The Muny has announced its full cast, design and production teams for Les Misérables, which opens the theatre’s 106th season and runs June 17-23 on the James S. McDonnell Stage in Forest Park.

“We are ready to storm the barricade of Muny 106 with this beautiful musical,” said Muny Artistic Director & Executive Producer Mike Isaacson. “The cast, crew and artistic team are striving to create a production you’ll remember for a lifetime.”

Joining the previously announced John Riddle (Jean Valjean), Jordan Donica (Javert), Teal Wicks (Fantine), Red Concepción (Thénardier), Jade Jones (Madame Thénardier), Ken Page (The Bishop of Digne), Emily Bautista (Éponine), Gracie Annabelle Parker (Cosette), Peter Neureuther (Marius), James D. Gish (Enjolras), Kate Kappel (Little Cosette), Grace Moore (Young Éponine) and Will Schulte (Petit Gervais/Gavroche) are Lee H. AlexanderLeah BerryPatrick BlindauerMatías De La FlorChris HunterDan KlimkoÁngel LozadaDaniel Brooks McRathSydni MoonGrant PaceSarah PansingNicholas PattariniTim QuartierShelby RingdahlMatt RosellGrace Marie RusnicaLiv ShivenerSydney ShortCecilia SnowKyle TimsonNoah Van Ess and Annie Zigman. The company also will be joined by the Muny Kids and Muny Teens Youth Ensemble.

The Les Misérables creative team is led by Director Seth Sklar-Heyn, with Choreographer Jesse Robb, Music Director James Moore and Associate Musical Director Michael Horsley.

The production includes Associate Choreographer Paige Parkhill, Scenic Designer Ann Beyersdorfer, Costume Designer Gail Baldoni, Lighting Designer Jason Lyons, Co-sound Designers John Shivers and David Patridge, Video Designer Shawn Duan, Wig Designer Ashley Rae Callahan and Production Stage Manager Willie Porter.

The Telsey Office is the official casting partner of The Muny.

As previously announced, 20 singers from the St. Louis Symphony Chorus will join the company as the supernumerary chorus for “Do You Hear the People Sing?,” “One Day More” and “Finale: Do You Hear The People Sing? (Reprise).” The singers are Nicholas BashawAnnemarie Bethel-PeltonRachel ButtramLaurel DantasMary DonaldLea FrostMegan GlassJohn HergetMatthew JellinekJei Mitchell EvensHannah NelsonBrian PezzaValerie ReichertGreta RosenstockPaul RunnionMatthew StansfieldPhilip TouchetteRobert ValentineNicole Weiss and Tristan Wood. Members of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus will appear as a courtesy and in partnership with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

The Muny artistic staff includes Artistic Director & Executive Producer Mike Isaacson, Associate Artistic Director Michael Baxter, Production Manager Tracy Utzmyers and Music Supervisor Michael Horsley.

Here is John Riddle singing “Bring Him Home’ in rehearsals at The Muny, with music director James Moore accompanying him on piano.
https://youtu.be/t33Cj8KB7g8?si=BM-_IyQ3AQVz5QBg

Principal Cast Bios

JOHN RIDDLE (Jean Valjean) received a St. Louis Theater Circle Award for his performance of Anatoly Sergievsky in last season’s production of Chess. Other Muny: Disney’s The Little MermaidTitanicShow BoatLegally Blonde and others. Broadway: The Visit (OBC), Frozen (OBC) and Raoul in the final company of The Phantom of the Opera. Off-Broadway/NY: Cal Hockley in Titanique the Musical (Lortel nomination), The Secret Garden in Concert (Lincoln Center), Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods (Town Hall). National tour: Evita. Regional: Kennedy Center, Long Wharf Theatre, Goodspeed, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Casa Mañana, Naples Opera. Other: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, American Pops Orchestra.

JORDAN DONICA (Javert) most recently starred as Sir Lancelot in the Lincoln Center Theater production of Camelot, for which he received a Tony Award nomination. He originated the role of Freddy Eynsford-Hill in the Tony-nominated My Fair Lady (Lincoln Center Theater) and starred as Raoul in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera. New York City Center Encores!: Into the Woods (Rapunzel’s Prince). Tour: Hamilton (first national tour, Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, SF/LA companies). Concerts: Washington National Opera, Pasadena Symphony, The New York Pops (Carnegie Hall), Indianapolis Symphony and Lincoln Center Theater’s Camelot. Featured performer at the American Songbook Hall of Fame. TV: Jordan Chase in the CW’s Charmed. Directing: The Exonerated in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions, Little Prints by Anna Mulhall.

TEAL WICKS (Fantine) On Broadway, Teal originated the roles of Lady in The Cher Show, Mary Barrie in Finding Neverland and Emma Carew in the revival of Jekyll & Hyde. She made her Broadway debut as Elphaba in Wicked after playing the role to critical acclaim in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Off-Broadway and across the US, Teal has created lead roles in The Ballad of Little Jo (Two River Theater), The Blue Flower (Second Stage/A.R.T.), Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story (Signature Theatre NYC), The Life of the Party (TheatreWorks, with Andrew Lippa) and Fahrenheit 451 (59E59). TV/streaming appearances include The Peripheral (Amazon), The Night Agent (Netflix), NCIS: New Orleans, EvilElementaryThe Good WifeChicago Justice.

RED CONCEPCIÓN (Thénardier) Broadway: Chicago (Amos Hart). National/International tours: Miss Saigon (The Engineer, US national and UK/Ireland tours). Asian and Philippine credits: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Adam/Felicia; Manila and Singapore; Gawad Buhay Outstanding Male Lead in a Musical and Aliw Award for Best Actor in a Musical), Equus (Alan Strang), The Normal Heart (Tommy), Annie (Rooster), Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Lionel), West Side Story (A-rab) and more.

JADE JONES (Madame Thénardier) The Muny: Disney & Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary PoppinsThe Color Purple. Off-Broadway: Vanities. Regional: Disney’s Beauty and The Beast (Belle), A.D. 16, The Amen CornerMacbethInto the WoodsThe Wiz110 in the ShadeSweeney ToddSchool Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play. TV: Chicago P.D., Cinderella: The Reunion, A Special Edition of 20/20 (ABC).

KEN PAGE (The Bishop of Digne) has performed in over 45 shows on the Muny stage. Ken is widely known as the voice of Mr. Oogie Boogie in the classic Disney/Tim Burton animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas. He has performed the score live at The Hollywood Bowl, Barclays Center NY, LA’s Banc of California Stadium, Glasgow, London (SSE Arena, Wembley), Dublin and Tokyo. Film: DreamgirlsTorch Song TrilogyAll Dogs Go to Heaven and more. Ken made his Broadway debut in the all-Black revival of Guys and Dolls as Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Theatre World Award). Other Broadway: Cats (Old Deuteronomy, OBC video/film cast), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (OBC, LA, Paris, Drama Desk Award for Best Actor, Grammy Award cast album), The Wiz (Lion). London’s West End: Children of Eden (Father, OLC), My One and Only in Concert (London Palladium). Mr. Page’s solo concert, Page By Page, was released on CD (LML Music). He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabaret Artists (MAC), Project One Voice/Black Theatre and the St. Louis Arts Foundation.

EMILY BAUTISTA (Éponine) made her Broadway debut in the 2017 revival of Miss Saigon, where she understudied the lead role of Kim. She later returned to the role full time on the first national tour. In between the Broadway and touring productions of Miss Saigon, Emily took on the role of Éponine in Cameron Mackintosh’s North American touring production of Les Misérables. Following her time on tour, Emily made her London debut in the world premiere of Vanara: The Legend in the lead role of Ayla. On television, she is recognized for her role as Elodie on Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin. Additionally, Emily has made notable appearances in films The Compound (2021) and Which Brings Me to You (2023).

GRACIE ANNABELLE PARKER (Cosette) Regional: Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown, The Carnegie), Brigadoon (Fiona, Wagon Wheel), Legally Blonde (Ensemble). Gracie is a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, BFA musical theatre.

PETER NEUREUTHER (Marius) Regional: Newsies (Jack Kelly) at the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater. Peter is a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).

JAMES D. GISH (Enjolras) Broadway: Wicked (Fiyero). Off-Broadway: The Light in the Piazza (Fabrizio, New York City Center Encores!), The Jerusalem Syndrome (Mickey Rose, York Theatre, OOBC). National tours: Beautiful (Gerry Goffin), Les Misérables (Feuilly). Recent regional: Daddy Long Legs (Jervis, Phoenix Theatre Co.), West Side Story (Tony), Newsies (Jack Kelly) and The Toxic Avenger (Toxic Avenger).

KATE KAPPEL (Little Cosette) was last seen at The Muny in The Sound of Music (Gretl von Trapp) and in the Youth Ensemble of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Sister Act. Kate is 12 years old and just finished the sixth grade at South City Catholic Academy in St. Louis. She is a vocal student at Lisa Christine Studios and learns dance at the Professional Dance Center, where she is a member of the Ensemble competition team. Kate is a member of the Muny Kids and Muny Holiday troupes.

GRACE MOORE (Young Éponine) is 10 years old and is going into fifth grade, where she sings with her school choir and is a student house leader. Grace studies dance at Performing Arts Centre. She performs with the competition team and is a classroom helper. She studies voice with Kelly Stinnett Studios.

WILL SCHULTE (Petit Gervais/Gavroche) made his Muny debut in the Youth Ensemble of Beauty and the Beast last summer and is so excited to be performing with the Muny Kids touring troupe this summer. Will has also performed with Gateway Center for Performing Arts and was most recently seen as Kassim in Aladdin Jr. at his school. Will studies voice with Katie Kopff and also enjoys playing tennis. He will be attending St. Louis University High School in the fall.

Les Miz Broadway revival 2014

About the Show

Les Misérables previously was produced at The Muny in 2007 and 2013. The show includes music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, with a book by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg. Set against the backdrop of post-Revolutionary France and based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, this celebrated musical follows the journey of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict seeking a fresh start, and his relentless pursuer, Javert. Its powerful songs and thrilling story of love, passion, sacrifice and redemption have been beloved the world over for generations.

Performances of Les Misérables begin at 8:15 p.m. nightly, June 17-23. Single-performance tickets and season tickets are on sale now at muny.org, by calling (314) 361-1900 or at the Muny Box Office in Forest Park.

To learn more about the Muny production of Les Misérables and the show’s history, visit muny.org/show/les-mis. For actor headshots, show logos, video and other assets, visit the Muny Press Room at muny.org/press.

Season 106 at The Muny also includes Dreamgirls (June 27-July 3), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (July 8-16), Fiddler on the Roof (July 19-25), Waitress (July 30-Aug. 5), In the Heights (Aug. 9-15) and Anything Goes (Aug. 19-25).

About The Muny

The Muny’s mission is to enrich lives by producing exceptional musical theatre, accessible to all, while continuing its remarkable tradition in Forest Park. As the nation’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theatre, we welcome more than 350,000 theatregoers each summer for seven world-class productions. Now celebrating 106 seasons in St. Louis, The Muny remains one of the premier institutions in musical theatre. For more information, visit muny.org.

By Lynn Venhaus

When the titular character floats in using her umbrella, carried by the East wind to 17 Cherry Tree Lane in London, it’s a welcome jolt of joy — signaling that a merry time is ahead in this stage musical version of “Mary Poppins.”

And this vibrant, candy colored Muny production of the beloved magical nanny tale is as whimsical as you remember.

Director John Tartaglia makes it sparkly and this cast of 75 brings the magic that he is striving for in his sixth show, hoping to see smiles on a summer night.

The nostalgia factor is high, recalling the sublime Oscar-winning performance of Julie Andrews in the iconic 1964 Disney movie, which is based on P.L. Travers’ series of children’s books, eight of them starting in 1934.

Disney’s crowning live-action achievement was the highest-grossing film of 1964 and garnered 13 Oscar nominations, winning five: (actress, editing, original music score, visual effects, and song for “Chim Chim Cher-ee”). During Walt’s lifetime, it was the only one of his films to earn a Best Picture nomination.

With Travers’ permission, master producer Cameron Mackintosh turned the tale into an acclaimed stage musical in London in 2004, which opened on Broadway in 2006, and continued for more than six years. It closed on March 3, 2013, after 2,619 – the 24th longest-running show in Broadway history.

The show is a mix of the movie and the books. The sentimentality is part of its appeal, and this ensemble blends both freshness and fondness for the traditional qualities to please a new generation.

Jeanna de Waal is an ideal Mary, moving with ease, popping in and out with her grace and regal bearing.  She is a good sport for her spectacular flying segments, with seamless effects work by ZFX.

For a little extra insight into the mystical nanny, she projects an air of mystery, indicating there’s more than meets the eye. She also sings like a dream, smoothly cavorting in the newer song “Practically Perfect” and a reworked setting for “A Spoonful of Sugar.”

In fact, this is a cast of glorious voices.

The charismatic and charming Corbin Bleu uses his considerable song and dance skills as the lovable happy-go-lucky Bert. It’s a triumphant return to the Muny following his sensational turn as Don Lockwood in “Singin’ in the Rain” in 2018. He had dazzled critics and audiences alike, winning the St. Louis Theater Circle Award for Best Actor in a Musical. 

Photo by Phillip Hamer

Bleu, who first came to prominence as Chad in the “High School Musical” movies, works well with De Waal and the ensemble — and has a few cool moves I won’t spoil.

That score by Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman is unforgettable – and in fact, some Muny patrons sang along. But the musical is not a replica of the film, for “I Love to Laugh” has been omitted, as has “Sister Suffragette,” “Stay Awake” and “Fidelity Fiduciary Bank.”

With a few exceptions, the new songs by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe do not seem to be as catchy as the Sherman brothers’ collaborations. Even at a 2 hour and 35 minute-run time, “Anything Can Happen,” delivered in two parts, seems to drag on and on. A little editing of some numbers would have made for a tighter experience.

“The Life I Lead” has been replaced by “Precision and Order,” sung by the stern banker, George Banks. In Julian Fellowes’ book, George is revealed to have had a strict childhood, and the parents are more dysfunctional, with Winifred Banks a former actress who can’t seem to fit in to the elite society, and the two children, Jane and Michael, are naughtier.

The real-life husband-and-wife duo of Nehal Joshi and Erin Davie are splendid in vocals and their character development. Their new songs include “A Man Has Dreams” and “Being Mrs. Banks.” I do wish Mrs. Banks was still a suffragette, as Glynis Johns was so robustly in the film.

The kids are brattier – as played by Laila Fantroy and Gabe Cytron, so they are not likable, especially when acting entitled and wreaking havoc in the kitchen, but their growth results in more compassionate youngsters. Whew!

A new character, Robertson Ay, is a screwball addition, and Barrett Riggins, so deliciously wicked in “Camelot,” shines as the bumbling oh-so-not-helpful houseboy.

Chipper Jade Jones has the versatile three-peat of Katie Nanna, Mrs. Corry and Miss Smythe.

Photo by Phillip Hamer

Debby Lennon, two-time St. Louis Theater Circle Award winner, is a hoot as the “Holy Terror!” – aka George’s cruel childhood nanny Miss Andrew – who arrives to get everyone back in ship-shape after the breezy frolics with Mary. She is overbearing in “Brimstone and Treacle Parts 1 and 2.”

A masterful Darlesia Cearcy brings the house down as the Birdwoman at the park, with a superbly executed rendition and reprise of “Feed the Birds.”

Other high points include the jaunty stroll through the park “Jolly Holiday,” the robust showstopper “Step in Time,” a bubbly “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” at Mrs. Corry’s sweet shop and a wondrous “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” with the ensemble placed through the audience with red kites.

First seen in 2013 when the show was led by Muny fan favorites Jenny Powers and Rob McClure, this version is as enchanting, with Tartaglia’s penchant for puppetry giving an added ‘oomph.’

He has created another Muny moment with puppeteers swarming the stage with flocks of birds, produced by puppet designer Eric Wright of Puppet Kitchen International Inc. It’s a marvelous sight.

Tartaglia, such a bouncy personality as evident through his Muny performances (The Genie in “Aladdin,” The Cat in the Hat in “Seussical,” Hysterium in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum — St. Louis Theater Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical in 2017), has brought a sunny outlook to his productions here.

The director of “Matilda” 2019, Annie” 2018, “The Wizard of Oz” 2016, “Disney’s Tarzan” in 2014 and “Shrek” 2013 is again inspired by the tasks at hand, no doubt influencing his creative choices.

Photo by Phillip Hamer

A crackerjack production team has delivered an attractive look and encouraged high spirits throughout, even with performers dealing with oppressive summer heat. Music Director Brad Haak and Choreographer Patrick O’Neill focused on peppy musical and dance numbers for fluid movement (with a high percentage of youngsters in the audience).

The sights — Paige Hathaway’s production design, Robin L. McGee’s costume design, Kelley Jordan’s wig design and Alex Basco Koch’s video designs are true to the 1910 time of Edwardian London, but with pizzazz.

It’s also nice to see such local treasures as Zoe Vonder Haar (as Mrs. Brill), Whit Reichert (as Admiral Boom/Bank Chairman), Jerry Vogel (as Park Keeper, Von Hussle, ensemble), Rich Pisarkiewicz (Policeman/ensemble), and Lynn Humphrey (Miss Lark/ensemble) back together on the Muny stage.

Does “Mary Poppins” have the same appeal to today’s youths like the movie did for my generation? Not sure if it is a home run as much for them as it is for adults. Nevertheless, the audience left humming a happy tune.

Photo by Phillip Hamer

The Muny presents the musical “Mary Poppins” July 5-13 at 8:15 pm. on the outdoor stage in Forest Park. For more information, visit www.muny.org.

Cast photo by Philip Hamer