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Nick Cartell

Nick Cartell

Nick Cartell said he's happy to be starring in the role of Jean Valjean in the hit musical "Les Miserables."

"It's such an honor and a privilege to get to perform the role. It's one of the most iconic roles in musical theater," Cartell said.

"Les Miserables" continues through Oct. 29 at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre. Cartell said the "Les Miserables" story line is also a classic as it tells the story of lead character and convict Valjean in 19th century France. The production, based on the Victor Hugo novel, talks of forgiveness, reaching for dreams, the sadness of unrequited love, survival and the passions of life.

The musical, by Claude-Michele Schonberg and Alain Boublil, features many memorable songs. "Being able to sing these songs is wonderful," Cartell said. Music in "Les Miserables," Cartell said, has "stood the test of time."

Cartell said he and his fellow cast members have "fallen in love" with the score that they perform nightly.

The current touring rendition of "Les Miserables" is a new production. The actor added it's exciting to have the show back on the road in a new rendition for audiences. "Les Miserables"  first debuted in 1985.

"It's great to (bring) a new vision of the tour to a whole new generation of audience (members) who haven't experienced it," he said.

Cartell said young fans are waiting at the stage door after shows to tell cast members how much they're enjoying the show. "The younger generations are still loving it," he said.

The actor said the cast started rehearsals in August in New York for this current tour.

Cartell has long been a fan of "Les Miserables."

"It was on the bucket list of shows I've wanted to do," he said, adding at one point he did a regional theater production of the show and played the role of Marius.

Cartell said Chicago is one of his favorite cities to perform in. His wife is from Michigan and they've visited the Windy City often.

"I also performed in Chicago on the 'Phantom' tour," he said.

Cartell has performed in various Broadway and touring productions including "Cirque du Soleil's Paramour," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "My Fair Lady," "The Light in the Piazza" and more.

FYI: "Les Miserables" will be performed through Oct. 29 at Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. For tickets prices and more information, visit


Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.