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Bring Him Home: Broadway star and Philly native Hugh Panaro cast as Jean Valjean!

February 28, 2008

From Philly to Broadway and back again, Hugh Panaro returns to his hometown.

Philadelphia, PA: The Walnut Street Theatre is proud to announce the casting of Broadway veteran and Philadelphia native Hugh Panaro as Jean Valjean in our upcoming production of the world's most popular musical, Les Misérables.

The Walnut's all-new production of Les Misérables will start on May 13, open May 21, and has just been extended by popular demand to August 3, 2008.

Hugh Panaro is celebrated as one of Broadway's leading tenors. Born in Philadelphia, Hugh served as a church organist at Saint Helena's Roman Catholic Church during high school and studied music at Temple University (BA in voice, class of '85). One of Hugh's first professional roles was right here at The Walnut Street Theatre for the 1986 production of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music.

In 1988, Hugh originated the role of Marius Pontmercy in the first national touring production of Les Misérables, moving up to the Broadway company several months later. He was then moved on to play Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera, also on Broadway Subsequent roles included Gaylord Ravenal in Show Boat (Broadway, Toronto, and London) and Buddy Foster in the original production of Side Show.

After numerous productions both on and off-Broadway, Hugh returned to play the Phantom in 2003. Hugh fast became one of the most popular actors ever to fill the role, remaining with the show until October 2005. His next role was that of the seductive vampire Lestat in the Elton John musical of the same name, based on Anne Rice's works. Recently, Hugh has performed at a number of theatre benefits across the country, and last summer was a featured part of Barbara Streisand's first European Tour.

We are proud to welcome Hugh Panaro back to Philadelphia, where his love for theatre began. He is a treasure of the American stage, a versatile leading man who will bring his energy and raw talent to the Walnut's new production of Les Misérables.