Sunday, May 16, 1999

'Les Miz' actor is voice of young Darth Vader

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A wee fringe benefit you pick up watching Les Miz at the Aronoff through today: The voice, but not the face, of Anakin Skywalker, the lad who grows up to be Darth Vader in Phantom Menace.

        That was the talk at Westminsters' at the cast party.

        Turns out George Lucas cast young Jake Lloyd in the Anakin role, because he loved the kid's look but had problems with the voice. So he recruited 11-year-old Harley Adams, here doing Gavroche, to dub Lloyd's voice.

        Lucasfilm isn't talking (getting someone at that place to admit that water's wet is an ordeal), but the Les Miz cast is.

        Young Adams was at the cast party but not talking much, because he was busy playing pool. He was the youngest one there but the last to leave — at 1:30 a.m. or so.

        Yeah, he's the voice, confirmed cast member Todd Alan Johnson (Javert). Yep, confirmed Van Ackerman, Broadway series manager.

        One more cast party tidbit: chorus member Ben Davis found out at 5 p.m. that he was going on as Marius. Little warning, little rehearsal.

        He did manage 45 minutes rehearsal before hand, and did bring his script to the cast party so he could study lines before the next show.

        PULLING TRUCKS: Wouldn't you just hate to be this guy's dentist? Rocco Castellano we mean.

        The guy's always pulling things, like buses, with his teeth.

        Castellano, recall, is the former boxer turned personal trainer who runs Rocco's Personal Training. He was booked to pull a bus with his teeth last July before the Cincinnati Opera's Samson and Delilah,but had to pull with his arms on account of he had a root canal the day before and couldn't chomp.

        This year, he thinks will be different: Shifting focus from the opera to Chilifest, (Aug. 7, 8) he's planning on pulling a fire engine with his teeth to celebrate the open ing.

        Times, locations and a response from Castellano's long-suffering dentist are still up in the air.

        'MORNING, WORLD: The world will see a lot of Cincinnati in the next couple of weeks.

        Specifically, they'll see it on CBS This Morning in the 8:20-8:25 a.m. segment — the one where folk say hello from their hometown. Producer Hal Glicksman was here in early April shooting wakeup calls.

        So what we had Thursdaywas Xavier University presi dent the Rev. Jim Hoff saying howdy from XU. Next up, Johnny Bench gives the high sign May 20 from Cinergy Field (out by the wall with the retired jerseys.)

        On May 26, we get Coco the talking bird from the zoo, followed by John Geiser at Izzy's on Elm on June 4.

        Additionally, Glicksman has footage, still unscheduled, of two more hellos from the zoo, two from Findlay Market and two from XU.

        Psst! appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.


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