See the iconic musical, Les Misérables, at Altria Theater – eight shows, Wednesday, March 22 through Sunday, March 26.
Most of the time, Virginia-born actor Ben Cherington doesn’t know if he will take the stage for Tony Award-winning Les Misérables until a few days, hours, or even minutes before the curtain goes up. And he never knows which one of eleven male ensemble roles he will be assuming until he gets the nod.
Cherington is a swing, covering all of the male ensemble members for the blockbuster show.
“You go on for any one of them at a moment’s notice. You have to be ready whenever,” says Cherington, who is a native of Fairfax Station in Northern Virginia.
Learning all eleven roles is very difficult, he adds. “Sometimes, the first time you are doing some of these roles is during a performance in front of an audience with costumes and lights. You have to dive in.”
Performing different roles is like a puzzle for him and each time he fills in, he gets to add a “few more puzzle pieces,” he says. “It’s a mind bender to say the least.”
So far, he’s performed seven of the eleven roles since joining the show early last October. “That’s the fun of it – the transformation of all these different roles and how they live in each performer’s body,” he says, adding that one of the biggest compliments he gets from a cast member is that he “keeps the show going.”
The World-wide Popularity of Les Misérables
Set during the tumultuous 19th century in France, Les Misérables, playing Altria Theater March 22 through March 26, tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice, and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. This epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history.
Seen by more than 130 million people worldwide in fifty-three countries and performed in twenty-two languages, Les Misérables has an incredible score that includes “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Bring Him Home,” “Do You Hear The People Sing?,” “One Day More,” “Master of the House,” and many more.
Cherington has always wanted to “be part of the production,” he says. He knew he wanted to be involved in the arts when he was young, but he didn’t know it would be in the realm of theater until he was in fourth grade.
“Growing up, I wanted more than anything to direct a Star Wars movie. That was my be all and end all,” he says.
But, then he auditioned for Seusical Jr. when he was in fourth grade and found his passion.
“I knew this is what I should do,” he says.
Cherington got involved in singing and theater and ended up going to the Metropolitan School of the Arts in Alexandria.
“I was lucky to be in Virginia because there are so many outlets for classes, lessons, etc. where you can be around other young people who were as excited about it as I was,” says Cherington, who got his bachelor’s degree in acting from Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama in 2020 where he received the Adelyne Roth Levine Memorial Award in acting.
He learned he had gotten a role in Les Misérables in early summer of last year.
“To be on tour and be on a show I love and care about, it couldn’t have been a better outcome,” he says. “It felt like a great fit. I was able to walk in the room and know the music because I’ve had the melodies in my head for a decade. I feel like I have something to share by sharing this material.”
The show has something for everyone, he adds. “I don’t know if there is anyone out there that can walk in the theatre and not feel like they have latched onto something. The show connects with people throughout stages of life.”
He’s enjoying touring the country. “It’s a real blessing to connect with people and new audiences,” he says. “People are so excited about this show. You can’t ask for a warmer welcome than we receive.”
Les Misérables Actor Loves Richmond
Even though he grew up in Northern Virginia, Cherington has spent lots of time in Richmond. He’s thrilled to be performing at Altria Theater, which he has passed by while in the city for years.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in Richmond because my older sister went to VCU for both her undergraduate degree and her master’s degree,” he says. “I have a sister who goes to VCU now.”
The family also spent time in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and their trips to and from always included a stop in Richmond.
“I also had friends growing up who have ended up in Richmond,” he says. “I’m really excited to be back.”
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Les Misérables runs at Altria Theater Wednesday, March 22 through Sunday, March 26. For showtimes and tickets, go here.