Ryan Bumbaugh plays Gavroche, a role he hopes to keep
until he reaches maximum height for the part.

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin

'Les Miz' kids 'having
time of their lives'

Isle actors Ryan, 10, and Janel, 7,
take to life on the road

By John A. Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin

"A Salty Dog, hard on the rocks." Ten-year-old Ryan Rumbaugh places his order with such nonchalant self-assurance that it seemed for a moment the waitress would take him seriously. What do you expect from a talented young actor?

Ryan and proud mother, Dawn, were enjoying an early lunch at Compadres with Janel Parrish and her father, Mark, on the morning after the kids' triumphant hometown opening in "Les Miserables."

Ryan sparks several dramatic and poignant moments as the spunky but doomed young street urchin, Gavroche.

Janel proves a perfect image of waifish innocence as the abused but beautiful young Cosette. Seemingly all eyes and angelic voice, the diminutive 45-pound actress makes "Castle on a Cloud" the touching moment intended by the show's composers.

Mom cringes a bit when Ryan mentions chi chis, strawberry daiquiris, margueritas and coffee as other favorite beverages. A brief mother-to-star conference results in an amended nonalcoholic drink order.

Janel Meilani Parrish
plays a young Cosette in
"Les Miserables."

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin

Only a fews weeks after the dream-come-true auditions that won them the roles, Ryan and Janel are simultaneously young professionals and unspoiled all-American kids. One moment they're talking about per diem, costume design and the problems of removing stage make-up.

"It takes about 10 minutes to get it out of my hair and 10 minutes to take a bath," Janel confides.

Moments later they're talking about dolls, stuffed animals, and the family members they've left behind.

Janel is carrying an odd-looking doll named Gavroche - a gift from another cast member. She'd added several dolls and stuffed animals to her collection of "like 1,200" while she was on the road in San Jose and Salt Lake City. Ryan says he likes "cute soft furry things," too.

Both brought back gifts for their sisters. Melissa Parrish, 16-years old, active in sports, particularly soccer; Christy Rumbaugh, 10, a familiar face in local commercials. The half families grew closer while Ryan and Janel were on the road. Christy stayed with a family friend while Dawn was traveling with Ryan; she and Melissa became friends. Janel's chaperon is her mother, Joanne; it's the first time that the Parish family has been separated.

"The kids are having the time of the lives, but it's more of a trying situation on the rest of the family. We miss them, and while the kids are always busy there are times that the guardians have to occupy themsevles while keeping to the schedule," Mark Parrish said. He and Dawn later waited patiently in the background while the kids joined "Les Miz" star Lea Salonga in an autograph session at Border's Books.

"I'm never gonna quit," Ryan said emphatically. He hopes to play Gavroche until he reaches the maximum height for the role or his voice changes. He'd like to return as an adult in the role of the student revolutionary Enjolras.

"The acting is fun. You don't think of it as being hard. Putting the flag in the barricade is the hardest part."

His contract requires him to keep his hair long and both kids must avoid getting too much sun. Ryan has already done double-duty appearing as emergency understudy in the role of young Eponine as well. Janel regularly appears as young Eponine but says she has no interest in playing Gavroche.

Janel is so small that she's been dropped and knocked about a bit by actors used to working with larger and heavier girls; good looks, talent and spunk soon won their respect. The actor playing Valjean in another cast effortlessly lifted her to his shoulder in the finale.

Asked about her future goals she responds with a beautiful a capella rendition of "On My Own" that should win her the part in due time. As with the rendition of "Think Of Me" that won a local talent contest, Janel proves uniquely talented as child able to tap the full range of emotions in sophisticated song.

Ryan has found that his role comes with at least one extra benefit: "Every time I get the ammunition bag over the barricade Doug Storm (Feuilly) gives me a buck. I've gotten $12 already!"

He ads that some people who previously dismissed him as Christy's little brother are "All huddling around me now."

Both kids naturally hope to play their parts on Broadway. From Honolulu they go to Iowa for a series of 12 "one-weekers" and then to Philadelphia for Christmas. Another member of the cast is already scheduled for a Broadway spot. Ryan is biding his time.

"I'd like to travel a little more (before it happens). It's good to play on Broadway but if you stay there you don't grow. Going from city to city you can do different things. "

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