Welsh star of stage John Owen Jones to head 25th anniversary tour of Les Misérables

Welsh musical star John Owen Jones will play Jean Valjean in the 25th anniversary production of Les Misérables, Cameron Mackintosh, the world-famous theatre producer, has announced.

The new production of the world’s longest running musical opens at Wales Millennium Centre on 11 December 2009 for a month-long run before embarking on a major UK and international tour. When it went on sale in Cardiff it broke all previous first-day-sale box office records held at the Centre.

The Burry Port singer and actor will be joined on stage by Gareth Gates in the role of Marius and Earl Carpenter as Javert.

Broadway and West End star John Owen Jones was recently hailed by the New York Post as the best Jean Valjean since Colm Wilkinson. He has starred in both West End and Broadway versions of the show and is the youngest actor ever to play Valjean after winning the role at the age of 26. John – who started his career with Llanelli Youth Theatre – has also appeared as The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre where he gained the record of the West End’s longest-running Phantom.

Gareth Gates needs no introduction. A multi million selling popstar who still has the second best selling single this decade, more recently he has played the title role of Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre and was a semi finalist in Dancing on Ice 2008.

Earl Carpenter who is currently playing Javert in the West End production of Les Misérables has also starred as The Phantom in the West End as well as the starring role of Darryl Van Horne in The Witches of Eastwick at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

The production will have spectacular new designs inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, who wrote the book on which the musical is based. The magnificent score of Les Misérables includes the songs, I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Stars, Bring Him Home, Do You Hear the People Sing?, One Day More, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Master Of The House and many more.

Les Misérables originally opened in London at the Barbican Theatre on 8 October 1985, transferred to the Palace Theatre on 4 December 1985 and moved to its current home at the Queen’s Theatre on 3 April 2004 where it continues to play to packed houses. When Les Misérables celebrated its 21st London birthday on 8 October 2006, it became the World’s Longest Running Musical, surpassing the record previously held by Cats in London’s West End.

This new production will be directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell and designed by Matt Kinley inspired by the works of Victor Hugo and John Napier. Original costumes by Andreane Neofitou, lighting by Paule Constable and sound by Mick Potter.

Les Misérables will be at Wales Millennium Centre from 11 December 2009 – 16 January 2010. For more information, or to book tickets, call the box office on 08700 40 2000 or visit www.wmc.org.uk

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