"Les Misérables"
Voices from the Cast

Our Les Mis page

Here are some candid comments from the cast members asked during the first few days of rehearsal. What their "day job" is, why they're in Heidelberg, their initial thoughts during the audition process and seeing the cast list, and their thoughts and fears about their role and character.
Ask the cast members questions by using our FeedBak form!

Andrew T. Culjak (Valjean) is a secretary for a US Forces headquarters office in Heidelberg. Auditions and Cast List: "I noticed that everyone who came out for this show already had a deep affection for the piece. It wasn't like other auditions where people will come out because they just want to try doing theater, or it's time do do another show. By the time I'd seen the cast list, I had pretty much relegated myself to the chorus-- so I was surprised, shocked, scared." Thoughts & Fears: "Work, work, work, work, work. I am constantly thinking about this role (yes, I'm waking up at three or four in the morning with the songs, blocking, whatever, running around in my head), trying to work completely around the character in order to fill him out and make him as real as possible. Right now may favorite scene is the Robbery where it takes three men to keep me (just barely) from ripping Thenardier apart. I guess this probably typifies what I am trying to show through Valjean: the constant struggle to keep his vow. He is always tempted to take the easy road and has to fight against his instincts to stay the man he has become."

Brendan McGrath (Javert) is active duty Air Force stationed at Sembach Air Force Base, Germany. Auditions and Cast List: "When I first went to auditions, I was slightly intimidated by all the talent. When I saw my name on the call-back list, I was thrilled, but not extremely confident I would get the role of "Javert," my first choice. When I saw the cast list I felt a warm charge of energy through my entire body and I just kept yelling 'YES!' pacing around my dining room." Thoughts & Fears: "There are two musicals I hold dear to my heart: Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Mis. My life dream to be in them is now half complete. I have been on stage with rock bands in front of 1000 drunks, but this is different -- people are scrutinizing your every move and note. I always thought I could be a good Javert, as I really relate to the inner turmoil that this character has. When I watch a musical I am always keen on an actor's ability to express genuine emotion; so when I sing, I try to do just that."

Rebekah Gleason (Eponine) lives in Ansbach, Germany with her husband who is a US Army doctor. Auditions and Cast List: : "Ahhhh...auditions; I was terrified! I was so nervous while I sang my audition song that my body was shaking the entire time. Oddly enough, the same thing happened when I first checked the final cast list on the web site. When I scrolled down to find Eponine's name and I saw my own next to hers, I quite nearly fainted. I have dreamed and worked towards playing this role for over 10 years, and I feel so blessed to have been cast as Eponine!" Thoughts & Fears: "Les Miserables has always been more a religion than a musical to me. When I hear this music I feel it flow through my entire body, and it entrances me in such a way that I must sing with it. I am making Eponine my own and not trying to replicate other actors I have seen or heard sing this role. My focus is to do my very best with the help of God; to do justice to the music and lyrics of Boublil/Schonberg; but most of all to honor Victor Hugo and his creation of these characters and their lives which continue to inspire us all."

Christa Cannon (Cosette) is a bank teller for a US Forces bank; her husband is active duty military; they are stationed in Babenhausen, Germany. Auditions and Cast List: : "I wanted a role so badly -- one of the roles in Les Mis is my Dream Role, and has been for almost 13 years. I wasn't brave enough to look at the cast list when it came out.... a friend told me the results! My reaction? I cried for weeks. I never thought I would ever be considered for Cosette -- there were several other ladies there who could hit those high notes more confidently than I could. But I get to sing with Barry! And have you seen my dresses? They're gorgeous, dahling!" Thoughts & Fears: "Two words: high C. I'm not exactly brave when it comes to the Bb, either!. I'd give anything to have notes that are on the staff!"

Heather Powell (Fantine) came to Germany as a Captain in the US Army Medical Service Corps; she later married Terrence ("fortunately, he doesn't die until later in the play"). She began the rehearsal process on active duty, but separated prior to opening night. "Although we are both out of the Army and Terry is no longer my 'dependant,' I often remind him that I will always be the Captain!" Auditions and Cast List: "I was blessed to be able to audition early as I was traveling Europe and the USA with the US Army Entertainment "Bravo!" touring theater program, so I truly didn't have time to be nervous. I am also blessed to be working with such talented people both experienced and new. It has been a true pleasure."

Ron Paoletti (Thenardier) is the Special Events Coordinator for the US community in Heidelberg. Auditions and Cast List: "At auditions, I remember thinking - who are all these people?! and where did they all come from?! It was incredible (and intimidating!) how much good talent there was! When I read the cast list, I read slowly from the top, trying to keep calm, to not be disappointed. When I saw my name, I was shocked and stunned and elated and giddy and terrified all at once. Still am." Thoughts & Fears: "Thenardier is complex-- initially the drunken fool, yet he's the one truly evil and perverse character of the bunch. It's going to be a challenge to play that range, but that's what makes this role such enjoyable to work. And he's got great songs. But what a thrill just to be part of this incredible cast and creating this premiere. My wife's first comment was (referring to other character roles I've had) 'What sort of good-looking britches do you get to wear this time?!' Can't wait to see!"

Clifford Butler (Enjolras) is a software developer from Austin, Texas, whose company agreed to let him work remotely from Heidelberg so he could be in this show. Auditions and Cast List: "I pre-auditioned while I was here for Christmas vacation, so I had two full months of tense waiting before the casting, fretting over every small thing that might have gone wrong with my audition. The final few days were the worst - spastically checking the web site only to find out that there were callbacks! But everything turned out great, and all that tension turned into sickeningly bubbly excitement." Thoughts & Fears: "I often did comic relief roles or roles with character voices, so it's a very different experience for me to have a role as a leader, and to sing more or less like a singer, rather than an actor out for a laugh. And Enjolras is a relatively visible role, so I worry a little about matching people's expectations of the part, while still adding enough new stuff to make it my own."

Terrence Powell Jr. (Feuilly, others) came to Germany in 1993 with the US Army; later marrying Heather - a fellow US Army Lieutenant at the time ("she dies much too early in this play"), then separating from the Army and staying here as a financial planner for US Forces personnel and their families. Auditions and Cast List: "The audition process was exciting and scary at the same time. I have made wonderful new friends and hope that others have enjoyed my company as much as I have enjoyed theirs."Thoughts & Fears: "I am quite pleased with my roles and would do it all again in a hearbeat. Not many people know that Les Miserables is actually about this young student named Feuilly.......... "

Tom Carberry (Gavroche) is in the 8th grade at Heidelberg American Middle School. Auditions and Cast List: "I couldn't wait - I was all fired up for these auditions. I've spent most of my free time singing songs from Les Mis. I'm thrilled at being part of the cast." Thoughts & Fears: "I'm very happy to be in this show, and I can identify with this character. I also get a big kick out of being on stage with fellow performers from previous productions."

Anneliese Marie Grant (Little Cosette) is a 3rd grade student in the American Elementary School in Heidelberg; her parents are stationed here with the US Army. Auditions and Cast List: "I was very excited and a little nervous about the audition. I was very happy with the final cast list". Thoughts and Fears: "I am honored to be in such a big performance. I am having a wonderful time working with Jim, Jeanne, Andrew, Mary Alice and Hannah. I hope that I will have this privilege again."

Sue Leibfried (Woman Nr. 5, others) is a "loving Mum, busy housewife and child-minder to two strange (?!) children. I am English, and came to Germany 25 years ago to learn German; I have nearly got it now." Auditions and Cast List: "I get very nervous when having to act which is why I only ever audition for the chorus. Lo and behold, when tensely reading (with trembling eyeballs) the list of the chosen cast, not only was I in the chorus but I was Woman Nr. 5 -- I have 4 whole notes to sing all on my own. This could be the beginning of something big." Thoughts and Fears: "Joking aside, I am just so ridiculously proud to have even a small part in the cast, taking part in this so professional theatre production."

Brian Temple (Foreman, Claquesous, others) is a Publicity Specialist with the US Forces Marketing office in Heidelberg. Auditions and Cast List: "Competitive and nerve-wracking! I went in with the "beggars can't be choosers" attitude and was excited to see that I had been cast in six parts -- some with solo work! Thoughts and Fears: "I love playing a convict, a drunk, a randy sailor, and even the slimy foreman. Let's just say that the singing is loads of work, but the characters are fun and hit close to home. Playing a sleaze is a great departure from my private school days."

Regina Rosenberger (Woman Nr. 7, others) is in Heidelberg because of a German boy she met when only three and he was five. In her day job she "wreaks havoc" at German software developer SAP AG. Auditions and Cast List: "The amazing turnout at auditions provided a truer sampling than previous shows of what kind of talent is out there, making it a very humbling experience. When the cast list came out, I went through it very slowly, convincing myself not to be disappointed when I didn't make it. After all, with that kind of competition, just being called back was an achievement in itself. When I did see my name, I had myself SO convinced that I hadn't gotten in, that my mouth literally fell open." Thoughts and Fears: "I am proud to be a member of the chorus and get a thrill every time we rehearse. Seeing Les Misérables on stage was already a special event, but being in it is TRULY a magical experience.

Ed Olson (Constable 1, Drinker 7, others) is a US Army LtCol stationed in Heidelberg with NATO. Auditions and Cast List: "The audition process caused a little anxiety on my part especially when I was told we had to sing. One by one men and women stood upon the stage and belted out their songs. My thoughts were "What the hell am I doing here?!" However, I sang Mariah and no one booed, hissed or threw anything at me (at least nothing reached the stage). A few days later, my wife had taped the cast list on our kitchen cabinets and my name was there for parts in the chorus. I could have been cast as a body in the sewer and that would have been fine with me." Thoughts and Fears: "I am very happy that I am part of the cast for Les Miserables which provides me the opportunity to work with some very talented performers. It is really a hoot and getting better with every rehersal! The constable will be very interesting and being a drinker in the Master of the House scene -- well, that will not be much of a stretch for me."

Marion Ruck (Woman 1 , others) works in a local bank in Heidelberg, and is a software consultant and advisor for internet banking, homebanking, etc. Auditions and Cast List: "I loved the good organization. Jim was more than patient with some people, giving them help and every possible chance. And there were many good singers! I am thrilled and proud!"

Carlos Santiago (Constable 2, Drinker 8, others) is a US Army Captain stationed at the Staff Judge Advocate's office in V Corps Headquarters in Heidelberg. Thoughts and Fears: "My only experience as a performer has been as an "award-winning" karaoke singer at Nepper Tandy's and the occasional "academy award nomination-worthy" performance in court [in my day job]."

Jennifer Santiago (Girl 2, others) is a US Army Captain stationed at the Staff Judge Advocate's office in US Army Europe Headquarters, in Heidelberg. Thoughts and Fears: "I performed in musicals and plays in college and high school, but except for occasional karaoke, have not done anything of a thespian nature since.  After joining the Army, I vowed to try out for community theater and convinced Carlos to do the same.  But it took the Roadside’s production of Les Miserables to motivate us to get involved.  I was nervous at first, but once the pain of auditions was over, the rehearsals have been great fun.  Where else can you be a factory worker, prostitute, drinker, beggar, and wedding guest all in the same show! "

Sylvia Rausch (Woman 4, others) is a teacher with the US Forces middle school in Heidelberg. Auditions and Cast List: "Deja-vu! I recalled another audition years ago in Milwaukee for a summer stock production at which more than 100 people came, and we were allowed to sing our best eight bars! I felt lucky to be chosen and thrilled to again sing with professional voices." Thoughts and Fears: "I'm getting a complex after being cast as a mature (old) woman in the past three Roadside productions! But I'm excited about playing an old prostitute! Old isn't so great, but what fun to play a "shady lady!"

Beatrice Mosley (Wedding Guest, others) is an x-ray tech for the US Army. Auditions and Cast List: "I was extremely nervous, but once I got on stage for some reason I felt better. I was estatic when I saw my name on the callback list. Jim seemed like a great director and I had heard of him, so I was eager to work with him. Thoughts and Fears: "I think the 'lovely lady' was an interesting role for me to be cast in - and I plan on having the most fun with it. I'm excited about all of my roles, whether factory worker or drinker in Master of the House. I plan on making every moment on stage count. I'm in Les Mis!!!"

Mary Jane Brown (Woman 8, others) is a registered nurse who is currently a stay-at-home mom. Auditions and Cast List: "I was very honored to have made the cast. The people who auditioned with me had such awesome talent, and to be part of this cast is unbelieveably exciting and humbling." Thoughts and Fears: "Being in the chorus in Les Mis is really exciting -- you get to be so many different characters! It is a challenge to go from being the "biddy" in At the End of the Day to a disgruntled tavern guest to a mourning mother in Turning. I'm having the most fun I've had in ages!"

Steven Santiago (Jean Prouvaire, others) is an Auditor with the U.S. Army Audit Agency in Mainz Kastel, Germany. Auditions and Cast List: "My first experience through what seemed to me a professional audition. I was first exposed to "Les Miz" through the film version starring Liam Nielson and Geoffrey Rush. A colleague of mine exposed me to its music. I was so enchanted and mystified by it all I stood outside the Imperial Theatre on Broadway in the blistering winter this past Christmas to see it. I recall saying, "wouldn't it be awesome if one of our community theaters staged "Les Miz" and what a lifetime opportunity to be a part of it." Little did I know that the Roadside Theater was on its way to making history. In the past I've dealt well with a director's decision on not casting me, yet I so much wanted to be a part of this adventure I couldn't envision not being in it-- meaning I would've locked myself at home and not come out for days!!! Thank God it didn't come down to that. I am truly grateful for this memorable journey!!!"

Bob Dickerson (Montparnasse, others) is a systems analyst contractor for the US Army in Seckenheim, Germany. Auditions and Cast List: "Auditions are always brutal. After participating in this one, I was simply thrilled to be a part of this incredibly talented cast."

Fidel Enrique Rodriguez (Bamatabois, others) is an administrative assistant with the US Forces, who ".. came to Heidelberg to try something new, explore new opportunities and to travel Europe." Auditions and Cast List: "My initial thought was 'Oh man!' I'm fairly new to auditioning, and I'm extremely happy that I was chosen. What a rush it was to see my name on the final cast list. And hearing the final cast is even more of a rush - this cast is full of talent!" Thoughts and Fears: "Wow! Being cast in a premiere productoin is a great feeling. This will be my first time on stage and, or course, I'm feeling all the emotions, but the excitement is taking over. This is gonna be a great show - can't wait!"

Erin Wendorf ( Beggar, others) is a soldier working as a scheduler for the deputy commanding general of the US Army, Europe. Auditions and Cast List: "I was so excited I made the call backs! I practically bounced around the office. Then to see that I had actually been cast - I was almost speechless." Thoughts and Fears: "It is exciting being a part of everything. The best thing about the chorus is I can go from worker to beggar to prostitute all in one night (and still get a good night's rest!)"

Patrick Young (Guest, others) is a student at Heidelberg American High School. Auditions and Cast List: "I thought, 'I don't stand a chance.' Then, relief!" Thoughts and Fears: "Virtually everyone I know says that they are going to see the show. I hope that the 'best of my abilities' lives up to their expectations."

Shannon O'Brien-Kaszuba (Innkeeper's Wife , others) works for the City Colleges of Chicago-Europe, and is a family member whose husband is stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany. Auditions and Cast List: "I was amazed at the huge interest throughout the community and the number of auditioners. There is a great amount of talent!" Thoughts and Fears: "I was actually happy to be cast as a chorus member because I get to enjoy several different roles within the show. I am excited to see the final production and hear the community's response."

Amanda Perzel (Prostitute, others) works for the USPA & IRA financial planning company, whose husband is a lieutenant in the Army stationed in Mannheim, Germany. Auditions and Cast List: "I am SO very pleased to be part of this show!" Thoughts and Fears: "Both my parents and my husband are proud that I am a whore. I am more, much more than a whore!!"

Quoc Duy Trinh (Joly, others) works for a German mobile communications company in Mannheim, Germany. Auditions and Cast List: "A friend at work told me about auditions at Roadside just some days before they were held. I was thrilled to hear that it was Les Misérables. I fell in love with this wonderful musical the very first time I listened to it. I went to auditoins all alone, with all the little courage I had. Roadside Thaeter has a wonderful cast for this great show and I am very glad that Jim gave me the chance to be a part of it." Thoughts and Fears: "Performing and singing in a musical has always been a dream to me. Now my very special dream has come true. With my gospel choir I have sung in an arena with 17,000 people listening to us, but being on stage with this deeply touching show is one of the most incredible experiences I could imagine. Les Misérables is a big love for me, and I hope I can give all the love it needs to have a great relationship."

Leslie Bord (Prostitute, others) is an active duty Army radiologist stationed in Heidelberg. Auditions and Cast List: "When I saw that Les Mis was being staged here, I knew that I had to audition -- it's my favorite show. I am thrilled to be a part of it."

Justin Chaffee (Student, Sailor, others) is a student at -- in Heidelberg. Auditions and Cast List: "At auditions, I didn't know what to expect. Who would have thought that I would get a part in this just by singing "Jingle Bells?!" Many of the people that I have seen in previoius performances were there so I was a litle intimidated, but I was also unbelieveably confident - I guess because some of my friends were auditioning as well. Jim was also very supportive."

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