Though the show-stopping comedic song is called “Master of the House,” in the new reimagined revival of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Les Misérables, the critics have not overlooked the “mistress of the house” played by SUU Theatre Arts alumna Keala Settle who is winning acclaim as Madame Thérnardier, the scene-stealing villainess. Featuring fresh scenic and narrative elements as well as new orchestrations, the production opened on Broadway, Sunday, March 23, 2014, at New York’s Imperial Theatre to rave reviews.
Partnered with actor Cliff Saunders as Thérnardier, Settle portrays his equally evil and greedy wife, and the duo are winning over critics and audiences with their performances. The Associated Press hails “a masterful ‘Master of The House’ led by the ribald Cliff Saunders and Keala Settle.” Entertainment Weekly proclaims “Cliff Saunders and particularly Keala Settle (Hands on a Hardbody) prove hilariously bawdy scene-stealers as the shady, dog-eat-dog Thénardiers.” Finally the New York Post states “Keala Settle and Cliff Saunders are fantastically funny as the Thénardiers.”
Keala Settle received a 2013 Tony Award nomination for her performance in Hands on a Hardbody on Broadway. Her portrayal of Norma Valverde in the musical also garnered her Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations and a Theatre World Award. Her other Broadway/New York appearances include Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and Violet (Encores). Across the country, she has appeared in the National Tours of South Pacific (Bloody Mary) and Hairspray (Tracy Turnblad). She is recently appeared as the Fortune Teller in Side Show at the La Jolla Playhouse and played the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Ogunquit Playhouse. On television, Keala appeared on Showtime’s The Big C. At SUU, she is best remembered for her terrific performances in the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance productions of South Pacific and Nunsense.
The new production is directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, designed by Matt Kinley (inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo) with costumes by original designer Andreane Neofitou and additional costumes by Christine Rowland, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter and projections by Fifty-Nine Productions. The new version inspired filmmakers to create the recent award-winning film of the same name. The original New York production of Les Misérables premiered at the Broadway Theatre March 12, 1987, and later moved to the Imperial Oct. 17, 1990, where it played until May 18, 2003, for a total Broadway run of 6,680 performances. This marks the third time Les Misérables plays Broadway. Its first revival (staged by the original creative team, including Trevor Nunn and John Caird) was presented in 2006.
The Tony-winning score includes such classics as "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 more. Les Misérables, written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, is based on the 19th-century novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, original adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird and additional material by James Fenton.
For more information about the new Broadway production of Les Misérables, visit LesMis.com.
Photo Credit: Michael Le Poer Trench