Broadway Winter 2013/Spring 2014 Guide
by Whitney Spaner, 12/09/2013
Photo: Michael Le Poer Trench
Since megaproducer Cameron Mackintosh's massive pop opera had its New York City debut in 1987, it has become integral to our cultural lexicon. The first Broadway production ran for 16 years, closing in 2003, only to open again three years later to less than rave reviews. In 2009 the unlikely Scottish superstar Susan Boyle gave one of the most memorable performances ever on an amateur performance show (in this case, Britain's Got Talent) when she sang the production's ballad "I Dreamed a Dream," and Nick Jonas brought the musical to the attention of a whole new generation when he starred as Marius, the love-struck revolutionary, in a recent West End production. Now, presumably capitalizing on last year's star-studded film version—and its ensuing Oscar wins—the French behemoth based on Victor Hugo's novel of the same name is trudging back to Broadway. In place of the slew of Hollywood names that populated the film, this production stars several New York City stage vets and newcomers. Will Swenson, who has spent the last few years playing a hippie in Hair and a drag queen in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, will straighten up to play the scrupulous policeman Javert; while West End star Ramin Karimloo will make his Broadway debut as his nemesis, Jean Valjean, the escaped prisoner with a heart of gold. In the women's roles, Ghost's Caissie Levy will play the dying prostitute Fantine, a role that brought an Oscar for a bony and shorn Anne Hathaway almost a year to the day this production starts previews. Book of Mormon's Nikki M. James will play the poor, madly-in-love Eponine.
Imperial Theatre, 249 W. 45th St. Previews start March 1; opens March 23.