Although Lea Salonga, the Tony Award-winning star of Miss Saigon, wasn't set to start playing Fantine in Les Miserables until next Tuesday, March 6, she'll be getting an early start. Salonga will play her first performance in the show tonight, March 2. Click to see exclusive rehearsal video of Salonga in the role!
Original revival star Daphne Rubin-Vega left the production on February 18 to star in the off-Broadway play Jack Goes Boating at the Public Theater. Ensemble members Nikki Renée Daniels and Haviland Stillwell have both played the role of Fantine since Rubin-Vega's departure.
At age 17, Philippines native Salonga catapulted to international stage stardom when she was chosen to star as Kim in the 1989 London world premiere of Boublil and Schonberg's Miss Saigon, produced by Mackintosh. She won an Olivier Award for Best Actress and went on to win a Tony when she reprised her performance on Broadway. Salonga returned to Miss Saigon twice during the show's near decade-long run. She became the first Asian actress ever to play Eponine on Broadway in Les Miserables, reprising that performance in the London production, in Hawaii, and in the legendary 10th Anniversary Concert at London's Royal Albert Hall.
In addition to Salonga, Les Miserables stars Alexander Gemingnani as Jean Valjean, Norm Lewis as Javert, Celia Keenan-Bolger as Eponine, Ali Ewoldt as Cosette, Adam Jacobs as Marius, Aaron Lazar as Enjolras, Gary Beach as Thenardier and Jenny Galloway as Madame Thendardier.