Dean’s dream role as Les Misérables arrives in Glasgow
HE dreamed of a dream – and landed the role he always wanted to play.
Dean Chisnall is playing Jean Valjean in Les Misérables at the Royal Theater this month, and the actor is in heaven.
“Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve wanted to be in this show, so be there, and play THAT role, which is a pinnacle for male artists – it’s really a dream come true,” he smiles.
“Our opening in Glasgow was absolutely magical, the audience lifted the roof – I’ve never experienced anything like it.
“Everyone – us, the audience, the theater staff – we all missed this and it’s so good to be back, especially in a city that appreciates musical theater so much.”
Growing up in a small village in West Lancashire, opportunities to get involved in theater were rare, Dean says.
“There wasn’t much going on locally, so my parents would take me to Liverpool or Manchester to watch theater, and I loved it,” he says.
“I remember being taken to see Joseph and his amazing dreamy Technicolor coat at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool – I must have been around 10 or 11 years old – and watching in utter and utter amazement.
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“It didn’t seem like something I would be able to do for a career, it was just a pipe dream for me. I liked school but I wasn’t too academic, I liked more practical subjects.
“Then someone, a teacher called Mrs. Fletcher, told me that I had a good voice and that I should try singing… I auditioned for Billy Elliot and got the part, which was. a real shock – and it started from there. ”
Take Off sums it all up – thanks to Ms Fletcher’s good ear for talent, Dean began training at the Arts Educational School in London and has since played a series of coveted West End roles in musicals as diverse as Shrek, Blood Brothers, Mamma Mia and the Take That Never Forget-inspired hit.
“I’m glad I got into the industry like I did – I wasn’t the kind of kid who took drama lessons at age three, or pushed by my parents. He said.
As Jean Valjean, haunted hero of Les Misérables of the French Revolution, Dean feels the weight of responsibility on his shoulders.
It is, after all, a show that has been seen by over 120 million people in 52 countries around the world and its songs – Bring Him Home, I Dreamed a Dream, Do You Hear The People Sing? and more – are adored by fans.
These songs have even in some cases become true revolutionary hymns all over the world where people are fighting for their freedom.
This will be Cameron Mackintosh’s first production to premiere in Glasgow in over 15 years, the last being Miss Saigon at the King’s Theater in 2004.
James Haworth, Theater Director at the Theater Royal, said: “I am extremely happy to host Les Misérables at the Theater Royal and in Glasgow for the first time this Christmas.
“This is such a prestigious and revered musical and the caliber of Cameron Mackintosh’s productions is exceptional. ”
He added: “This will also be Cameron Mackintosh’s first production to come here in over 15 years, which makes the race particularly important to the Theater Royal and the city.
“I look forward to welcoming everyone who will come to see this iconic production. ”
Cameron Mackintosh first designed this acclaimed new production of Les Misérables in 2009 to celebrate the series’ 25th anniversary.
Written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and based on the novel by Victor Hugo, it tells the story of Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after having broken his parole. Jean’s past comes back to haunt him when he decides to take care of the daughter of a factory worker.
“There is always pressure in a show like this, which is so loved and known – I always thought we were just the gatekeepers of these iconic roles and it’s a real privilege to play them. Dean says.
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“But you’re also encouraged to put your own stamp on the role – you were chosen because of your talent and your personality, so you can get a little creative with it, which is a fantastic opportunity.
“This show is over 35 years old but it’s still as fresh as ever and that’s thanks to the new talent and new ideas that come to it with every production.
“Everything is so relevant too – especially in today’s world, where being together, with family, with community, has become so important. ”
He adds: “So when I sing Bring Him Home in a theater in Glasgow, there are 1,500 people there who are reflecting on their own thoughts, relating their own experiences to words, and it’s very powerful.
Les Misérables is at the Théâtre Royal until December 31st.