,
Senuka Sudusinghe, Simon Brew.

Female ensemble
Adriana Calabrese, Alexandra McKellar, Allegra Canton, Emily K Brown, Frankie Leota,
Jessie Cooper, Lane Corby, Megan Neill, Mia Alonso-Green, Paula Gardyne,
Rachel McSweeney, Rebecca Ansell.

Produced by the same team that brought Wellington the critically acclaimed season of Jersey Boys last year, in association with the recently formed Capital Theatre Trust, tickets start at just $50 and are available from Ticketmaster.

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, LES Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit.

Featuring one of the greatest scores of all time, with thrilling and beloved songs including I Dreamed A Dream, On My Own, Stars, Bring Him Home, One Day More, Do You Hear the People Sing and many more, this epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history.

LES MISÉRABLES originally opened in London at the Barbican Theatre on October 8, 1985, transferred to the Palace Theatre on December 4, 1985, and moved to its current home at the Queen’s Theatre on April 3, 2004, where it continues to play to packed houses and is the only version of the original production left in the world.

The original Broadway production of LES MISÉRABLES opened at the Broadway Theatre on March 12, 1987, and transferred to the Imperial Theatre on October 17, 1990, running for 6,680 performances. The original U.S. National Tour began in November 1987 and visited over 150 cities before closing in St. Louis, MO in 2006. Broadway audiences welcomed Les Misérables back to New York on November 9, 2006, where the show played at the Broadhurst Theatre until its final performance on January 6, 2008.

The 2015 film adaptation of LES MISÉRABLES introduced the musical to a new generation of audiences who will now be able to see the stage production, live, in Wellington.

Note – copy for this story provided by Sandra Roberts Publicity.

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