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Les Misérables comes to Wales

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Nicola Heywood Thomas Nicola Heywood Thomas | 15:21 UK time, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

It's a big event - the 25th anniversary tour of the mega hit musical Les Miserables starting in Wales and there's a strong Welsh presence in the cast.

I interviewed the star of the show, John Owen Jones, for the Radio Wales arts programme on 10 December and he was in fine form, despite a nightmare five-hour journey to the Wales Millennium Centre from his home outside London. One double espresso later he was his usual ebullient self, telling me how thrilled he was about the brand new production and the great cast.

We sneaked into the theatre to see the set, which looked wonderful but which John said would be even better when complete. I can't share the secret of the other things that are going on to it otherwise Sir Cameron Mackintosh's people wouldn't be happy but, trust me, it sounds spectacular.

John Owen Jones, who's from Burry Port and who discovered his talent for performing in Llanelli Youth Theatre, returns to the leading role of Jean Valjean after really making it his own in the West End and on Broadway.

And he's not the only Welsh singer in the cast. There are eight others, including the main covers or understudies for the two principal male roles of Valjean and Javert. So it proves that holding open auditions for the show in Cardiff a few months ago was very worthwhile for young Welsh performers.

John himself is delighted to be spending Christmas in Wales. In fact he said if Les Mis hadn't been opening at WMC before the UK tour, he would have thought twice about doing the show.

Like many other people, I'm really pleased he's playing Valjean as I never saw him in the West End production but am guaranteed to dissolve into floods of tears whenever I hear his version of the showstopper, Bring Him Home. Can't wait to see the whole thing between now and Christmas.  



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