The man who knows Les Mis better than anyone!

J. Mark McVey has played Jean Valjean in Les Misérablés more than 3,000 times! When LSY!'s Francesca Harvey and Natalie Brophy caught up with him on the Les Mis national tour, Mark was performing in the show with his daughter Kylie, who played young Cosette.Photo by Tim O'Shei

J. Mark McVey has played Jean Valjean in Les Misérablés more than 3,000 times! When LSY!’s Francesca Harvey and Natalie Brophy caught up with him on the Les Mis national tour, Mark was performing in the show with his daughter Kylie, who played young Cosette.
Photo by Tim O’Shei

Lately the musical Les Misérables has been generating quite a buzz thanks to the release of the film-adaptation. But if you think you’re a Les Mis expert, think again…

J. Mark McVey has played Jean Valjean in the musical Les Mis over 3,000 times!

For Mark, playing Valjean is more than just a role in a musical. He strongly believes in the message that Les Mis gives people.

The character of Valjean is an ex-convict, turned mayor and inventor, who feels responsible for the death of Fantine, a young mother who worked in his factory. He takes care of her daughter, Cosette, after rescuing her from the cruel treatment she received from the Thenardiers family.

“This is an extremely important message of redemption and grace and of hope and it’s something that’s necessary,” says Mark, who prays before every show and asks the Lord for help in delivering the message of the show to the audience.

Last year, Les Mis became a family matter for Mark when he was given the opportunity to act in the national stage tour alongside his youngest daughter, Kylie McVey.

“My agent called and asked if I was even interested in doing this, I’ve done it almost 3,000 times,” Mark told LSY! “And I said, ‘Yeah, sure. I think this is a great message’”

Once Mark landed the role of Valjean, his daughter Kylie, as well as his oldest daughter Grace, both auditioned for the show.

“Grace was told that she was too tall and Kylie was told that she was too small,” said Mark.

Even though neither of the girls had gotten a part in the musical (yet!) they still joined their father in Los Angeles during their summer vacation. This is when Kylie was given the opportunity to act with her dad. Another girl dropped out of the ensemble, and Kylie was asked to fill in for her. A few months later, she was offered the part of young Cosette.

“It’s been a true blessing to have family on a tour like this,” says Mark when asked what it’s like to be performing with his daughter. “These are grueling schedules; you’re working eight shows a week.”

“I like being on Broadway with all my family, it makes me more comfortable,” says Kylie. “It feels like he’s home and I’m home.”

For Mark, being on stage isn’t simply fun and games — it’s a serious business.

“Acting and performing comes from the heart,” he says. “You have to really love art. You have to really love to sing and really love to act.”

And Kylie’s advice?

“Keep practicing!”

— Natalie Brophy, LSY! television editor, Mount St. Mary Academy

Comments

  1. I go to school with Kylie now! She’s so nice and sweet, really pretty and is a talented actress, violinist and singer.

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