Most Broadway Credits Ever in PSF Production of Les Misérables; Mike Eldred to Play Iconic Role of Jean Valjean
March 31, 2015 Lisa.Higgins@pashakespeare.org
Center Valley, PA – The all new Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival production of the iconic musical Les Misérables features a cast of 37 that collectively represent the most Broadway credits, most recording artists, and most national tours of any cast ever on stage in PSF’s 24-season history.
The production launches the Festival’s summer season with previews June 10 and 11, opening June 12 and running through June 28 on the Main Stage at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are selling at nearly triple the rate of any previous production and more than half of the 10,400+ tickets have been sold: the company expects the production to completely sell out.
“The sweeping range of the operatic music and the epic story of Les Miz demands exceptional singer-actors, and this cast has experience on some of the world’s best stages,” says Dennis Razze, PSF associate artistic director who is directing.
Leading the cast is Mike Eldred as Jean Valjean, a role he performed on Broadway, where he also starred in the original cast of the Tony-nominated Civil War. In addition to his three solo CDs,Eldred is an internationally renowned tenor who has performed in concert with many of North America’s finest symphony orchestras, including Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Edmonton, San Diego, Seattle and Toronto.
Valjean is mercilessly pursued by the police officer Inspector Javert, to be performed by Jeremiah James. James played Billy Bigelow in Carousel in London’s West End, El Gallo in The Fantasticks in New York City and Curly in the Broadway/London 1st National Tour of the Trevor Nunn/Cameron Mackintosh revival of Oklahoma! A solo recording artist, James is also a member of the singing supergroup Teatro.
Kate Fahrner portrays the impoverished factory worker Fantine who sings the show’s most famous song “I Dreamed a Dream.” Fahrner’s credits include the National Tour of Wicked as Glinda, a role she played in Chicago and on Broadway. She also performed as Nellie Forbush in Lincoln Center’s National Tour of South Pacific.
A Nashville recording artist who played the character of Wednesday in Broadway’s The Addams Family in addition to other Broadway and national tour credits, Rachel Potter will play Eponine, who sings “On My Own.” Potter was a Top 12 Finalist on Fox TV’s “The X Factor” in Season 3 and just released her second album.
Performing the role of Cosette, Valjean’s adopted daughter, is Delaney Westfall, who recently finished Side Show on Broadway (multiple roles). She has also played principle roles in several full-length HBO movies.
Brad Greer will play the student revolutionary Marius. Greer’s credits include the Riverside Theatre/National Tour of Altar Boyz and theWalnut Street Theater (Phila.) production of Grease.
Reprising the role he played in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of Les Miz, Tim Gulan will play Thénardier, a thief and gang leader. On Broadway, Gulan performed in the world premiere of Sting’s The Last Ship, as well as The Lion King, The Frogs, and Blood Brothers.
Co-star in hit TV shows “Nashville” and “Drop Dead Diva,” Jon Berry will play the student leader Enjolras. His regional theatre credits include the title roles in The Who’s Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar, and Che in Evita.
The principle actors are supported by an ensemble cast of more than 25 and a full orchestra under the baton of Nathan Diehl, who has served as musical director and conductor for PSF’s last four musicals. J. Bennett Durham, who conducts DeSales University’s three choral ensembles, will serve as musical director for the production.
Amaranth Foundation is the 2015 season sponsor. Associate season sponsors are the Szarko Family, Harry C. Trexler Trust, Dr. James and Penny Pantano, and Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth. Alvin H. Butz is production sponsor for Les Misérables; production co-sponsors are Air Products and Orlando Diefenderfer Electrical Contractors.The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, a professional company in residence at DeSales University, is the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth and a professional, not-for-profit theatre company. An independent 501 c 3 organization, PSF receives support from DeSales University and relies on contributions from individuals, government agencies, corporations and foundations.
PSF is a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, and a member of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Shakespeare Theatre Association, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council, and Discover Lehigh Valley.
"His amazing voice – a high-flying, full-bodied tenor, intensely romantic, alternately wrenching and joyful – was so compelling that you forgot you were in a theater, forgot everything but the sound pouring out of his throat."
Kevin Nance, The Tennessean