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ENTERTAINMENT, JAZZ/STANDARDS, MUSIC

Broadway Buzz: New All-Star Cast of Les Mis

October 28, 2013

Hey Broadway fans! Here’s a look at all the latest and greatest this week from the Great White Way!

Honestly, I sort of thought the internet was going to explode when the news first broke about the principle casting for the upcoming Broadway revival of Les Mis. Legendary producer Cameron Mackintosh announced that West End Love Never Dies and Phantom 25th star Ramin Karimloo will be making his Broadway debut as Jean Valjean. Tony nominee Will Swenson (Hair, Priscilla) will play Javert, West End and Broadway star Caissie Levy (Hair, Ghost) will portray Fantine and Book of Mormon Tony winner Nikki M. James will be Eponine. I think theater fans in particular celebrated that this cast features real tried-and-true theater veterans versus relying on celebrity casting. Can’t wait to see them take the stage at the Imperial Theatre, the home of the original production of Les Mis for nearly 13 years and over 5,000 performances. Previews begin March 1, 2014 with an official opening night set for March 23, 2014!

History was yet again made this week at the Ambassador Theatre. During the revival of Chicago, Roz Ryan – who currently plays Matron “Mama” Morton – broke a longtime company record for the most performances of any leading actress in the show’s 17-year history. The previous record was shared by Charlotte d’Amboise (Roxie) and the late Marcia Lewis (Mama Morton), both of whom played a total of 223 weeks in the Broadway company. This week Ms. Ryan began her 224th week, setting a new, all-time record in her 15th consecutive year with the show. Wow – that’s a lotta “class.” Congrats!

Beginning December 10, Tony & Emmy nominee Ron Raines will join the Broadway revival of Annie as Daddy Warbucks. Australian actor Anthony Warlow plays his last performance at the Palace Theatre on December 8.  Raines was last seen on Broadway as Benjamin Stone in the revival of Follies, nabbing a Tony nomination. He’s also appeared in Newsies, Chicago, Show Boat and Teddy & Alice, in addition to being a 3-time Emmy nominee for TV’s “Guiding Light.”

Welcome to Broadway A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder! The new musical production began performances this week at the Walter Kerr Theatre, following critically acclaimed, hit runs at The Harford Stage & San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre. They’re headed toward an official opening on November 17. Merde!

Another hearty welcome to Broadway for the repertory company of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot beginning previews this weekend. Starring Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley, this limited engagement repertory season officially opens on Sunday, November 24 and plays through March 2 at the Cort Theatre. For performance schedule (so you can easily see which show is playing on what night) and more information, visit TwoPlaysInRep.com.

Worth noting – it’s somewhat unusual that we have 2 productions playing in repertory on Broadway at the same time, with the all-male Shakespeare’s Globe productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III at the Belasco, in addition to the Pinter/Beckett rep production. Also it’s not every day we have 2 Pinter plays on Broadway simultaneously, his 1979 Oliver-winning play Betrayal over at the Barrymore starring real-life married couple Daniel Craig & Rachel Weisz.

Keep your ears tuned to the “Broadway Buzz” every day on On Broadway, Ch. 72, and I’ll be back here next week to give you the biggest scoop! Now get out there and see a show!