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New voice joins Les Mis party

There will be at least one latecomer to the party when Les Miserables celebrates its first birthday in the West End tomorrow.

Jayne Draper has joined the cast of the hit musical just in time for the festivities.

Every performance at the Palace Theatre, where the RSC show transferred after three months at the Barbican has played to a capacity audience. It is now booking through September next year.

Jayne, 24, took over the role of Eponine this week. Her first stage appearance that doesn't require her to dance.

Trained as a dancer, she appeared in many Arlene Philips productions, pop videos, and with Pan's People, before joining another West End success, Cats.

She said: "Les Miserables is a bit gransition for me. I have had singing lessons for years but I have concentrated on dancing.

"Now I'm extending my career because you can't be a dancer all your life although I never want to leave it completely.

"I'd like to be able to combine singing and dancing in some way".

Eponine is killed at the barricades in revolutionary Paris while on a selfless mission for the man she loves.

The part was previously taken by Frnaces Ruffelle, who together with Colm Wilkinson is preparing for the show's opening in Washington on December 27, followed by Broadway in March.

In London Dave Willetts now portrays Victor Hugo's charismatic hero Jean Valjean.

Jayne is delighted that cast changes have given her this opportunity. She said: "I'm thoroughly enjoying it. It's been hard graft."

Lynda Murdin, Evening Standard


Copyright © 2002 M. Kniestedt. All rights reserved.