Milwaukee, WI – Skylight Music Theatre will present a new production of the Tony Award-winning musical Les Misérables November 22 through December 29 in the Cabot Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center (158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee WI).
Les Misérables is one of the most popular musicals every written. Based on the classic novel, Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, this musical is an epic and uplifting story about the survival of the human spirit. The musical’s score includes the well-known songs “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Do You Hear the People Sing?,” and many more. Since its Broadway debut in 1987, Les Misérables has been seen by 65 million people worldwide, in 45 countries and in 22 languages. It has won over 100 international awards including the coveted Best Musical Tony in 1987.
Skylight Music Theatre has taken on the daunting task of re-imagining this massive musical for the intimate Cabot Theatre. Under the direction of Molly Rhode, Scenic and Lighting Designer Peter Dean Beck has created a unit set for this production that transforms and surprises. Rhode’s highly theatrical staging will be an actor-driven event that celebrates the power and craft of the artists.
Artistic Director Viswa Subbaraman assisted Rhode in assembling one of the most talented casts to ever perform on the Skylight stage. Broadway and opera talents such as Luke Grooms (Valjean), Andrew Varela (Javert), Kevin Massey (Marius) and Eric Mahlum (Thenardier) will be under the direction of Robert Linder as the production’s music director. Linder holds 3 Grammy nominations for conducting and producing Jazz CD’s in the last 4 years, and one personal Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year in 2010.
Centerpiece to the season, Les Misérables is the show that inspired Skylight to focus on freedom and revolution as a conversation through the entire year. Set in 19th century France, in the midst of revolution, it follows Jean Valjean on his quest for redemption after being jailed for stealing a loaf of bread, inspector Javert who relentlessly pursues parole violator Valjean, and an abundance of other compelling and entertaining characters.
This epic tale of passion and sacrifice will be a phenomenal way to share live theatre with the family during this holiday season!
Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg
Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer
Stage Director - Molly Rhode
Music Director - Robert Linder
Scene & Lighting Designer - Peter Dean Beck
Costume Designer - Carol Blanchard
Sound Designer - Gary Ellis
Stage Manager - Jason Weixelman
Assistant Stage Manager - Vanessa Chumbley
Valjean - Luke Grooms
Javert - Andrew Varela
Marius - Kevin Massey
Thénardier - Eric Mahlum
Fantine - Susan Spencer
Éponine - Melissa Fife
Mme. Thénardier - Rhonda Rae Busch
Cosette - Susan Wiedmeyer
Enjolras - Tommy Hahn
Grantaire - Rick Pendzich
Gavroche (Paris Cast) - Jake Koch
Gavroche (France Cast) – Luke Brotherhood
Young Éponine (Paris Cast) – Gabby Musickant
Young Éponine (France Cast) – Georgina Pink
Young Cosette (Paris Cast) – Lindsay Nelsen
Young Cosette (France Cast) – Harper Navin
Doug Clemons, Cecilia Davis, Alison Forbes, Dustin Hertzog, Shawn Holmes, James Nathan, Tim Rebers
Kaylee Annable, Ryan Charles Berard, Chris Elst, Linnéa Koeppel, Zach McLain, Isaiah Reynolds, Kyle Sternad, Jenna Vik, Zach Thomas Woods
Flute, Piccolo, Alto Flute – Scott Metlika
Oboe, English Horn - Philip Koch
Bb Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Eb Clarinet – Chris Zello
Horn - Richard Tremarello
Horn - Anne Maliborski
Trumpet - Tom Schlueter
Trombone - Don Haack
Violin - Pamela Foard
Viola - Olga Tuzhilkov
Cello - Scott Cook
Bass - Tom McGirr
Percussion - Michael Lorenz
Keyboard - Mark Carlstein
Luke Grooms (Valjean) – Newport, Tennessee born Luke Grooms has been seen this season in Kiss Me Kate (Fred/Petrucchio), Barber of Seville (Almaviva), La Gazza Ladra (Rodolfo, Gianetto), and Rossini’s Otello (Roderigo). Luke performed Piangi in the National tour of The Phantom of the Opera, Dwight/God in the New York premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera at Carnegie Hall, and again with Speakeasy Stage Company garnering him a Elliot Norton nomination, and finally, as Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd with The Fulton Theatre. Opera roles include Tonio, Elvino, Lindoro, Duca, and Nemorino, just to name a few, with companies such as The Metropolitan Opera (cover artist), Glimmerglass Opera, Lyric Opera of Baltimore, Opera Orchestra of New York, New York City Opera, Mississippi Opera, Opera in the Heights, Carnegie Hall, and many others. Upcoming performances include Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd at Hawaii Opera Theatre and Ernesto in Don Pasquale at Mississippi Opera. Luke can also be heard on the recording of Divas of a Certain Age, and on the upcoming recording of The Fair Ophelia on Navona records. www.lukegrooms.com.
Andrew Varela (Javert) – Andrew is making his Skylight debut. Born in California, and raised in Asia and New Jersey, Andrew is happy to be a Wisconsinite by marriage. Broadway credits include Les Misérables (Jean Valjean), King David, Little Women (Prof. Bhaer), and Sunday in the Park with George. Other roles include The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera National Tour, the Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance, and Jud Fry in Oklahoma!. Andrew recently toured as Javert in the record-breaking 25th Anniversary Tour of Les Misérables, which made a stop here in Milwaukee. Check out AndrewVarela.com for more information and follow him on Twitter @AndrewVarela525.
Kevin Massey (Marius) – Broadway credits include Memphis (Huey u/s), Tarzan (Tarzan u/s), Deaf West’s Big River, NYCO’s Antony & Cleopatra (Eros). Kevin originated Almanzo in Little House on the Prairie, the Musical ‘s 1st National Tour, Paper Mill, and the Guthrie, and D’Artagnan in Three Musketeers with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. NY Readings include leads in Hunchback of Notre Dame & High School Musical with Disney, and roles in White Noise, Angels the Musical, and Bonnie & Clyde. Kevin performed in European productions of Tarzan (Tarzan), Grease! (Doody) as well as Regional Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Bonnie & Clyde (Ted), Utah Shakespeare Festival’s & Kansas City Rep’s Pippin (Pippin), and MUNY’s Footloose (Willard). He is UNC-Chapel Hill, Morehead Scholar , a Founding member of country trio: www.shubertalley.net, and the proud husband to Kara Lindsay! www.kevinmassey.com @kcmassey1
Eric Mahlum (Thénardier) – Eric is delighted to be making his Skylight debut! A native of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, he is always happy to be close to home. His Broadway credits include Wicked and Off-Broadway; Plane Crazy, and The Yard. Eric performed in National Tours of Young Frankenstein, Wicked, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, and The Wizard of Oz. Regionally, Eric has been featured in roles at such theatres as Goodspeed Opera House, Papermill Playhouse, Pittsburg CLO, Kansas City Starlight, The Arden Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Dallas Summer Musicals, The Riverside Theatre, Carousel Dinner Theatre, Opera Kansas and Atlanta Theatre of the Stars, to name a few. Eric holds both a bachelor’s degree and a master of music in vocal performance. www.ericjonmahlum.com
Susan Spencer (Fantine) – Susan is thrilled to make her Skylight debut! After graduating from Greendale High School and UW-Stevens Point, Susan moved to New York City where she made her Broadway debut in Les Misérables alongside her husband, Andrew Varela. Other roles include Eva in Evita; Jo March in Little Women, The Musical, and roles in various productions at Radio City Music Hall, Yale Repertory Theatre, and the Denver Center Theatre. Susan may also be recognized from her TV commercials for Olay, Kohl’s, Fleet Farm, and the Wisconsin Lottery, or from the TLC show “A Baby Story,” which featured the birth of her son, Oscar. Follow Susan on Twitter @Dramaticsu
Melissa Fife (Éponine) – Melissa is excited to return to Skylight where she covered and performed Leonora in this season’s Fidelio. She is currently on the adjunct voice faculty at Brigham Young University-Idaho and has recently signed a record deal with Refinement Records. Melissa performed the role of Mother in Madame Butterfly and covered Nicklausse in The Tales of Hoffmann at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. She performed the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief, and Siebel in Faust with Tri-Cities Opera. She performed as a soloist in season concerts with Utah Festival Opera and covered Zerlina in Don Giovanni at Virginia Opera. Melissa was a district winner and a regional finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Her musical theatre credits include Cinderella in Into the Woods, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and Rose in Meet Me in St. Louis. Follow Melissa on Twitter @Fiferoony
Rhonda Rae Busch (Mme. Thénardier) – Rhonda Rae is thrilled to return to Skylight where she was previously seen in White Christmas (Martha), Music Man (Widow Paroo), H.M.S. Pinafore (Cousin Hebe) and Man of La Mancha (Housekeeper). She spent a joyful summer at American Folklore Theatre in Door County premiering the role of Millicent in Windjammers. Other favorite roles include, Ruth in Pirates of Penzanc), Stepmother in Cinderell), Ella in Bells are Ringin), Mavis in Church Basement Ladies, Golde in Fiddler on the Roo), and Miss Hannigan in Annie. She is the proud wife of Bill and mother of Emily and Adam.
Susan Wiedmeyer (Cosette) – Susan is delighted to return to Skylight Music Theatre. Last seen in Skylight’s production of The Sound of Music, she performed the role of Maria as the understudy. Also at Skylight, she has played roles in Sunday in the Park with George, The Rivals, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Marriage of Figaro and Pirates of Penzance. She has performed locally with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, as Cunegonde in Candide, and Arion in Meditations on Arion, and with Music By the Lake in Madama Butterfly, La Traviata, Music in the Air, and as Fiona in Brigadoon. Susan is an Encouragement Award winner from the Wisconsin District Metropolitan Opera Auditions, and holds music degrees from St. Olaf College (B.M.) and UW-Milwaukee (M.M.).
Molly Rohde (Stage Director) – Molly Rhode directed Skylight’s highly acclaimed The Sound of Music last winter, and she is very proud to return this season as the director of Les Misérables. Molly’s other directing credits include Main-Travelled Roads at the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Miss Nelson is Missing at First Stage Children’s Theatre, The American Girl Review at the Children’s Theatre of Madison, and, most recently, Windjammers at American Folklore Theatre. Molly attended Southern Methodist University and received her degree in theatre studies with emphasis in playwriting and directing. Molly also has an extensive performance career. Here at Skylight she has appeared in Pump Boys and Dinettes, The Producers, Cabaret, Chicago, Day In Hollywood/Night in the Ukraine, Hello, Dolly!, and Lady, Be Good. She has also acted on all of Milwaukee’s other professional stages as well as at theatres in Door County, Spring Green, and Madison. Molly is very proud to make her entire artistic living in Wisconsin. Coming this season, she will direct and choreograph another French musical, the world premiere of Anatole! at First Stage Children’s Theatre.
Robert Linder (Music Director) – Maestro Linder is known for his conducting versatility; from Broadway, Symphony, and Opera to the Jazz world. He’s spent twenty seasons with Theatre Under the Stars in Houston doing all of the great Broadway genre, twenty seasons with Houston Civic Symphony doing the best orchestral repertoire, directed TV Specials for CBS, NBC, and PBS with an Emmy nomination for the G&S Opera Princess Ida. Additionally, he’s had forty seasons with G&S Opera in Houston, with two awards from the International Festival in Buxton, England as the Festival’s Outstanding Music Director in 1995 and 1998. Robert holds two Grammy nominations for conducting and producing Jazz Cd’s in the last 4 years, and one personal Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year in 2010. He is the Conductor for theatrical productions at 5th Ave Theatre-Seattle and Cleveland Opera and has one conducting credit for a movie score.
Skylight Music Theatre’s production of Les Misérables is generously sponsored by Baird Private Asset Management.
Additional information can be found at http://www.skylightmusictheatre.org/shows-events/on-stage/les-miserables
Performances of Les Misérables will take place November 22nd through December 29th in the Cabot Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway in the Historic Third Ward of Milwaukee. Tickets are generally $22.50 – $65.50 (plus tax) and can be purchased in person at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office or by calling (414) 291-7800 Monday – Sunday from noon – 6:00 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.skylightmusictheatre.org. Group, student, senior and other discounts may also be available.