Star of 'Les Miserables' returns home for Tempe performance

Valley native Nick Cartell "dreamed a dream" and it came true.

The Arizona State University theatre graduate is now starring as Jean Valjean in the Broadway touring production of "Les Miserables," which opens tonight at his alma mater.

"You know, 'Le Miserables' is this epic show that kind of everybody has some sort of connection to, whether you've seen it before or whether you've listened to the soundtrack, so it's really great to bring it truly home for me and bring it back to the Valley which I love," he said.

The musical hits home for Nick in more ways than one. Just before his final call back, Nick's mother lost her battle with ovarian cancer. It was a very personal tragedy that Nick says he uses to connect with Jean Valjean, a character plagued by hardships.

"And I can think about my mom and the sacrifices that she made when she was in chemo treatments and coming to see me across the country in shows, and now I get to bring this home and make her proud and she's got the best seat in the house every night watching me," he said.

The musical, set in 19th-century France, has something for everyone... love, loss, sacrifice, and standing up for what you believe in, making the story timeless and relevant to today's audience.

"There are students in our show that are fighting to make the world a better place and I think that that is what's so important and why this show still continues to be such a success," Cartell said.