July 30, 2008

JLY Heads West for Les Miserables!

July 30th, 2008

Check out Brian Scott Lipton’s Theater.com interview with John Lloyd Young! On August 8, he takes on the role of Marius in a star-studded concert version of Les Miserables at the Hollywood Bowl, alongside Brian Stokes Mitchell, J. Mark McVey, Lea Michele, and Ruth Williamson.TheaterMania spoke with Young before that show’s 10-day rehearsal period about this exciting project and his plans for the future. Here’s a sneak peek at the interview:

THEATERMANIA: How well do you know Les Miserables?
JLY: I’ve been looking at the music again, but it feels like a review of something I fell asleep to when I was 13 years old. I was always interested in Broadway, as an aspirant to be an actor, and cast albums were the only artifact of live theater that were available to me. So I used to listen to Les Miz and Phantom all the time when I was that age. And the first production of the show I saw was in Montreal, directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, who’s directing our concert, which was in English with French supertitles.

TM: Did you always want to play Marius?
JLY: My entire life I have gravitated to doing Marius. When I first got to New York, I had some callbacks to play him on tour, and it was one of my first near-misses. And when this last Broadway revival happened, I felt like I was watching a college production because I had so many friends in the cast, but I had just done Jersey Boys and felt like I would just have to let this dream go to bed. But when I was asked to do this concert, I was able to rekindle my enthusiasm immediately. It’s such a sweeping, romantic role; he’s sensitive and brave at the same time. And he has that one great song, ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.’ If you know me personally, you know those kind of heart-wrenching songs speak to me. I love Fado from Portugal, because it’s described like a knife twisting in your chest. Personally, I would like to do a concert of only ballads, except I’d be afraid of the audience falling asleep.

TM: How are you finding your career options now that you’re a Tony Award winner?
JLY: I think I’m realizing that winning a Tony means you did one thing really well; it doesn’t mean that new things come to you without work or effort. Because of the success of Jersey Boys, there are some things I would avoid doing — like any Mafia-themed thing or a show where I play a falsetto-singer — unless I’d felt it was too stupid to not do it. I do think I need to reeducate some people that I am an actor and not Frankie Valli, but I think anyone who goes through something as big as Jersey Boys has to go through this. I admit it’s a high-class problem.


  1. Dear John,

    I am so happy that you have gotten a role that you always wanted. I know you will be fantastic as Marius. I have seen Les Miz many times and you fit the role very much.
    You are such a great singer and actor I know it will be a wonderful production.In addition you are such a nice person.
    Best Wishes in this endeavor.
    See you soon,

    Comment by viv — July 31, 2008 @ 6:41 am

  2. Hi John,

    Break A Leg with the shows at the Hollywood Bowl. I just wish we could make it there to see the show. We hope to see you back on Broadway very soon. Give Jennifer a hug & kiss for us.

    Stacey & Pete S. From Staten Island NY

    Comment by Stacey — July 31, 2008 @ 6:47 am

  3. John- You will be great in Les Mis.I really wish I could see you. Saw you at Lincoln Center in February,you were the best! You will not put people to sleep if you sing ballads.Good Luck in California!

    Comment by THEA — July 31, 2008 @ 8:00 am

  4. John, You and Jen look wonderful, I’m so glad you’re having such a good time!

    Wish I could be there next week, but my heart will be at the Hollywood Bowl.

    Take care John Lloyd, see you soon I hope.


    Comment by Jody Cardillo — July 31, 2008 @ 8:21 am

  5. I’m very excited and can’t wait until next week. I have tickets for the Saturday night performance!

    Comment by Brenda — July 31, 2008 @ 9:18 am

  6. Thea, you and I think a lot alike. I just came on to comment (after reading John’s interview) that I wouldn’t even become drowsy, if John did a ballad only concert. I’d be wide eyed and bushy tailed!!

    John, I know you’ll be great and I’m so jealous I won’t be there. Enjoy! And, don’t get to comfy cozy on the west coast.

    J ust L ove Y ou, Grace xoxoxoxoxox

    Comment by grace — July 31, 2008 @ 10:02 am

  7. A great interview. Congrats again on the role of “Marius” in Les Miz – very excited to see you onstage at the Hollywood Bowl (one of my favorite places). It’s already been said, but I would never fall asleep to a concert of ballads sung by you. :)

    Comment by Karen — July 31, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

  8. John, as always I wish the best for you. I saw Les Miz last year when I was a chaperone on a Youth Mission Trip. I was so tired and could hardly stay awake…(thank goodness the gunshot and cannons kept startling me, LOL)…and then I heard “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”. What a powerhouse song…a ballad filled with such emotion. I can only imagine hearing you sing it at the Hollywood Bowl, and hope you incorporate it in your next concert. Savor the experience, have fun visiting with Jen, enjoy your time onstage again as much as your fans enjoy seeing and hearing you once again. Lulu

    Comment by Lulu Thompson — July 31, 2008 @ 1:39 pm

  9. Nice interview, as always. It made me think back to my own preteen memories- listening to show LPs (and intently ‘moving’ about the living room to songs like “I Could Have Danced All Night”). John Lloyd has memories of falling asleep to great music, but I have to agree with the other comments… rest assured JL, you can have a concert of any genre and we, in the audience, will be wide awake, on the edge of our seat, and with a huge smile on our face!

    Comment by Audrey — August 1, 2008 @ 6:45 am

  10. You and Jennifer will have quite a cheering section next weekend, JLY. In fact, thanks to the wonderful Linda Soo Hoo, Stubbleyou and I will be sitting next to each other (yeah, yeah, we’ll lift up the armrest between the seats!) So now you guys will know where all the entrance applause is coming from.

    I know my 3000 mile trip will be worth it, not only to witness the amazing talent of you and Jen, but to see how long your hair really is!!! (C’mon, you don’t really look like Arlo Guthrie in the 70′s now, do you??)

    Not to worry, Grace (comment #6), I haven’t forgotten your request, so the success thereof now rests with JLY! And I sense you’re wide-eyed and bushy-tailed even when you’re sleeping!!

    Comment by Howard — August 1, 2008 @ 11:41 am

  11. Howard,
    I’m Brenda from comment #5. I’ve been a fan of JB since the first performances in LaJolla. Which performance are you going to next week at Hollywood Bowl? If it’s Saturday, is there any way we could arrange to meet? I would love to personally thank you for all the updates and insights you have provided and to meet someone else who’s as crazy about this show as I am.

    Comment by Brenda — August 1, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  12. Hey, John.
    How’ve you been? :)
    I was just reading your interview…believe me: audiences would NEVER fall asleep during ANY kind of your performances: ballads, sold-out concerts, musicals, you name it. You are one talented and special person, and I’d give anything to see you perform…but don’t worry about people falling asleep, okay? Cause that will never happen.
    Trust me.

    Comment by Beth L. — August 2, 2008 @ 1:27 am

  13. Hi Brenda and thanks for the kind words. Yes, I shall be at the Saturday evening performance and would love to meet you and share some memories. I’ll be arriving late on Friday night and staying at the nearby Holiday Inn. Please drop me an e-mail at [email protected] and we can strategize.

    Lulu, it was great seeing you last Sunday on the bus tour, and sorry you won’t make it to Les Miz this time. If you had, you would see Stubbleyou and me together, so there will be no more speculation about Superman-Clark Kent, Batman-Bruce Wayne, or Spider-man-Peter Parker, although admittedly Stubbleyou does use some Spider-man moves to get to the head of the line at the stage door.

    Brenda, looking forward to hearing from you.

    Comment by Howard Tucker — August 2, 2008 @ 10:23 am

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