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Meet Some of the Lovely Ladies of Les Mis!

April 8, 2008

You've been waiting patiently for more casting scoops, and here they are - the women of Les Misérables. The Walnut is excited to bring many beloved familiar faces back to its stage as well as to welcome exciting newcomers for this epic production. Casting has just been completed and here is the inside dish on some of the talented actresses on stage at the Walnut this summer.

Playing the larger-than-life Madame Thénardier is Dawn Spence. Dawn comes to us from London, where she just finished a UK tour as Velma Kelly in Chicago. She also had the unique opportunity to perform alongside Patti Lupone in the original London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard.

The sweet and loveable ingénue Cosette will be brought to life by Julie Craig, a proud native of Erie, PA. Off-Broadway, Julie was the last person to play Luisa in The Fantasticks before the show closed forever. You may have also seen her falling deep into forbidden love as Maria in the international tour of West Side Story.

Christina DeCicco is a recognizable face to Walnut audiences and she is sure to capture Philadelphia's heart again with her performance as Eponine. You will probably remember her pure-as-silk voice in Beauty and the Beast (Belle) and West Side Story (Maria), not to mention her scene-stealing performance in the world premiere of La Vie En Bleu, all here at the Walnut. She also gave memorable performances as she took flight as Glinda in the national touring production of Wicked.

Jessica Bogart (nee Boevers) is also no stranger to the Walnut, with leading roles in The Philadelphia Story (Tracy Lord) and My Fair Lady (Eliza Doolittle). She will return to Philadelphia this summer as the virtous Fantine. On Broadway, she has appeared in such notable shows as Rent (Maureen), Les Misérables (Eponine), Oklahoma! (Ado Annie) and Beauty and the Beast (Belle).

Joining the outstanding ensemble cast are three of the Walnut's favorite performers, Denise Whelan, Katie O'Shaughnessey and Mary Martello. Denise was a hit at the Walnut as the sultry siren Aldonza in last fall's Man of La Mancha. Audiences may also recognize her face from many other Walnut productions including Molly Malloy in Windy City and Lucy in The Thing About Men. Her work has been recognized with a Barrymore Award nomination for her performance as Beggar Woman in The Arden's production of Sweeney Todd. Katie O'Shaughnessey has been seen in more than a dozen performances on the Walnut mainstage in the last few years. Her roles at the Walnut include Nettie in Carousel, Anytime Annie in 42nd Street, and Grizabella in Cats. Mary Martello's most memorable performances on the Walnut stage include Mrs. Mullin in Carousel, Grace Farrel in Annie Warbucks and Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast. You may also have seen her locally in Stormy Weather at the Prince and Sweeney Todd at the Arden, a performance for which she was awarded a Barrymore award for her portrayal of Mrs. Lovett.

The actresses mentioned above are just a few examples of the broad range of talent from Philadelphia and elsewhere being brought together for the Walnut Street Theatre's landmark original production of The World's Most Popular Musical, Les Misérables. More to come!