A new staging of Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical Les Misérables returns to Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre from December 13.
Hailed as “Les Mis for the 21st Century”, the presentation features scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, the magnificent score of Les Misérables includes the songs I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Bring Him Home and One Day More.
Among the Les Misérables cast is 26-year-old Samuel Wyn-Morris as Enjorlas. Samuel hails from Llanelli and is a first language Welsh Speaker. His previous theatrical experience includes Alan Ayckbourn’s Ensemble in The Divide at the Old Vic Theatre as well as Feuilly / Understudy Jean Valjean & Enjolras in Les Misérables and Les Misérables – The Staged Concert at the Sondheim Theatre.
Samuel chats to Andy Howells about Les Misérables.
Hi Samuel, you’re back on home ground for the latest UK tour of Les Misérables. How do you feel about that?
I’m looking forward to it. It’s the first time I’ll be playing in Wales since I left home (Llanelli) in 2014 to go to college. So, it’s quite special and to come back and play a theatre as large and renowned as the Wales Millennium Centre. It’s going to be quite emotional and I’m looking forward to it a great deal, especially with family and friends out there (in the audience) watching, some of them for the first time.
How did you get into the world of musical theatre?
It all started for me back in 2012 -2013, when I was 16-17 years of age, I heard a local guy just over from Buryport called John Owen Jones sing a song from Les Misérables and I thought, “I’d quite like to do that.”
I went into school and one of the music teachers was playing Les Mis, I sang, and I thought, “This is what I want to do with my life!”
Tell us about your theatrical journey to Les Misérables
A lot of it has been concert work. I’m a founding member of the Loud Applause Rising Stars, a charity set up by Kenneth Owens that gives young performers from South Wales the opportunity to be platformed alongside Wales’ leading choirs and artists. What it does s bring the performance to a larger capacity of house and audience. That was a great first-step into the performing world for me.
From there, it was drama school and The Guildford School of Acting, then it all went quiet after I graduated, and I had that kind of Jobbing actor thing of which you work in a bar or do whatever you can do to get by.
Then, the opportunity came where I got a two-week gig at The Old Vic. 18 months later, I managed to get a role in the Les Mis’ ensemble (at The Sondheim Theatre), while covering the role I play now Enjorlas and Valjean.
When the pandemic hit and shut everything down, we came back and played concerts with a socially distanced audience and cast, singing out into a microphone, still delivering the show, but more as a rock concert.
After the pandemic, I finally got my debut going on as the understudy for Enjorlas, a few weeks later Cameron MacKintosh called me up and asked me if I’d like to take up the role on a UK tour and here I am to this day still doing it.
You must really have a passion to be immersed in Les Misérables?
Absolutely! I think it’s almost impossible to be from Wales and not have some affinity with Les Misérables. It seems to have a hook on us. Whether it’s the kind of revolutionary thing, where it’s deeply political but also deeply community based. It’s about love for another man and if you think of the South Wales valleys, the Tin Plate towns, and the coal industry particularly, it is love for the common man and the common good of humanity. I think that’s what really brings Welsh people towards the show. It’s also got a lot of great singing in it and numbers that deliver a punch which we tend to love in Wales.
What are Les Misérables stand-out moments for you without giving too much away?
Phenomenal voices, great storytelling, and it’s a story everybody can connect with. That’s one of the lasting principles of the show and I think that’s why it has gone on for so long.
For me, looking at the other performers of whom I’m honoured to share the stage with every night, Dean Chisnall as Jean Valjean singing Bring Him Home is quite special, you can literally hear a pin-drop in the house. We have a towering 6 foot 7, Javert (Nic Greenshields) who is phenomenal.
How have you found the audience reactions?
I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve experienced both kinds of audiences. London audiences are vastly different to regional audiences. They still get so excited and so passionate, even after all the years the shows been running for. It still gets the same response, standing ovations most nights.
Its something you can’t get your head around. You see people leaving the theatre in floods of tears or messaging you via social media platforms on how much the show means to them or a loved one. It resonates and makes your ears prick up because you realise your part of something far bigger here. To go and deliver a story every night like we do is phenomenal.
And of course, performing in Wales, you’ll be home for Christmas!
This will be the first year, since I started, except for the year we were locked down for Christmas, that I’ll get to spend it back home. I’m quite excited, as it will be a short 70-mile journey to Llanelli, west from Cardiff to spend Christmas with the family.
- Les Misérables runs at Wales Millennium Centre’s Donald Gordon Theatre from December 13, 2022, until January 14, 2023. For ticket availability visit Wales Millennium Centre’s website.
- Interview with Dean Chisnall & Nic Greenshields about Les Miserables