When Les Misérables says au revoir to Australia on Sunday, many of the cast will continue with the show through Asia. Helpmann Award winner Simon Gleeson (Valjean) will lead the cast for seasons in Manila and Singapore from March and will be joined by Chris Durling (Enjolras), Emily Langridge (Cosett) and fellow Helpmann Award winner Kerrie Anne Greenland (Eponine). Many other Australian company members, cast and crew will also be continuing their Les Mis journey on the Asian tour.
Australia’s Fantine, Patrice Tipoki, will reprise her role in London’s West End production from February until May, when she will then join the Singapore production.
Hayden Tee, however, will leave Brisbane and go straight to Broadway, where he will continue his incredible portrayal of Javert from February.
New York is actually home to Hayden Tee. Born in New Zealand, Tee moved to Australia at the age of 18 and trained at NIDA. However, having toured the world and performed in various countries, Tee considers himself to be “a citizen of the world”.
This production was not the first time Tee had performed in Les Misérables. He performed the role of Marius for a year in London’s West End production for their 20th anniversary.
Tee had already read the original Victor Hugo novel, but reread the book to prepare for this current role as Javert. He’s now read this classic novel three times. For anyone who’s read the book, or attempted to, will know, this is an impressive feat in itself. As a result, Tee knows his character intimately.
“Javert is completely misunderstood. He is not a villain at all,” said Tee, adding, “In all honesty, I think he actually is right. He’s just a man doing his job and he’s a man who believes there should be consequences for what you do.
“If we were to break it down, from Javert’s point of view, he doesn’t realise the interaction that has happened with the Bishop, that he’s changed Valejan’s life. As far as he sees it, Valjean stole a loaf of bread and then, in the book, he repeatedly keeps escaping from prison. He jumps off boats and swims to shore. He always breaks away and that’s why he’s been in there for 19 years. He should’ve been in there for 5, but it keeps getting extended. I mean, come on dude. Just do your time and then you can go home!” Tee exclaimed.
Tee also read extensively on the religion of the time in Paris, the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer.
“Javert, particularly, is very driven by faith,” said Tee. “He’s very black and white.”
He also read about Eugène François Vidocq, a French criminalist, who is considered to be the father of modern criminology and the first private detective, on whose life Victor Hugo is thought to have based the character of Javert.
“That’s really fascinating, I like to find someone else outside the book as a reference for material,” explained Tee.
It’s not surprising that Tee’s portrayal of Javert earned him a Green Room Award and a Theatre People Pro Choice Award for ‘Best Individual Performance’.
The Australian season of Les Misérables closes this Sunday and tickets are still available for the final shows. If you haven’t seen it, this is your last chance to see this exceptional cast of international quality in this award winning production.
If you’re not in Brisbane, it’s much cheaper than a flight to New York!
For more information and tickets: http://www.lesmis.com.au/
Photo credit: James Terry, Matt Murphy.