Les Misérables (musical)

Les Misérables (musical)

Infobox Musical
name = Les Misérables

image_size = 290px
music = Claude-Michel Schönberg
lyrics = Herbert Kretzmer
Alain Boublil
book = Claude-Michel Schönberg
Alain Boublil
basis =1862 novel by Victor Hugo
"Les Misérables"
productions = 1980 Original French Production
1985 West End
1986 Lincoln Center
1987 Broadway
1988 U.S. Tour
1989 Austrian production
1989 Toronto
1991 Parisian Production
1991 Dutch Version
2006 Broadway revival
2008 Dutch version revival
Multiple productions worldwide
awards = Tony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Book
Tony Award for Best Score

"Les Misérables" (enPR2|lā mĭzʹər-äbʹ; in French, IPA2|le mize'ʁaːbl), colloquially known as "Les Mis" or "Les Miz", is a musical composed in 1980 by the French composer Claude-Michel Schönberg with a libretto by Alain Boublil. Sung through, it is perhaps the most famous of all French musicals and one of the most performed musicals worldwide. On October 8, 2006, the show celebrated its 21st anniversary and became the longest-running West End musical in history and is still running (though it has changed venues).cite web|url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/5414068.stm|title=Les Mis takes long-running crown|publisher=BBC.co.uk|accessdate=2007-07-07]

Among the most famous songs of this Tony award-winning musical are "I Dreamed a Dream", "One Day More", "A Heart Full of Love", "Stars", "Bring Him Home", "Do You Hear the People Sing?", "Master of the House", and "On My Own."

The musical is based on the 1862 novel "Les Misérables" by Victor Hugo. Set in early 19th century France, it follows the intertwining stories of a cast of characters as they struggle for redemption and revolution. The characters include a paroled convict named Jean Valjean who, failing attempts to find work as an honest man with his yellow ticket of leave, breaks his parole and conceals his identity; the police inspector Javert who becomes obsessed with finding Valjean; Fantine, the single mother who is forced to become a prostitute to support her daughter Cosette; Cosette, who, after her mother's death, becomes Jean Valjean's adopted daughter (and who eventually falls in love with a revolutionary student named Marius Pontmercy); the Thénardiers, the unscrupulous innkeepers who initially foster Cosette, and who thrive on cheating and stealing; Éponine, their young daughter who is hopelessly in love with Marius; Gavroche, a young beggar boy; and a student leader Enjolras who plans the revolt to free the oppressed lower classes of France. The main characters are joined by an ensemble that includes prostitutes, student revolutionaries, factory workers, and others.


The original French musical opened in September 1981 at the "Palais des Sports" in Paris and was an instant success to French audiences, however it was forced to close after the booking contract ran out. They were not able to extend the run to meet the demand.

In 1982, about six months after he had opened "Cats" in London, producer Cameron Mackintosh was given a recording of the original French show by director Peter Ferago. Ferago had been greatly impressed by the album and asked Mackintosh if he would be interested in producing an English version of the show. Mackintosh was doubtful at first, but eventually decided to produce it. Journalist and poet James Fenton was initially chosen to write English lyrics, but was eventually replaced by Herbert Kretzmer, who expanded and reworked the original French lyrics. His work is not a direct "translation" of the French, a term that Kretzmer refuses to use. A third of the English lyrics were a "rough" translation, another third were adapted from the French lyrics and the final third consisted of brand new material, such as the Prologue. Additional music was written to go with the brand new material.

Trevor Nunn and John Caird were hired to direct and co-direct the show respectively, and the Royal Shakespeare Company were chosen to put on the show, with some of their members, such as Roger Allam and Alun Armstrong, being cast members. The show opened in London on October 8, 1985, in the Barbican Arts Centre in London before moving first to the Palace Theatre and later to the Queen's Theatre, where it is still playing. Reviews from the critics were very mixed, with some literary scholars condemning it for turning a piece of classical French literature into a musical and others thinking it was too heavy. But word of mouth took over, the public started to hear about it and the box office was soon bombarded with orders.

The Broadway production opened on March 12, 1987 and was nominated for twelve Tony Awards, winning eight, including Best Musical and Best Original Score, and ran until May 18, 2003, after 6680 performances. It is still the third longest-running Broadway show in history. [cite web|url=http://www.lesmis.com/pages/us/index_us.htm |title=LES MISÉRABLES on Broadway|publisher=Lesmis.com|accessdate=2007-12-19] A fully re-orchestrated Broadway revival opened on November 9, 2006 at the Broadhurst Theatre.

"Les Misérables" placed first in a BBC Radio 2 listener poll of the "Nation's Number One Essential Musicals" in June 2005, receiving more than 40% of the votes cast. [cite web |url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/paige/essentialvote.shtml|title= Elaine Page|publisher=BBC.co.uk|accessdate=2007-07-07 ]

"Les Misérables" was a part of the major European influence on Broadway in the 80's along with "Cats", "The Phantom of the Opera", and "Miss Saigon".

Well-known songs from the musical include "Look Down," "I Dreamed a Dream," "Master of the House," "Do You Hear the People Sing?", "On My Own," "A Little Fall of Rain," "Bring Him Home," "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," "Stars," "A Heart Full of Love," "At the End of the Day," "Castle On A Cloud," "Red and Black," and "One Day More".The musical's emblem is a picture of the waif Cosette, usually shown cropped to a head-and-shoulders portrait with the French national flag superimposed. The picture is based on the illustration by Émile Bayard that appeared in the original edition of the novel in 1862.


;Act I "Les Misérables" begins at a prison in Toulon, France in 1815, where the imprisoned men are forced to do labour (Work Song"). After nineteen years of imprisonment (five for stealing bread for his starving sister and her family, and the rest for trying to escape) Jean Valjean, Prisoner 24601, is released on parole by the antagonist policeman Javert. By law, Valjean must display a yellow ticket-of-leave, which condemns him as an outcast as he tries to start anew ("On Parole"). He then meets the Bishop of Digne, who offers food and shelter. Nevertheless, Valjean repays the bishop by stealing some silver, and is soon caught by the police. However the bishop lies to save Valjean, then gives him two expensive candlesticks and asks him to start a new, honest life ("Valjean Arrested, Valjean Forgiven"). Humbled by the bishop's mercy and kindness, Valjean decides to follow the bishop's advice and breaks his parole as he tears apart his yellow ticket-of-leave ("Valjean Soliloquy" / "What Have I Done?").

Eight years later, Valjean has assumed a new identity as Monsieur Madeleine, a factory owner and mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer. One of his workers, Fantine, gets into a fight after the other workers discover that she is sending money to her secret illegitimate child who is living with an innkeeper and his wife ("At the End of the Day"). "The Mayor" initially breaks up the conflict, but asks his factory foreman to resolve it. When asked, the other women demand Fantine's dismissal. Because she had previously rejected his advances, the foreman agrees and throws Fantine out.

Fantine sings about her broken dreams and about the father of her daughter who left them alone ("I Dreamed a Dream"). Desperate for money, she sells her locket and her hair, before becoming a prostitute ("Lovely Ladies"). When she fights with a prospective customer, she is arrested by Javert ("Fantine's Arrest"). "The Mayor" soon arrives and orders Javert to take her to a hospital instead.

"The Mayor" then rescues a local man (Fauchelevant) who is pinned by a runaway cart ("The Runaway Cart"). This reminds Javert of the abnormal strength of Jean Valjean, who he has been tracking for years for breaking parole. However, Javert assures "The Mayor" that Valjean has just been recently arrested and will be in court later in the day. Unable to see an innocent man go to prison in his place, Valjean confesses to the court that he is the real Prisoner 24601, showing the convict's brand on his chest as a proof ("Who Am I? - The Trial").

Before returning to prison, Valjean visits the dying Fantine and promises to find and look after her daughter Cosette ("Come to Me" / "Fantine's Death"). When Javert arrives to arrest him, Valjean asks three more days to fetch Cosette, but Javert refuses to believe his honest intentions ("The Confrontation"). Valjean eventually knocks Javert out and escapes.

The scene then shifts to an inn outside Montreuil run by the Thénardiers, where Cosette has been living. The Thénardiers have been abusing the little girl, while indulging their own daughter, Éponine. Cosette dreams of a better life ("Castle on a Cloud") before Madame Thénardier sends her to fetch water in the dark. The inn fills up for the evening, where the Thénardiers use several methods to cheat their customers ("Master of the House"). Valjean finds Cosette fetching water ("The Bargain") and pays the Thénardiers 1500 Francs to let him take Cosette away ("The Waltz of Treachery").

Nine years pass, and Paris is in an uproar because popular leader General Lamarque, the only man in the government who shows mercy to the poor, is ill and may die soon. The young street urchin Gavroche mingles with the whores and beggars on the street, while students Marius Pontmercy and Enjolras discuss the likely demise of the general ("Look Down").

A street gang led by the Thénardiers prepares to ambush Valjean, whom Thénardier recognizes as the man who took Cosette ("The Robbery"). As they set up, Éponine sees Marius, whom she is secretly in love with, and warns him to stay away. As Marius tries to ask Éponine about what is going on, he accidentally bumps into Cosette and immediately falls in love with her. The Thénardiers attempt to rob Valjean and Cosette, who are rescued by Javert, who does not recognize Valjean until after he makes his escape ("Javert's Intervention"). Javert gazes at the night sky, comparing his hunt of Valjean and justice to the order of the stars ("Stars"). Meanwhile Marius, although he does not yet know Cosette's name, persuades a reluctant Éponine to help find her ("Éponine's Errand").

The scene shifts to political meeting in a small café where a group of idealistic students led by Enjolras gather to prepare for a revolution they are sure will erupt after the death of General Lamarque ("The ABC Cafe - Red and Black"). Marius arrives late, filled with thoughts of love for Cosette, whose name he still does not know. When Gavroche brings the news of the General's death, the students march out into the streets to whip up popular support ("Do You Hear the People Sing?")

Cosette is also consumed by thoughts of Marius, and Valjean realises that his daughter has grown up but refuses to tell her about his past or her mother. (" _fr. Rue Plumet - In My Life"). In spite of her own feelings, Éponine leads Marius to Cosette ("A Heart Full of Love"), and then prevents her father's gang from robbing Valjean's house ("The Attack on _fr. Rue Plumet"). Valjean, convinced it was Javert who was lurking outside his house, tells Cosette they must prepare to flee the country.

On the eve of the revolution, Valjean prepares to go into exile; Cosette and Marius part in despair of ever meeting again; Éponine mourns the loss of Marius; Marius decides to join the other students as they prepare for the upcoming conflict; Javert plans to spy on the students and learn their secrets; and the Thénardiers look forward to stealing from the corpses of those who will be killed during the battle to come ("One Day More").

;Act II

As the students prepare to build a barricade ("At the Barricade - Upon These Stones"), Javert, disguised as one of the rebels, volunteers to "spy" on the government troops. Meanwhile, Marius notices that Éponine has disguised herself as a boy and has joined the revolutionaries, and then sends her with a letter to Cosette. Valjean intercepts the letter. Éponine decides, despite what he has said to her, to rejoin Marius at the barricade ("On My Own").

The students build their barricade ("Building the Barricade - Upon These Stones") and then defy an army warning to surrender or die. Javert comes back and lies to the students about the government's plans to attack ("Javert's Arrival"). Gavroche then exposes Javert as a spy ("Little People"). Éponine is shot when she returns to the barricades and dies in Marius' arms ("A Little Fall of Rain"). Valjean also arrives at the barricades in search of Marius as the first battle erupts, and saves Enjolras by shooting a sniper ("The First Attack"). As a reward, he asks to be the one to kill Javert, but instead releases him and even gives him his address. The students settle down for a night ("Drink With Me"), while Valjean prays to God to save Marius from the onslaught that is to come ("Bring Him Home").

As dawn approaches, Enjolras realizes that the people have abandoned them, and sends the women and fathers of children away from the barricades, but resolves that they should fight on ("Dawn of Anguish"). With ammunition running out during the second attack, Gavroche runs out to collect more, but is shot dead by the army ("The Second Attack / The Death of Gavroche"). The army gives one last warning to surrender, but the rebels refuse, and everyone is killed except Valjean and Marius ("The Final Battle").

Carrying a wounded Marius on his back, Valjean escapes through the sewers. Meanwhile, Thénardier is also in the sewers, stealing valuables off the dead bodies that have been dumped from the battle, laughing that he is performing a "service to the town" ("Dog Eats Dog"). Thénardier robs Marius as Valjean is resting, and then escapes when he sees Valjean getting up. When Valjean reaches the sewer's issue, he runs into Javert, who has been waiting for him. Valjean begs Javert to give him one more hour to bring Marius to a doctor, and Javert reluctantly agrees. After Valjean leaves, Javert realizes Valjean is not purely evil as he always thought. Unable to deal with losing his lifelong black-and-white view of the world, he commits suicide by throwing himself in the Seine ("Javert's Suicide").

Back on the streets, several women mourn the deaths of the young students ("Turning"). Marius also mourns for his friends ("Empty Chairs at Empty Tables"). As he wonders who saved him from the barricades, Cosette comforts Marius by telling him that she will never go away ("Every Day") and they reaffirm their love. Valjean then confesses to Marius that he is an escaped convict and tells him he must go away because his presence puts Cosette in danger ("Valjean's Confession"). Valjean makes Marius promise never to tell Cosette, and Marius makes only a half-hearted attempt to hold him back.

Marius and Cosette are married ("Wedding Chorale"). The Thénardiers then crash the wedding reception and tell Marius that Valjean is a murderer, saying they saw him carrying a corpse in the sewers after the barricades fell. When Thénardier shows him the ring he took from the corpse, Marius realizes that the "corpse" was he, and that Valjean saved his life that night. After Marius punches Thénardier and the newlyweds leave, the Thénardiers enjoy the party and celebrate their survival ("Beggars at the Feast").

Meanwhile, Valjean prepares for his death, having nothing left to live for. Just as the ghosts of Fantine and Éponine arrive to take him to heaven, Cosette and Marius rush in, just in time to bid farewell to Valjean and for Marius to thank him for saving his life ("Valjean's Death"). Valjean gives Cosette his confession to read just before he dies, and the souls of Fantine and Éponine guide him to Paradise with a last reprise of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" ("Finale").

Musical numbers

;Act I
* Overture - Orchestra
* Work Song - Chain Gang, Javert, Valjean
* On Parole - Farmer, Valjean, Laborer, Innkeeper
* Valjean Arrested, Valjean Forgiven - Bishop, Valjean, Constables
* Valjean's Soliloquy (What Have I Done?) - Valjean
* At the End of the Day - Poor, Foreman, Workers, Factory Girls, Fantine, Valjean
* I Dreamed a Dream - Fantine
* Lovely Ladies - Sailors, Old Woman, Fantine, Crone, Whores, Pimp
* Fantine's Arrest - Bamatabois, Fantine, Javert, Valjean
* The Runaway Cart - Townspeople, Valjean, Fauchelevant, Javert
* Who Am I? - The Trial - Valjean
* Come to Me (Fantine's Death)- Fantine, Valjean
* The Confrontation - Javert, Valjean
* Castle on a Cloud - Young Cosette, Madame Thénardier
* Master of the House - Drinkers, Thénardier, Diners, Madame Thénardier
* The Bargain - Valjean, Thénardier, Madame Thénardier
* The Waltz of Treachery - Thénardier, Valjean, Madame Thénardier, Young Cosette
* Look Down - Beggars, Gavroche, Old Woman, Prostitute, Pimp, Enjolras, Marius
* The Robbery - Thénardier, Madame Thénardier, Eponine, Marius, Valjean
* Javert's Intervention (Another Brawl) - Javert, Thénardier
* Stars - Javert, Gavroche
* Eponine's Errand - Eponine, Marius
* ABC Cafe / Red and Black - Students, Enjolras, Marius, Grantaire, Gavroche
* Do You Hear the People Sing? - Enjolras, Students, Beggars
* Rue Plumet - In My Life - Cosette, Valjean, Marius, Eponine
* A Heart Full of Love - Marius, Cosette, Éponine
* The Attack on _fr. Rue Plumet - Thénardier, Thieves, Eponine, Marius, Valjean, Cosette
* One Day More - Valjean, Marius, Cosette, Eponine, Enjolras, Javert, Thénardier, Madame Thénardier, Company;Act II
* At the Barricade (Upon These Stones) - Enjolras, Javert, Marius, Eponine, Valjean
* On My Own - Eponine
* Building the Barricade (Upon These Stones) - Enjolras, Students, Army Officer
* Javert's Arrival - Javert, Enjolras
* Little People - Gavroche, Students, Enjolras Javert
* A Little Fall of Rain - Eponine, Marius
* Night of Anguish - Enjolras, Valjean, Students
* The First Attack - Enjolras, Students, Valjean, Javert
* Drink With Me - Grantaire, Students, Women, Marius
* Bring Him Home - Valjean
* Dawn of Anguish - Enjolras, Students
* The Second Attack (Death of Gavroche) - Enjolras, Marius, Valjean, Gavroche, Students
* The Final Attack - Army Officer, Enjolras, Students
* The Sewers - Orchestra
* Dog Eat Dog (The Sewers) - Thénardier
* Javert's Suicide - Valjean, Javert
* Turning - Women
* Empty Chairs at Empty Tables - Marius
* Every Day (Marius and Cosette) - Marius, Cosette, Valjean
* Valjean's Confession - Marius, Valjean
* Wedding Chorale - Guests, Thénardier, Marius, Madame Thénardier
* Beggars at the Feast - Thénardier, Madame Thénardier
* Valjean's Death - Valjean, Fantine, Cosette, Marius, Eponine
* Finale - Full Company


Listed in the order in which they appear.

Production history

Original London production

The English language version, with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and additional material by James Fenton, was substantially expanded and reworked from a literal translation by Siobhan Bracke of the original Paris version, in particular adding a prologue to tell Jean Valjean's back story.

In addition, two songs were deleted when the play was revised for Broadway - the complete version of Gavroche's song "Little People" and the adult Cosette's "I Saw Him Once." A short section at the beginning of "In My Life" replaced "I Saw Him Once". The lyrics are also different in Javert's "Stars". Where it now ends with the famous line, "This I swear by the stars!", the London production and cast recording ended with the repeated line, "Keeping watch in the night."

The first production in English, produced by Cameron Mackintosh and adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird, opened on 8 October 1985 at the Barbican Arts Centre, London. It was billed in the RSC Barbican Theatre programme as 'The Royal Shakespeare Company presentation of the RSC/Cameron Mackintosh production' and had played to preview performances commencing on 28 September 1985.

The set was designed by John Napier, costumes by Andreane Neofitou and lighting by David Hersey. Musical supervision and orchestrations were by John Cameron, musical staging by Kate Flatt with musical direction by Martin Koch.

The production starred Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean, Frances Ruffelle as Eponine, Rebecca Caine as Cosette, Patti LuPone as Fantine, Roger Allam as the persistent Inspector Javert, Michael Ball as Marius, Zoe Hart as young Cosette, Susan Jane Tanner as Madame Thénardier, David Burt as Enjolras, Ian Tucker and Oliver Spencer as Gavroche, and Alun Armstrong as the villainous, but funny rogue Thénardier.

On December 4, 1985, it transferred to the Palace Theatre and moved again on 3 April 2004 to the Queen's Theatre, with some revisions of staging, where it is still playing [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2004/04/21/btmis21.xml] , [http://arts.independent.co.uk/theatre/reviews/article54997.ece] .

In the commercial sphere the co-production has generated valuable income for the Royal Shakespeare Company [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmcumeds/254/3101412.htm] .

Broadway production

The Broadway production opened on March 12, 1987 at the Broadway Theater. Colm Wilkinson and Frances Ruffelle reprised their roles from the London production.

The cast included David Bryant as Marius, Judy Kuhn as Cosette, Michael Maguire as Enjolras, Braden Danner as Gavroche, Donna Vivino as Young Cosette, Jennifer Butt as Madame Thénardier, Leo Burmester as Thénardier, Randy Graff as Fantine and Terrence Mann as Javert.

The musical ran at the Broadway Theatre through October 10, 1990, when it moved to the Imperial Theatre. It was scheduled to close on March 15, 2003, but the closing was postponed by a surge in public interest, probably because of the announcement. After 6,680 performances in sixteen years, when it closed on May 18, 2003, it was the second-longest-running Broadway musical after "Cats". More recently, its position has fallen to the third-longest-running Broadway musical after "The Phantom of the Opera" ascended initially to the second and, in 2006, to the number one spot.

2006 Broadway revival

"Les Misérables" began a limited return to Broadway on November 9, 2006 at the Broadhurst Theatre. On December 19, 2006, it was announced that "Les Misérables" would extend its run until September 1, 2007. It was subsequently announced that the show would have an open-ended run rather than a set closing date. The original 2006 Broadway revival cast included Alexander Gemignani as Jean Valjean, Norm Lewis as Javert, Daphne Rubin-Vega as Fantine, Celia Keenan-Bolger as Éponine, Aaron Lazar as Enjolras, Adam Jacobs as Marius Pontmercy, Ali Ewoldt as Cosette, Gary Beach as Thénardier, Jenny Galloway as Madame Thénardier, Austyn Myers as Gavroche and Drew Sarich as Grantaire. Understudies in the revival included Victor Hawks (Jean Valjean, Thenardier), Drew Sarich (Javert, Enjolras), Nikki Renee Daniels (Fantine), Megan McGinnis (Eponine), Dan Boggart (Marius).

Since opening, Fantine has been played by Daphne Rubin-Vega, and beginning on March 6, 2007 by Lea Salonga. Ann Harada, of the original cast of "Avenue Q", replaced Jenny Galloway as Mme. Thénardier on April 24, 2007. Ben Davis joined playing Javert, and Max Von Essen playing Enjolras. Ben Crawford and Mandy Bruno joined the cast that day too, playing Brujon and Éponine respectively. On July 23, 2007, Drew Sarich took over the role of Jean Valjean, following Alexander Gemignani's departure. On September 5, 2007, it was announced that John Owen-Jones (the Valjean from London) would be joining the Broadway cast. In return, Drew Sarich (the Valjean on Broadway) would be joining the London cast in Owen-Jones' place. Judy Kuhn, who originated the role of Cosette returned to the show after 20 years but this time assuming the role of Fantine, succeeding Lea Salonga, who previously played the role of Eponine.

On September 27, 2007, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo proceeded to Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre to watch Lea Salonga in her role as Fantine in Les Misérables. Salonga's cast included Adam Jacobs as Marius and Ali Ewoldt as Cosette. [cite web|url=http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/breakingnews/breakingnews/view_article.php?article_id=91076|title=Arroyo goes to Broadway, watches Lea Salonga in Les Miz|publisher=Showbiz and Style|accessdate=2007-12-19]

In 2007, the show went temporarily dark because of the Broadway stagehands' strike.

The Broadway revival of Les Misérables closed on January 6, 2008. Combined with the original production's 6,680 performances, Les Misérables has played 7,176 performances on Broadway. [ [http://www.broadway.com/Gen/Buzz_Story.aspx?ci=555212 Les Miserables Sets 1/6 Closing Date , Broadway.com Buzz ] ]

10th anniversary concert

On October 8, 1995, the show celebrated its 10th anniversary with a concert at the Royal Albert Hall. This 10th Anniversary Concert is nearly 'complete', missing only a handful of scenes, including "The Death of Gavroche" and the confrontation between Marius and Thénardier at the wedding feast. Sir Cameron Mackintosh hand-selected the cast, and has come to be called the "Les Misérables Dream Cast", assembling cast members from around the world. The concert concluded with notable Valjeans from productions the world over singing "Do You Hear the People Sing?" in their native languages.

Other concert performances

The musical has also been performed in concert at Cardiff Castle and several venues in southern England, produced by Earl Carpenter Concerts. A concert version starring Jeff Leyton was also performed at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast. In 1989 a one-night concert performance was performed at the Toronto Skydome, and the largest concert production attracted an audience of 125,000 and was performed as part of the Australia day celebrations in Sydney. The Scandinavian concert tour played to capacity arenas in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

In February 2008 "Les Misérables" was performed at the BIC in Bournemouth, England with a cast of West End stars accompanied by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

In August 2008 a concert version was performed at the Hollywood Bowl. The cast included veteran "Les Misérables" star J. Mark McVey as Valjean, The Office star Melora Hardin as Fantine, Broadway star and Bowl veteran Brian Stokes Mitchell as Javert, "Spring Awakening" star Lea Michele as Eponine, Tony winning "Jersey Boys" star John Lloyd Young as Marius, West End star Tom Lowe [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Lowe_%28performer%29] as Enjolras, Michael McCormick as Thenardier, Ruth Williamson as Md. Thenardier, Michele Maika as Cosette, Maddie Levy as Young Cosette, and Sage Ryan as Gavroche.

In September 2008 it will be performed at the St John Loveridge Hall in Guernsey with a cast of West End performers -- the first time that it has been professionally performed on the Island where Victor Hugo wrote the novel. Former London Valjean Phil Cavill will reprise his role alongside Michael McCarthy as Javert.

National Broadway touring production

The US Broadway touring production of "Les Misérables" was one of the longest running American touring musicals of all time. Closing on July 23, 2006 at the Fox Theatre in Saint Louis, Missouri, the tour ran for 17 years and 7061 performances. The tour played in 145 cities in 43 states. The same touring company also frequently performed in Canada, and made a diversion in 2002 to visit Shanghai, China for 3 weeks.

International productions

Most productions have been based on the West End version of the show, including the 1991 Paris version which mixed original lyrics with new French lyrics for the additional and altered songs. The show has been produced in 38 countries and translated into 21 languages. Including singles and promos, there have been over fifty official recordings from worldwide productions.cite web |url= http://www.lesmis.com/pages/about/facts_figures_1.htm|title= Facts and Figures from LesMis.com |accessdate=2007-07-07 ]

A production opened in Oslo, Norway on March 17, 1988 (only 5 days after the Broadway opening). The translated version of this musical was presented in Vienna at the Raimund Theater from 1988 to 1990.Fact|date=March 2007 From 25 February 2006, "Les Misérables" was staged at Trøndelag Teater (Trondheim, Norway). It played 138 performances before closing. [ cite web |url= http://webtools.klapp.no/data/teatret/vedlegg/484_Arsberetning2006.pdf |title= webtools.klapp.no |accessdate=2007-07-07 |format= |work= ] In the late half of 2008, a Chinese version of "Les Misérables" is going to be staged in Shanghai, China, by the Joint Venture of Cameron Macintosh Ltd. and Shanghai Grand Theatre. [cite web |url= http://news.mdbchina.com/sections/news/4252.html|title= mdbchina.com|accessdate=2007-07-07 |format= |work= ]

"Les Misérables" opened in Tokyo on June 11, 1987. "Les Misérables" has had many engagements. It is the first country outside the United Kingdom and the United States to stage the updated version musical. They have made a total of six cast recordings (all recorded live in Japanese), with each cast recording having a specific colour label ('94-Blue/Red, '03-Light Blue/Green/Purple/Orange) as well as a 7" single of the balled 'On My Own' performed by Kaho Shimada. Notable actors/actresses that have played in Japanese production of this musical include Yuichiro Yamaguchi, Kaho Shimada, Takeshi Kaga (from Iron Chef), Minako Honda, and Maaya Sakamoto. For the 20th Anniversary engagement, some of the original Japanese cast have made guest appearance. It celebrated its 20th Anniversary on June 11th at Teikoku Theatre in Tokyo.

In 1991 (February 28) the show opened in The Netherlands. First in Theater Carré, Amsterdam, until the production moved in October 1991, to Fortis Circustheater in Scheveningen. As of April 2008, a new production is playing in Rotterdam at the Luxor Theatre. [cite web |url= http://www.telegraaf.nl/prive/article58388101.ece?cid=rss|title= telegraaf.nl|accessdate=2007-07-07 |format= |work= ] . The production is the first international production to use Stephen Metcalfe's re-orchestrations, and a new cast recording was produced to mark this. [cite web |url= http://www.musicals.nl/jetp/misc/1857_1862.htm|title= musicals.nl|accessdate=2007-07-07 |format= |work= ] .

Les Misérables opened in 2000 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, being the second version in Spanish after the 1993 Madrid version. It ran for eight months at Teatro Ópera. The Spanish-speaking version (Madrid, Buenos Aires and México, in which Mexican Soprano Claudia Cota, played the role of Cosette) is the only international version having changed its name from "Les Misérables" to "Los Miserables". No recording was made from the Buenos Aires production, making the Madrid production the only Spanish recording of the show. [cite web |url= http://www.castalbumdb.com/rec.cfm?RNumber=1421|title= castalbumdb.com|accessdate=2007-07-07 |format= |work= ] It also was performed in Portuguese during 2001/2002 season in São Paulo, Brazil, opening the newly restored Abril theatre, where other musicals have been staged thereafter, such as Disney's "Beauty and the Beast", "Chicago" and "The Phantom of the Opera".

In 2002, "Les Misérables" became the first Broadway musical to be staged in mainland China. Running for twenty-one performances at Shanghai's Grand Theatre, the American touring cast's production was spectacularly successful, grossing 12 million yuanFact|date=March 2007.

The first production in Latvia, and the fourth production in Central Europe, (the first 3 were Prague, Tallinn, and Gdynia) opened in Riga on January 1, 2008.

The Estonian production opened in Tallinn on November 2001. The strong Estonian cast included some well-known names, such as Jassi Zahharov in the role of Jean Valjean, the baritone of the Estonian National Opera. The highly popular Koit Toome sang the role of Marius, having earlier achieved his interntational fame for singing for Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest 1998. Hanna-Liina Võsa, the Sandy at the American National Tour of Grease, starred as Cosette, while the former soloist of the Estonian pop sensation Mahavok, Kare Kauks played Fantine. Marko Matvere who played Javert was to make his international break through with hosting the Eurovision Song Contest when the show was held in Tallinn in 2002. Ele Millistfer was nominated for the Estonian annual theatre prize for her interpretation of Eponine. The stage direction was by Georg Malvius while the show itself played a successful run of 20 performances in Tallinna Linnahall, a giant venue for many shows and concerts in Tallinn.

In April, 2008, the first production in Portugal, will open on the island of Madeira, by the Madeira Amateur Dramatic Society, but this production will be performed in English.

On April 8, 2004, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale, "Les Mis" became the first West End play ever to be performed at Windsor CastleFact|date=March 2007.

On October 18, 2007, "Les Misérables" became a regular musical on the repertoire of the Madlenianum opera house [http://www.madlenianum.co.yu/index.php?execute=view_page&module=system&page_id=241 Madlenianum - LES MISÉRABLES ] In serbian] in Belgrade, Serbia. Although sung in English (with Serbian subtitles above the stage) the cast is completely Serbian sporting some of the most popular stars such as Zafir Hadžimanov, Zoran Leković, Dejan Lutkić, Nataša Marković, Vladimir Andrić, Ivan Bosiljčić and Katarina Gojković. Critics praised the musical as one of the best in Serbia.

In June 2008, the first production in the Caribbean opened in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

It opened on June 27th 2008 in Québec City, Canada in an exclusive production which is part of the city 400th anniversary celebrations.

North American Regional Productions

With the approval of the Cameron Mackintosh organization, [http://www.MTIshows.com/ Music Theatre International] selected the USAREUR Roadside Theater in Heidelberg, Germany for the American Community Theater World Premiere of "Les Misérables." [http://www.roadsidetheater.com/miscast.htm] The premiere took place May 11, 2001, with the production closing June 10, 2001. [http://www.roadsidetheater.com/misnews.htm] This production was also one of the first uses of the Sinfonia system by MTI in collaboration with [http://www.rms.biz/ Realtime Music Solutions] , later used in the London production.

Beginning in 2007, a limited number of regional productions (5 in the US, 2 in Canada) of "Les Misérables" licensed by Cameron Mackintosh are being staged.

One of these was unique in that it was the first staging of "Les Misérables" as theater in the round. This production was by the respected "California Musical Theatre (CMT)" (Sacramento, California) in its "Music Circus" summer series (production ran from July 10 thru July 22, 2007). Glenn Casale, choreographed by Bob Richard, with music directed by Andrew Bryan, directed this production. It featured Ivan Rutherford who gave over 1800 performances as Jean Valjean on Broadway as well as performing in the 10th Anniversary Company, which performed in many cities throughout the U.S. Due to its unique production, it was widely anticipated and lived up to that anticipation being a great success in its unique staging and performance.

Other regional productions of "Les Misérables" include the "Pioneer Theatre Company (PTC)" of Salt Lake City which was honoured to be the first company to present a regional production. This production ran from April 27, 2007 to July 7, 2007 making it the longest running production in PTC's history. It was directed by PTC Artistic Director Charles Morey and brought both William Solo as Jean Valjean and Merwin Foard as Inspector Javert to the PTC re-enacting roles both men played previously on Broadway.

The first independent regional theatre production of "Les Misérables" in Canada was directed by Linda Moore at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax Nova Scotia, starring Frank Mackay as Jean Valjean in 1994. Since then, there have been no independent productions in Canada. The Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque Canada is the first theatre since then to produce the show. This production, opening July 4, 2008 will feature Lee B.Siegel as Valjean, Shane Carty as Javert, Kevin Power as Thenardier, Marcia Tratt as Mme Thenardier, Ramona Gilmour-Darling as Eponine, Ashley Taylor as Cosette, Shannon Barnett as Fantine, Dale MIller as Marius, Gabriel Burrafato as Enjolras, and Derrick Paul Miller as the Bishop of Digne. Derrick Paul Miller played the role of Valjean on July 22nd, July 23rd (matinee), July 24th, and July 26th (matinee). It is directed by Greg Wanless, and musical director Sandy Thorburn.

An outdoor production played at The Muny, the nation's oldest and largest outdoor theatre, which seats 12,000 people. The theatre is located in Saint Louis, MO. Directed by Fred Hanson; Les Misérables was the final production of the Muny's 89th season, playing August 6-15, 2007. Ivan Rutherford, who was a Valjean in the original Broadway production of Les Misérables, reprised his role in the production. Kevin Kern and Diana Kaarina, who played Marius and Éponine in the closing cast of the original Broadway production, reprised their roles.

Another outdoor production is being staged at Tuacahn Center for the Arts in Ivins, UT and runs June through mid-October, 2008.

In September 2008, a mini tour produced by Atlanta's Theater of the Stars will play Eisenhower Hall at the United States Military Academy [http://www.ikehall.com/artists.htm#13] , in West Point, NY; the Filene Center at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, VA; Kansas City Starlight Theater; and The Fox Theater in Atlanta. Robert Evan will play Valjean, returning to the role he played in the mid nineties on Broadway. Also starring is Nikki Rene Daniels as Fantine and Robert Hunt as Javert, both reprising their roles from the Broadway revival. This production will be directed by Fred Hanson. The creative team includes Matt Kinley as Scenic Designer, Ken Billington as Lighting Designer, Peter Fitzgerald and Erich Bechtel as Sound Designers, Zachary Borovay as Projection Designer, and Dan Riddle as Musical Director and Conductor. [http://www.broadwayworld.com/viewcolumn.cfm?colid=31000]

"Les Misérables" School Edition

After The King's Theatre, The King's School and Tara Anglican School for Girls, in Sydney, Australia, gained rights in late 2000 from Cameron Mackintosh to perform the show, Musical Theatre International developed a school version, available only to productions with an entirely amateur cast aged under 19. Hundreds of schools worldwide have purchased the rights and staged performances, and it was the #1 best selling play for high schools in the year 2006. Fact|date=July 2007

The Helen Hayes Theatre Company in Nyack, New York marked the American premiere of the student edition in October 2001. From this version, Cameron Mackintosh and Music Theatre International produced the Les Misérables: School Edition Cast Recording in 2002. The album has recognition to hundreds of theatres housing the production worldwide.

The Student Edition contains small cuts from the original show, mostly of a few bars and repeats, although some are more substantial. It is some 25 minutes shorter than the "official" version, although no critical scenes or songs have been removed. One or two changes may have been made for reasons of unsuitable language or sentiment (although the editors have not been squeamish about retaining the darker aspects of the drama such as the prostitution scenes or Bamatabois' abuse of Fantine) but most cuts have been made merely to shorten the show to a length manageable for young performers. A few subtle changes of vocal pitch have also been made for the same reason. "Stars" by Javert, "A Little Fall of Rain" by Éponine and Marius, "Turning" by the women of the Revolution, and "Castle on a Cloud" lose a verse each. "Dog Eats Dog" by Thénardier is heavily truncated as well. The song "Fantine's Death" is heavily edited as well - most of the confrontation between Valjean and Javert is removed.

In December 2006, King George V School in Hong Kong became the first school in Asia to perform "Les Misérables: School Edition".

Brampton Theatre School was the first to perform Les Misérables School Edition on a professional stage, at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto, Canada, in June. Also, The Delaware All-Star Cast performed it at the world famous Dupont Theatre in June.


Although numerous films of the "Les Misérables" story have been made, no adaptation of the musical has yet been produced. A film adaptation of the musical has been in development, on and off, since the late 1980s. Alan Parker was reported to be attached to the adaptation at an early stage. [cite web |url= http://www.ew.com/ew/report/0,6115,315865_7%7C21786%7C%7C0_0_,00.html|title= ew.com|accessdate=2007-07-07] In 1992, Cameron Mackintosh announced that the movie would be directed by Bruce Beresford and co-produced by Tri-Star Pictures, [cite web |url= http://www.lesmis.com/pages/news/press_2_12_92.html|title= LesMis.com|accessdate=2007-07-07 ] but this project was abandoned some time later. After several years in development hell interest was renewed in late 2005, [cite web |url= http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlfeed.nsf/mndwebpages/les%20miserables%20hits%20hollywood|title= ContactMusic.com |accessdate=2007-07-07] though as of 2008, no concrete details have come to light.


English language

Several notable recordings of "Les Misérables " are available in the English language. Four of the most widely known recordings include the Original London Recording, the Original Broadway Recording, the Tenth Anniversary Recording and the Complete Symphonic Recording.

Original London Recording

The Original London Recording was the first recording of Les Misérables the musical in English. Recorded in 1985, when the Les Misérables premiered, it is relatively closest to the Original French Concept, being the earliest version of the English language recording. For example, "Stars" appears before "Look Down" and shortly after, the original version of "Little People" plays, which was later incorporated into the revealing of Javert. It also features a song "I Saw Him Once" sung by Cosette, which was later incorporated into the first part "In My Life"

The cast includes Colm Wilkinson as Valjean, Roger Allam as Javert, Patti LuPone as Fantine, Alun Armstrong as Thénardier, Sue Jane Tanner as Mme. Thénardier, Frances Ruffelle as Éponine, Ian Tucker as Gavroche, Michael Ball as Marius, David Burt as Enjolras, and Rebecca Caine as Cosette.

Original Broadway Recording

The Original Broadway Recording was recorded in 1987, 2 years after the Original London Recording. It made a few changes to the songs that are still evident in today's performances. As with the Original London Recording, it is incomplete, and leaves out songs or parts that are more important for the plot than music (eg. Fantine's Arrest, The Runaway Cart, The Final Battle). The Original Broadway and Original London Recordings basically left out the same songs.

The cast includes Colm Wilkinson as Valjean, Terrence Mann as Javert, Randy Graff as Fantine, Leo Burmester as Thénardier, Jennifer Butt as Mme. Thénardier, Frances Ruffelle as Éponine, Braden Danner as Gavroche, David Bryant as Marius, Michael Maguire as Enjolras, and Judy Kuhn as Cosette.

Tenth Anniversary Recording

The Tenth Anniversary Recording was a recording of a concert version of Les Misérables in 1995, celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the musical Les Misérables. Being a concert, all the parts were sung into microphones in theatre, giving the recording a different mood than other recordings. The recording also features a chorus that aids in singing chorus songs. The entire score was recorded consecutively without pauses or multiple recordings. The recording also includes speeches and encores as part of the concert. As with the Original Recordings, the Tenth Anniversary Recording left out songs and parts, that were however, different from those left out from the Original Recording (e.g. those vital to plot such as Fantine's Arrest and the Runaway Cart were kept while unnecessary or very difficult songs such as the Robbery were left out)

The cast includes Colm Wilkinson as Valjean, Philip Quast as Javert, Ruthie Henshall as Fantine, Alun Armstrong as Thénardier, Jenny Galloway as Mme. Thénardier, Lea Salonga as Éponine, Adam Searles as Gavroche, Hannah Chick as Young Cosette, Michael Ball as Marius, Michael Maguire as Enjolras, Judy Kuhn as Cosette and Anthony Crivello as Grantaire.

Complete Symphonic Recording

Recorded in 1988 and released in 1990, the Complete Symphonic Recording is to date the only English-language recording to feature the entire score. (The other being the Czech Revival Recording). Cameron Mackintosh's original plan was to use the Australian cast, [cite web |url= http://www.angelfire.com/musicals/rentlm/csr.html |title= angelfire.com |accessdate=2007-07-07 ] but the scope was expanded to create an international cast featuring performers from the major performances of the musical around the world. The cast was recorded in three different places around the world. ["Les Misérables [Relativity Complete Symphonic Recording] ." Popular Albums. All Media Guide, 2006. Answers.com 24 March 2007. http://www.answers.com/topic/les-miserables-relativity-complete-symphonic-recording]

The album, produced by David Caddick, won the Best Musical Cast Show Album Grammy Award in 1991. The cast includes Gary Morris as Valjean, Philip Quast as Javert, Debra Byrne as Fantine, Gay Soper as Mme. Thénardier, Barry James as Thénardier, Kaho Shimada as Éponine, Michael Ball as Marius, Anthony Warlow as Enjolras, and Tracy Shayne as Cosette.

Awards and nominations

1985 Plays and Players London Theatre Critics' Awards

*Best New Musical (nominations, 11 out of 23)

1987 Tony Awards

* Tony Award for Best Musical - Cameron Mackintosh, producer; Claude-Michel Schönberg, music; Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer, lyrics (WINNER)
* Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical - Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil (WINNER)
* Tony Award for Best Original Score Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, and Herbert Kretzmer (WINNER)
* Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical - Terrence Mann
* Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical - Colm Wilkinson
* Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical - Michael Maguire (WINNER)
* Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical - Frances Ruffelle (WINNER)
* Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical - Judy Kuhn
* Tony Award for Best Scenic Design - John Napier (WINNER)
* Tony Award for Best Costume Design - Andreane Neofitou
* Tony Award for Best Lighting Design - David Hersey (WINNER)
* Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - Trevor Nunn and John Caird (WINNER)

2008 John Kraaijkamp Musical Awards (Netherlands)

* John Kraaijkamp Musical Award for Best Featuring Actor in a large musical production - Wim van den Driessche
* John Kraaijkamp Musical Award for Best Featuring Actor in a large musical production - René van Kooten (WINNER)
* John Kraaijkamp Musical Award for Best Supporting Actress in a large musical production - Marjolein Algera
* John Kraaijkamp Musical Award for Best Supporting Actor in a large musical production - Jamai Looman (WINNER)
* John Kraaijkamp Musical Award for New Talent - Freek Bartels (WINNER)
* John Kraaijkamp Musical Award for Best Lighting Design - David Hersey and Richard Pacholski (WINNER)
* John Kraaijkamp Musical Award for Best Script - Alain Boublil and Jean- Marc Natel

In a large musical production, at least twelve actors perform.

References in popular culture

* "Master of the House" was featured as a subplot in an episode of "Seinfeld" when George can't get the song out of his head.
* The "Animaniacs"' Rita and Runt, featuring Bernadette Peters, performed a spoof, Les Miseranimals, in Episode 11.
* The creators of "South Park" also referred to "Les Misérables" as a recurring theme in their movie, "". The reason for this is Trey Parker's liking for the show. One such reference is a medley entitled "La Resistance", which closely resembles "One Day More", parodies some of the production techniques of the 10th anniversary concert. In addition, the death of The Mole, a French operative whose real name is Christophe, is reminiscent of "A Little Fall of Rain". Also, in an episode of the series, Cartman hires a professional actor to help them with the school play. The actor played Jean Valjean in the Denver Community Playhouse and as a result, many scenes involving him are highly reminiscent of Valjean's songs and scenes. In the episode "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000" Cartman is sent to juvenile hall where his cell number is 24601, which is Jean Valjean's convict number.
* It's referred to numerous times in "Scrubs", including a mixed parody of both "One Day More!" and "Do You Hear The People Sing?" in the musical episode My Musical. In another episode, J.D. mentions that his portfolio contains an unopened pack of Les Misérables trading cards. In yet another episode J.D. tells a group of gay elderly that he has seen Les Mis at least a dozen times.
* In episode 1.12 of "Dawson's Creek", Joey Potter sings Éponine's famous "On My Own" for a talent show. This choice of song is symbolic, as Éponine is caught in a love triangle between Marius and Cosette, as Joey is (with Dawson Leery and Jen Lindley).
* In both the novel "American Psycho" and its movie adaptation, the musical is referenced repeatedly, specifically the first Broadway production, as the story is set in late 1980s New York City, the time and place of its premiere. The protagonist Patrick Bateman notes that "Les Misérables" is a favourite musical of his; in the novel, he discusses it with his friends and ponders which cast recording is the best. There are other occasional references such as programs seem on sidewalks or posters on the side of buses.
* In the Gershwin revue "Crazy for You" the song "Stiff Upper Lip" ends with a giant formation of the cast piled on chairs waving a giant red flag, similar to the barricade at the end of "One Day More". Following the number, the character of Bela Zangler comments, "Somebody clean up this mess. It looks like French Revolution."
* In a stage-musical adaptation of John Waters film "Cry-Baby" the titular character wears a jacket with the numbers 24601 stencilled on.
* In the Broadway musical "", the Act One Finale is a parody of "One Day More", using similar stage directions and a large red flag.
* In an episode of "Family Guy", Stewie and Brian attend a performance of "Les Mis" where Kirk Cameron plays the role of Jean Valjean.
* In an episode of "The Simpsons", Principal Skinner finds his old army helmet at a flea market which bears Jean Valjean's prison convict number. In addition to this, Sideshow Bob's prison number is also 24601.
* A group referring to themselves as NatHeadquartersObama released a video parody [cite web |url= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3ijYVyhnn0|title=Les Misbarack |accessdate=2008-09-04] on September 4, 2008 of office workers at Barack Obama's national headquarters singing "One Day More".
* The song "One Day More" was used for Bill Clinton's 1992 US Presidential Campaign..cite web |url= http://www.lesmis.com/pages/news/press_factsOfLesMis.htm|title= Les Misérables - Press - Facts |accessdate=2008-10-08 ]


External links

* [http://www.lesmis.com/ Cameron Mackintosh: Les Misérables (Worldwide)]
* [http://www.lesmisnewyork.com Cameron Mackintosh: Les Misérables (Broadway)]
* [http://www.broadwaylesmis.com An Archive of Performers from the Original Broadway Run of Les Mis]
* [http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~lee54/lesmis/musical.htm The barricade on the Rue de la Chanvrerie: A tribute to Les Misérables]

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