Former Phantom Earl Carpenter and Avenue Q’s Jon Robyns are to star in Les Misérables as part of a major cast change in the 22-year-old musical.
The new cast – which also includes Allyson Brown, Jimmy Johnston, Jackie Marks and David Thaxton – takes over at the Queen’s theatre on 23 June, joining existing cast member Drew Sarich, who continues to play Jean Valjean.
Carpenter played Courfeyrac in Les Misérables in 1996 and now returns to the musical to play Valjean’s nemesis, Javert. In the intervening years, Carpenter has become a familiar face on the West End stage, appearing in Beauty And The Beast, The Witches Of Eastwick and, most recently, playing the title role in The Phantom Of The Opera.
Robyns joins Les Misérables to play Marius. The Mountview graduate gained a loyal fan base after originating the parts of Princeton and Rod in the London production of puppet musical Avenue Q. Since leaving the show at the end of last year, Robyns has been seen in Chess In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall and in the pre-West End run of Dickens Unplugged at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud theatre.
Experienced West End performers Johnston and Marks team up to play Monsieur and Madame Thénardier. Johnston has twice been nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award – in 1999 for Oklahoma! at the National Theatre and again in 2001 for The Pirates Of Penzance at the Open Air, Regent’s Park. Marks appeared in the ensemble of the original cast of Les Misérables at the Barbican and the Palace. Her other London stage credits include Nancy in Oliver! at the Aldwych and, more recently, Evita at the Adelphi.
Recent Royal Shakespeare Company member Brown (Fantine) has been seen on television in EastEnders and Holby City, while Welsh singer Thaxton (Enjolras) returns to Les Misérables after first appearing in the show after its transfer to the Queens theatre.
As previously reported, the roles of Eponine and Cosette are to be played by Les Misérables newcomers Nancy Sullivan and Leanne Dobinson, who both took part in television casting competitions in recent years. Sullivan was seen in the early heats of this year’s I’d Do Anything, while Dobinson reached the final 10 of 2006’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?
Now the world’s longest-running musical, Les Misérables opened at the Barbican on 8 October 1985 before transferring to the Palace later that year. It moved to its current home, the Queen’s, in 2004.
The Royal Shakespeare Company/Cameron Mackintosh production is written by Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer after the French revolutionary novel by Victor Hugo.