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Balagan Theatre, a troupe specializing in chamber versions of popular musicals, has appointed actor-director Louis Hobson as its new artistic director. He will also star in the first show of Balagan’s 2013-14 season: a chamber production of the Broadway megahit, “Les Miserables.”

Hobson, a Puyallup native, won recognition in Seattle for his stand-out lead performances in musicals at the 5th Avenue Theatre (“Hair,” “Miss Saigon”) and Village Theatre (“Evita”). On Broadway, he has played featured roles in “Next to Normal,” and such other musicals as “Leap of Faith” and “Bonnie and Clyde.” He recently co-starred at Oregon’s Portland Center stage in “Sweeney Todd.”

Balagan’s “stripped down” staging of “Les Miserables” (the Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schoenberg and Herbert Kretzmer adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel) will be presented at the Erickson Theatre on Capitol Hill, Sept. 6-28.

Balagan has managed the Erickson since 2011, but company spokesperson Christine Bateman says the landlord, Seattle Community College, will soon regain management of the space. Balagan is considering several other venues.

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Hobson replaces vacating artistic director Shawn Belyea, who led Balagan for four years. He will become a full-time staffer for 14/48, which produces theater mini-festivals in Seattle.

Misha Berson:

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