David Shannon returns to Les Miserables as Jean Valjean

Ramin Karimloo finished up his four-month run as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Saturday and on 18th June 2012, Barcelona’s current Valjean Geronimo Rauch makes his West End debut in the same role; taking up the mantle in between these two outstanding performers however is the equally outstanding David Shannon, who takes to the stage of the Queen’s Theatre for his first performance tonight.

Shannon has a long history with the show: it gave him his first professional job in the UK and Ireland touring production where he played the ensemble roles of Pimp/Claquesous and understudied Marius and Enjolras, and he was also involved in the 10th Anniversary concert at the Royal Albert Hall. A former Valjean too, tonight marks his return to the Queen’s Theatre after a two-year absence and there will be a lot of Les Mis fans who will be thrilled to see him back there.

Les Miserables is not the only area of theatre he can boast achievements in though. Shannon has a long list of theatre credits to his name, including having played both leading roles of Raoul and the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera – in what looks to be becoming a bit of a pattern, he took over the role of the Phantom from Ramin Karimloo then too, who left to play the progressed version of the role in Phantom sequel Love Never Dies. His other West End credits include Chris in Miss Saigon (Theatre Royal Drury Lane/UK & Ireland tour), The Man in Whistle Down the Wind (Aldwych Theatre), Rum Tum Tugger in Cats (New London Theatre), Guillaume in Martin Guerre (Prince Edward Theatre), Gringoire in Notre Dame de Paris (Dominion Theatre) and originating the role of John in The Beautiful Game (Cambridge Theatre), which earned him an Olivier Award nomination in 2011 for ‘Best Actor in a Musical’. Further theatre credits include the title role in Sweeney Todd (Gate Theatre, Dublin), Captain Walker in Tommy (Offenbach Theatre, Germany), Rick in A Slice of Saturday Night (Dublin Andrews Lane), Danny in Baby (Meralco, Manila) and Anatoly in Chess (Oslo Spektrum). Shannon has also been involved in a number of workshops and CD recordings and has a long list of concert credits to his name, featuring in such stage extravaganzas as Jesus Christ Superstar (Judas and Jesus), RNSO Proms West End Gala in Glasgow and 80 Years of Abbey Road, to name a few, and narrowly missed out on representing Ireland in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest with his song Language of Love, in which he duetted with Una Gibney.

Shannon has been steadily rising through the ranks of the West End scene and has now firmly rooted himself as an established West End name and fan favourite. He released his debut album, ‘Til I Hear You Sing in 2011, on which he performed a variety of music genres, from musical theatre to pop and swing/jazz. A strong performer with a versatile voice, Shannon has already proven that he is more than equipped to handle the challenging role of ex-convict Jean Valjean, and from 3rd April-16th June 2012, a whole host of new fans can come on down to the Queen’s Theatre to see for themselves.

Our previous interview with David Shannon

By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)

Updated 27th November 2015

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