July 16, 2013 in City

Douglas Webster to direct ‘Les Miserables’ for Spokane Civic Theatre

By The Spokesman-Review

Spokane Civic Theatre has tapped a Broadway veteran to direct its upcoming production of “Les Miserables,” in the wake of Friday’s firing of artistic director Yvonne A.K. Johnson.

Douglas Webster, who was in the Broadway cast of “Les Mis” and who played Jean Valjean in regional productions across the country, including an acclaimed run at Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, will take over directing duties from Johnson, according to a Civic news release.

Meanwhile, Johnson continues to fight against her termination. She said Monday she is “confident” she didn’t lose the board vote, which was conducted via email after a motion by new board Director Larry Wooley. Johnson believes she had five votes in her favor, and one abstention, which leaves four votes in support of her dismissal, she said.

Wooley did not return a call seeking comment, and attempts to reach all 10 board members on Monday were not successful. Board members Jason Coleman-Heppler, Robert Mielbrecht and Bob Francis all declined to comment on the matter when reached by telephone. Two other board members, however, expressed outrage at the firing.

Margot Ogden, whose association with Civic dates back decades, called last week’s events a coup. “She’s done nothing to be terminated for,” Ogden said. Deena Caruso said she is “sick and embarrassed.

“I’ve seen her do nothing but great things,” Caruso said. “I’m in shock.”

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