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Les Misérables, or popularly referred to as Les Mis or Les Miz, is a musical based on the novel of the same name by French poet and playwright, Victor Hugo.
The music was composed by Claude-Michel Schönberg and the lyrics were written by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, with an English-language libretto by Herbert Kretzmer. Set in early 19th-century France, the plot follows the stories of many characters as they struggle for redemption and revolution. An ensemble that includes prostitutes, student revolutionaries, factory workers, and others joins the lead characters.
The musical opened at the Barbican Centre in London, England on 8 October 1985. It is the second longest-running musical in the world after The Fantasticks, the longest-running show in the West End, and the fifth longest-running show in Broadway history. In January 2010, it played its ten-thousandth performance in London, at Queen's Theatre in London's West End. On 3 October 2010, the show celebrated its 25th anniversary with three productions running in the same city: the original show at the Queen's Theatre in London's West End; the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary touring production at the original home of the show, the Barbican Centre; and the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary concert at London's O2 Arena.
The Broadway production opened on March 12, 1987, and ran until May 18, 2003, closing after 6,680 performances. It is the fifth longest-running Broadway show in history. A fully re-orchestrated Broadway revival opened on November 9, 2006 at the Broadhurst Theatre.
The show was nominated for twelve Tony Awards, winning eight, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. Les Misérables placed firs 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.
Les Misérables was one of a slew of the British musicals running on Broadway in the 1980s alongside Evita, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, and Miss Saigon.
The musical's emblem is a picture of the waif Cosette sweeping the Thénardier's Inn, 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.
- Jean Valjean, a paroled convict, prisoner 24601, and the main protagonist. Failing to find work with his yellow parole note and redeemed by the Bishop of Digne's mercy, he tears his passport up and conceals his identity (under the alias "Monsieur Madeleine") in order to live his life again as an honest man. However, Javert constantly pursues him.
- Fantine, a single mother who is forced into prostitution in order to pay for her child's well-being.
- Javert, a police inspector, originally a prison-guard, who becomes obsessed with hunting down Valjean to whom he refers as "Prisoner 24601."
- Éponine, the young daughter of the sinister Thénardiers who was pampered and spoiled as a child but grows up to be ragged in Paris. She secretly loves Marius.
- Cosette, Fantine's daughter, who is abused and mistreated by the Thénardiers but whom Valjean later adopts - she soon grows into a beautiful and kind young woman.
- Marius Pontmercy, a French student and revolutionary who falls in love with Cosette.
- Monsieur and Madame Thénardier, a crooked couple who own an inn and exploit their customers. They later become a feared band of thieves in the streets of Paris.
- Enjolras, leader of the student revolutionaries who seek to free the oppressed lower class of France.
- Gavroche, a hotheaded young boy who is adored by the people and aligns himself with their revolution—he is a true symbol of the youth and boldness of the rebellion.
The following are songs featured in the English version of the musical. The lyrics were written by Herbert Kretzmer.
- Overture – Orchestra
- Prologue:Work Song – Chain Gang, Javert and Valjean
- Prologue:On Parole – Valjean, Farmer, Labourer, Innkeeper’s Wife and Innkeeper
- Prologue:Valjean Arrested/Valjean Forgiven – Constables and Bishop
- Prologue:What Have I Done? – Valjean
- At the End of the Day – Fantine, The Poor, Foreman, Workers, Factory Girls and Valjean
- I Dreamed a Dream – Fantine
- Lovely Ladies – Fantine, Sailors, Whores, Old Woman, Crone and Pimp
- Fantine's Arrest – Fantine, Bamatabois, Javert and Valjean
- The Runaway Cart – Onlookers, Valjean, Fauchelevent and Javert
- Who Am I? – Valjean
- Come to Me (Fantine's Death) – Fantine and Valjean
- The Confrontation – Javert and Valjean
- Castle on a Cloud – Little Cosette and Madame Thénardier
- Master of the House – Thénardier, Madame Thénardier and Chorus
- The Well Scene – Valjean and Little Cosette
- The Bargain/The Thénardier Waltz of Treachery – Thénardier, Valjean, Madame Thénardier and Little Cosette
- Look Down – Beggars, Gavroche, Old Woman, Prostitute, Pimp, Enjolras and Marius
- The Robbery/Javert's Intervention – Thénardier, Madame Thénardier, Éponine, Marius, Valjean and Javert
- Stars – Javert and Gavroche
- Éponine's Errand – Marius and Éponine
- ABC Café/Red and Black – Students, Enjolras, Marius, Grantaire and Gavroche
- Do You Hear the People Sing? – Enjolras, Grantaire, Students and Beggars
- I Saw Him Once – Cosette
- In My Life – Cosette, Valjean, Marius and Éponine
- A Heart Full of Love – Marius, Cosette and Éponine
- The Attack on Rue Plumet – Thénardier, Thieves, Éponine, Marius, Valjean and Cosette
- One Day More – Valjean, Marius, Cosette, Éponine, Enjolras, Javert, Thénardier, Madame Thénardier and Company
- Building the Barricade (Upon These Stones) – Enjolras, Javert, Marius, Éponine and Valjean
- On My Own – Éponine
- At the Barricade (Upon These Stones) – Enjolras, Marius and Students
- Javert's Arrival – Javert, Enjolras, Students and Army Officer
- Little People – Gavroche, Students, Enjolras and Javert
- A Little Fall of Rain – Éponine and Marius
- Night of Anguish – Enjolras, Marius, Students and Valjean
- The First Attack – Enjolras, Grantaire, Students, Valjean and Javert
- Drink with Me – Grantaire, Students, Women and Marius
- Bring Him Home – Valjean
- Dawn of Anguish – Enjolras and Students
- The Second Attack (Death of Gavroche) – Gavroche, Enjolras, Marius, Valjean, Grantaire, and Students
- The Final Battle – Army Officer, Grantaire, Enjolras and Students
- The Sewers – Orchestra
- Dog Eats Dog (The Sewers) – Thénardier
- Javert's Suicide – Valjean and Javert
- Turning – Women of Paris
- Empty Chairs At Empty Tables – Marius
- Every Day - A Heart Full of Love (Reprise) – Cosette, Marius and Valjean
- Valjean's Confession – Valjean and Marius
- Wedding Chorale – Guests, Thénardier, Marius and Madame Thénardier
- Beggars at the Feast – Thénardier and Madame Thénardier
- Valjean's Death – Valjean, Fantine, Cosette, Marius and Éponine
- Finale – Enjolras, Gavroche, Students, Valjean, Fantine, Éponine, Marius, Cosette, and Company
Original French production
French songwriter Alain Boublil had the idea to adapt Victor Hugo's novel into a musical while at a performance of the musical Oliver! in London:
"As soon as the Artful Dodger came onstage, Gavroche came to mind. It was like a blow to the solar plexus. I started seeing all the characters of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables— Valjean, Javert, Gavroche, Cosette, Marius, and Éponine — in my mind's eye, laughing, crying, and singing onstage."
He pitched the idea to French composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, and developed a rough synopsis of what they believed would work in a musical. They worked up an analysis of each character's mental and emotional state, as well as that of an audience watching the show. Schönberg then began to write the music. Two years later, a two-hour demo tape with Schönberg accompanying himself on the piano and singing every role was finally completed. An album of this collaboration was recorded at CTS Studios in Wembley and was released in 1980, selling 260,000 copies.
The concept album includes Maurice Barrier as Jean Valjean, Jacques Mercier as Javert, Rose Laurens as Fantine, Yvan Dautin as Thénardier, Marie-France Roussel as Mme. Thénardier, Richard Dewitte as Marius, Fabienne Guyon as Cosette, Marie-France Dufour as Éponine, Michel Sardou as Enjolras, Fabrice Bernard as Gavroche, Maryse Cédolin as Young Cosette, Claude-Michel Schönberg as Courfeyrac, Salvatore Adamo as Combeferre, Michel Delpech as Feuilly, Dominique Tirmont as M. Gillenormand, and Mireille as the hair buyer.
That year, in September 1980, a stage version directed by veteran French film director Robert Hossein was produced at the Palais des Sports in Paris. The show was a success, with 100 performances seen by over 500,000 people.
Most of the cast from the concept album performed in the production. The cast included Maurice Barrier as Valjean, Jean Vallée as Javert, Rose Laurens as Fantine, Maryse Cédolin and Sylvie Camacho and Priscilla Patron as Young Cosette, Marie-France Roussel as Mme. Thénardier, Yvan Dautin as M. Thénardier, Florence Davis and Fabrice Ploquin and Cyrille Dupont as Gavroche, Marianne Mille as Éponine, Gilles Buhlmann as Marius, Christian Ratellin as Enjolras, Fabienne Guyon as Cosette, René-Louis Baron as Combeferre, Dominique Tirmont as M. Gillenormand, and Anne Forrez as Mme. Gillenormand.
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. Kretzmer's 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 new material.
The first production in English, produced by Cameron Mackintosh and adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird, opened on 8 October 1985 (five years after the original production) 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 played to preview performances beginning on September 28, 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, who had been involved with the show since Claude-Michel and Alain hired him to orchestrate the original French concept album. Musical staging was by Kate Flatt with musical direction by Martin Koch.
The production starred Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean, Frances Ruffelle as Éponine, 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, Ian Calvin playing both as Babet and Fauchelevent and Alun Armstrong as the villainous, but funny rogue Thénardier.
On December 4, 1985, the show transferred to the Palace Theatre, London and moved again on April 3, 2004, to a much more intimate Queen's Theatre, with some revisions of staging, where it is played until July 13, 2019. It celebrated its ten-thousandth performance on 5 January 2010.
On its 21st London birthday on October 8, 2006, it became the World's Longest Running Musical, surpassing the record previously held by "Cats" in London's West End. As of October 8,2017, the show has been running for 33 years. The drummer from the original cast album, Peter Boita, is still with the show – the only musician still associated with the show that was there from the beginning.
The co-production has generated valuable income for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
After a highly successful out-of-town tryout at the Kennedy Center's Opera House in Washington D.C., the show had its Broadway début on March 12, 1987 at the Broadway Theatre. Colm Wilkinson and Frances Ruffelle reprised their roles from the London production. With record advance ticket sales, the New York production recouped its entire $4.5 million investment before the first performance.
The show underwent further tightening of plot, and an improved sewer lighting effect was incorporated into the staging. In addition, two songs were deleted – 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 in Javert's "Stars" have been changed. It now ends with the line, "This I swear by the stars!", while the London production and cast recording ended with the repeated line, "Keeping watch in the night." It was also moved from its original location between the "Waltz of Treachery" and "Look Down" into a more plot-relevant location immediately following "The Robbery". Other more minor lyrical and musical changes were made throughout the musical.
The original Broadway cast included Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean, David Bryant as Marius, Judy Kuhn as Cosette, Michael Maguire as Enjolras, Frances Ruffelle as Éponine, 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.
Other members of the original Broadway cast included: Kevin Marcum, Paul Harman, Anthony Crivello, John Dewar, Joseph Kolinski, Alex Santoriello, Jesse Corti, Susan Goodman, John Norman, Norman Large, Marcus Lovett, Steve Shocket, Cindy Benson, Marcie Shaw, Jane Bodle, Joanna Glushak, Ann Crumb, Kelli James, Gretchen Kingsley-Weihe, Chrissie McDonald. Michael Hinton was the original drummer and credited on the cast album.
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. 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.
This Broadway production of Les Misérables and its advertising in New York City is a reoccurring themes in Bret Easton Ellis' 1991 novel American Psycho.
2006 Broadway revival
Only three years after the original run closed, 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.
Using the set, costumes, performers, and other resources from the recently closed third U.S. national touring production, the production was only slightly altered. Minor changes included a new costume for Cosette, the use of colourful projections blended into its existing lighting design, and a proscenium that extended out into the first two boxes on either side of the stage.
Some cuts previously made to the show during its original Broadway run were restored, new lyrics were penned for Gavroche's death scene (known in the revival as "Ten Little Bullets"), and much of the show was re-orchestrated by Christopher Janke, introducing a snare and timpani heavy sound played by a 14 member band, a reduction of about 10 musicians from the original score's requirement of 23–25.
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, Steve LeFayt as The Bishop of Digne and Drew Sarich as Grantaire.
Fantine was played by Lea Salonga beginning on March 2, 2007. Ann Harada 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 (who played Valjean in London) was to join the Broadway cast. In return, Drew Sarich (the Valjean on Broadway) was joining the London cast in Owen-Jones' place. Judy Kuhn, who originated the role of Cosette returned to the show after 20 years as Fantine, succeeding Lea Salonga, who previously played the role of Éponine.
On September 27, 2007, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo attended the 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. Later that year, the show went temporarily dark because of the Broadway stagehands' strike.
The revival closed on January 6, 2008. Combined with the original production's 6,680 performances, Les Misérables has played 7,176 performances on Broadway.
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 approximately 125,000 as part of the Australia day celebrations in Sydney's Domain Park. The Scandinavian concert tour, produced by Cameron Mackintosh in association with Noble Art, starred Danish musical icon Stig Rossen in the leading role and commemorated author Victor Hugo's 200th birthday. Venues on the tour included the Stockholm Globen, Oslo Spektrum, the Helsinki Hartwell Areena, and the Gothenburg Scandinavium, with audiences totalling over 150,000 for the complete tour.
In February 2007, 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,directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, 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 Éponine, Tony winning Jersey Boys star John Lloyd Young as Marius, West End star Tom Lowe as Enjolras, Michael McCormick as Thénardier, Ruth Williamson as Madame Thénardier, Michele Maika as Cosette, Maddie Levy as Young Cosette, and Sage Ryan as Gavroche.
In September 2008, it was performed at the St John Loveridge Hall in Guernsey with a cast of West End performers—the first time that it had been professionally performed on the Island where Victor Hugo wrote the novel. Former London Valjean Phil Cavill reprised his role alongside Les Misérables veteran Michael McCarthy as Javert. In March 2009, the Guernsey production was remounted at Fort Regent in Jersey; and in July 2009, the musical was performed in concert at Osborne House on the Isle Of Wight.
National U.S. Broadway tours
The show had three national touring productions in the U.S., all of which shared the Broadway producer and manager, cast, creative teams, sets, costumes, and lighting. While the touring production and the New York production were running simultaneously, the staff, cast members, crew, and musicians of the two productions interchanged often, which contributed to keeping both companies of the show in form. When the New York production closed in 2003, the Third National Tour continued for another three years, and enjoyed the influx of many members from the original and subsequent New York companies.
The First National Tour opened at Boston's Shubert Theatre on December 12, 1987, and continued to play until late 1991.
The Second National Tour opened at Los Angeles' Shubert Theatre on June 1, 1988. The production played for 14 months then closed.
The 2nd, Second National Company (Fantine #2) was assembled for San Francisco. The company rehearsed for 3 weeks at Theatre Artaud in San Francisco and Opened as a sit down Company at San Francisco's Curran Theatre. Delays caused from the damages the city suffered from the Loma Prieta Earthquake, the orginal opening date was delayed till Nov. 1st. It played till Spring 1991. The Cast included members from the Broadway, 1st, 2nd & 3rd National and Austrailian Companies.
Jean Valjean: Rich Hebert, Javert: Richard Kinsey, Fantine: Kelly Ground, Tenardier: Gary Beach, Madame Tenardier: Gina Ferrall, Marius: Matthew Porretta, Cosette: Jacquelyn Piro, Eponine: Michele Maika, Enjolras: Craig Oldfather, Gavroche: Rider Strong, Ian Werkheiser, Young Cossette-Eponine: Larisa Oleynik, Sabrina Harris
The Third National Tour of Les Misérables (called "The Marius Company") was one of the longest running American touring musicals. Opening on 28 November 1988 at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Florida and closing on July 23, 2006, at the Fox Theatre in Saint Louis, Missouri, the tour ran for seventeen years and seven thousand sixty-one performances. The tour played in one hundred forty-five cities in forty-three states. The same touring company also frequently performed in Canada, and made a diversion in 2002 to visit Shanghai, China for three weeks.
The final company of the Third National Broadway Tour included Randal Keith as Valjean (Keith also played Valjean in the final company of the original Broadway engagement), Robert Hunt as Javert, Joan Almedilla as Fantine, Daniel Bogart as Marius, Norman Large (from Original Broadway Cast) as Monsieur Thénardier, Jennifer Butt (from Original Broadway Cast) as Madame Thénardier, Melissa Lyons as Éponine, Ali Ewoldt as Cosette, Victor Wallace as Enjolras, Meg Guzulescu and Rachel Schier alternating as Young Cosette and Young Éponine, Austyn Myers and Anthony Skillman alternating as Gavroche
25th anniversary international tour
A new tour to commemorate the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the London Production began performances on December 12, 2009, at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, which was scheduled to run to January 16, 2010. The production has a new set, new direction and alterations to the original orchestrations. The tour is scheduled to tour the UK with confirmed stops at the Palace Theatre, Manchester; Theatre Royal, Norwich; Birmingham Hippodrome; Edinburgh Playhouse & Bristol Hippodrome. The tour will also play a limited engagement at the Chatelet Theatre, Paris from May 26 – July 4, 2010; The Lowry Centre, Salford from 10–21 August 2010; the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton from 24 August-11 September and then onto a strictly limited engagement at the Barbican Centre, London from 14 September – 2 October 2010. The tour stars John Owen-Jones as Valjean; Earl Carpenter as Javert; Gareth Gates as Marius, Jon Robyns as Enjolras, Ashley Artus as Thénardier, Rosalind James as Éponine, Madalena Alberto as Fantine, Lynne Wilmot as Madame Thénardier and Katie Hall as Cosette.
The show has been produced in fourty-two countries and translated into twenty-two languages (English, French, German (two from Austria and Germany), Spanish (three from Spain, Argentinia and Mexico), Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian (two in Bokmål and Nynorsk), Polish, Swedish, Dutch (two from the Netherlands and Belgium), Danish, Finnish, Brazilian Portuguese, Estonian, Czech, Mauritian Creole, Basque, Catalan). Including singles and promos, there have been over fifty-five official recordings from worldwide productions.
Unless otherwise indicated by "NR" (denoting a non-replica production) productions listed here featured the full London/Broadway staging (revolving stage, automated barricades, etc.)
- Palais des Sports, Paris. Opened September 17. Closed December 14. (NR)
- Barbican Theatre, London. Opened October 8. Production transferred to the Palace Theatre on December 4. In April 2004, production moved to the Queen's Theatre, where it is currently running.
- Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington D.C. American premiere/out-of-town tryout. Opened December 27. Closed February 14, 1987.
- Broadway Theatre, New York. Opened on Broadway on March 12. Production moved to the Imperial Theatre in October 1990. Closed May 18, 2003.
- Imperial Theatre: Tokyo, Japan. Japanese Production opened June 17. Closed November 30. Production has toured Japan ever since with stops in Nagoya; Osaka; Sendai; Sapporo; and Tokyo. In repertory since '87.
- Cameri Theatre: Tel Aviv, Israel. Israeli Production opened August 9. Closed March 31, 1989. (NR)
- Rock Theatre: Szeged, Hungary. Hungarian Production opened August 14. Closed August 21. (NR)
- Vigszinhaz Theatre: Budapest, Hungary. Opened September 14. Closed September 21. In repertory. (NR)
- Theatre Royal, Sydney, Australia. Australian Production opened November 27. Closed July 15, 1989. Production then toured Australia and New Zealand with stops in Perth; Melbourne; Adelaide; Brisbane; and Auckland.
- Shubert Theatre: Boston, MA. This was the launch of the 1st U.S. National Tour, nicknamed the "Valjean Company." Opened December 15. Closed June 26, 1988. It would return to Boston for a second engagement again at the Shubert Theatre in 1990. The tour itinerary included stops in Washington D.C. (2 engagements; Kennedy Center, 1988 and then at the National Theatre, 1990); Philadelphia (2 engagements; 1988 & 1990 both at the Forrest Theatre); Chicago (2 engagements; 1989 & 1991 both at the Auditorium Theatre); Detroit (Fisher Theatre, 1989); Baltimore (Mechanic Theatre, 1990); and Los Angeles (Pantages Theatre, 1991). Tour closed in Chicago on September 29, 1991. The set was then flown to the U.K. and used for the U.K. National Tour.
- National Theatre of Iceland: Reykjavik, Iceland. Icelandic Production opened December 26. Closed June 5, 1988. (NR)
- Det Norske Teatret: Oslo, Norway. Norwegian Production opened March 17. Closed December 31.
- Shubert Theatre: Los Angeles, CA. This was the launch of the 2nd U.S. National Tour, nicknamed the "Fantine Company." Opened June 1st. Closed July 23, 1989. It then transferred to the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, CA, opening in November 1989. Tour closed in San Francisco in January 1991. The set was then flown to France and used for the French production at the Mogador Theatre in Paris.
- Raimund Theatre: Vienna, Austria. Austrian Production opened September 15. Closed March 31, 1990. This was the premiere German-language production.
- Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center: Tampa, FL. Opened November 28. Closed December 11. This was the launch of the 3rd U.S. National Tour, nicknamed the "Marius Company." The tour itinerary included stops in 145 cities, in 43 states, including engagements in Canada, Singapore, and China. Tour closed in St. Louis, MO on July 23, 2006.
- Royal Alexandra Theatre: Toronto, Canada. Canadian Production opened March 15. Closed May 26, 1992. Production then toured Canada with stops in Calgary; Vancouver; Montreal (bilingual cast); Winnipeg; Ottawa; Edmonton; Hamilton; Honolulu, HI; and Regina.
- Teatr Muzyczny: Gdynia, Poland. Opened June 30. In repertory to date. (NR)
- Cirkus Theatre: Stockholm, Sweden. Swedish Production opened October 12. Closed December 14, 1991.
- Carre Theatre: Amsterdam, Netherlands. Dutch Production opened February 28. Closed October 20. Production then transferred to the Cirkustheater in Scheveningen and closed March 8, 1992.
- Odense Teater: Odense, Denmark. Danish Production opened April 20. Closed June 22. (NR)
- Mogador Theatre: Paris, France. French Production opened on October 23. Closed May 24, 1992. Ironically, this was the only international production of the original RSC version of Les Miserables that failed to recoup its multi-million dollar investment, closing earlier than expected despite receiving great local reviews and receiving a rapturous opening night standing ovation. The reason for its failure is due to culture; musicals at the time were virtually unknown in France. Interestingly, the original arena production at the Palais des Sports in Paris was a huge success, selling out and generating a lot of record sales of its original French Concept album in 1980; an even earlier period where musicals were even less known in France.
- Palace Theatre: Manchester, England. Opened April 14. Closed May 1, 1993. This was the launch of the U.K. National Tour. It went on to play Dublin; and Edinburgh. Tour closed on February 19, 1994 in Scotland.
- Vinorhady Theatre: Prague, Czech Republic. Czechoslovakian Production opened June 25. Closed September 13. (NR)
- Teatro Nuevo Apolo: Madrid, Spain. Spanish Production opened September 16. Closed May 29, 1994. The only replica production that incorporated an alternative method of bringing the two barricade halves onto the stage.
- Ostre Gasvaerk Teater: Copenhagen, Denmark. Opened December 27. Closed December 31, 1993. (NR)
- Point Theatre: Dublin, Ireland. Opened June 30. Closed in September.
- Edinburgh Playhouse: Edinburgh, Scotland. Opened September 23. Closed February 19, 1994.
- Meralco Theatre: Manila, Philippines. Opened October 7. Closed October 31. (NR)
- Kallang Theatre: U.S. third national tour makes a special trip to Singapore. Opened February 3. Closed April 17.
- Music Hall/Theater am Marientor: Duisburg, Germany. Opened January 26. Closed November 28, 1999.
- Kallang Theatre: Asian/African tour launched in Singapore. Opened February 28. Closed March 31. Production continued on to Hong Kong, Seoul, and Cape Town, South Africa.
- Karlstads Teater: Karlstad, Sweden. Opened October 15. Closed April 27, 1997. (NR)
- Aalborg Teater: Aalborg, Denmark. Opened 14 November. Closed 4 January 1997. (NR)
- Imperial Theatre, Broadway. Opened March 12. Special 10th anniversary performance and first look at slightly revamped production.
- Theatre Royal, Sydney, Australia. Opened November 29. Closed June 13, 1998. Launch of the 10th anniversary Australian tour, with stops in Melbourne; Auckland, New Zealand; Perth; and Brisbane.
- Music Hall: Antwerp, Belgium. Opened May 24. Closed April 25, 1999. This production was performed in both French and Flemish.
- Aarhus Theatre: Aarhus, Denmark. Opened September 4. Closed December 31. (NR)
- City Hall: Hamilton, Bermuda. Opened October 5. Closed October 17. (NR)
- City Theatre: Helsinki, Finland. Opened February 25. Closed May 29. In repertory. (NR)
- Kongrescenter: Herning, Denmark. Opened April 15. Closed May 30. (NR)
- Municipal Theatre: Mahebourg, Mauritius. Opened June 12. Closed June 28. (NR)
- Performing Arts Center: Tel Aviv, Israel. Opened July 20. Closed September 4. (NR)
- Madach Theatre: Budapest, Hungary. Opened November 20. In repertory to date. (NR)
- Teatro Opera: Buenos Aires, Argentina. Opened March 22. Closed October 15.
- Opera House: Gothenburg, Sweden. Opened April 22. Closed September 23. (NR)
- Opera Bonn: Bonn, Germany. Opened April 8. Closed July 7. (NR)
- Teatro Abril: São Paulo, Brazil. Opened April 25.
- Roadside Theatre: Heidelberg, Patton Barracks, Germany. Opened May 11. Closed June 10. (NR)
- Opernhaus: Chemnitz, Germany. Opened October 21. In repertory to date. (NR)
- City Hall Theatre: Tallinn, Estonia. Opened November 1. Closed November 25. (NR)
- Centro Cultural Telmex: Mexico City, Mexico. Opened November 14. Closed August 30, 2004.
- Staatstheater: Saarbrücken, Germany. Opened December 7. In repertory to date. (NR)
- Anhalitisches Theatre: Dessau, Germany. Opened March 21. Closed June 27. (NR)
- Moster Amfi: Bolmo, Norway. Opened August 8. Closed August 16. (NR)
- Goja Music Hall: Prague, Czech Republic. Opened September 16. In repertory to date. (NR)
- Theater des Westens: Berlin, Germany. Opened September 26. Closed December 31, 2004.
- Trøndelag Teater: Trondheim, Norway. Opened February 25. Closed October 14, 2005.
- Madlenianum Opera and Theatre: Belgrade, Serbia. Opened October 18. In repertory to date. (NR)
- Akershus Teater: Lillestrøm, Norway. Opened January 29 for a limited run. (NR)
- Theatre Du Capitole: Quebec, Canada. (NR)
- Luxor Theatre: Rotterdam, Netherlands. Opened April 20. Closed January 4, 2009.
- Carré Theatre: Amsterdam, Netherlands. Opened January 17. Closed February 22.
- Oslo Nye Teater: Oslo, Norway. Opened February 4. Closed June 20. (NR)
- Det Ny Teater: Copenhagen, Denmark. Opened September 17. Closed December 31. (NR)
- Wales Millennium Centre: Cardiff, UK. Opened December 12. Closed January 16, 2010. (NR). The tour will commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the show with stops in Manchester, Norwich, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Paris, and London.
- Palace Theatre, Manchester: UK. Opened January 19. Closed February 13. (NR)\
- Theatre Royal, Norwich: UK. Opened February 16 . Closed March 20. (NR)
- Birmingham Hippodrome: Birmingham, UK. Opened March 23. Closed April 17. (NR)
- Edinburgh Playhouse: Edinburgh, UK. Opened April 20. Closed May 15. (NR)
- Théâtre du Châtelet: Paris, France. Opened May 26. Will close July 4. (NR)
- Bristol Hippodrome: Bristol, UK. Will open July 13. Will close August 7. (NR)
- The Lowry: Salford: UK. Will open August 10. Will close August 21. (NR)
- The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton: UK. Will open August 24. Will close September 11. (NR)
- Barbican Centre: London, UK. Will open September 14. Will close October 2. (NR)
- Teatr Muzyczny Roma: Warsaw, Poland. Will open September 20.
- Teatro Lope de Vega: Madrid, Spain. Will open November 18.
- Poeun Art Hall,Yongin, Korea. Opened November 3. (NR)
- Blue Square’s Samsung Electronics Hall, Seoul, Korea. Opened April 26. Closed September 1.(NR)
North American regional productions
With the approval of the Cameron Mackintosh organization, Music Theatre International selected the USAREUR Roadside Theater in Heidelberg, Germany for the American Community Theater World Premiere of Les Misérables. The premiere took place May 11, 2001, with the production closing June 10, 2001. This production was also one of the first uses of the Sinfonia system by MTI in collaboration with Realtime Music Solutions, later used in the London production.
Beginning in 2007, a limited number of regional productions (five in the US, two in Canada) of Les Misérables licensed by Cameron Mackintosh have been staged.
The California Musical Theatre (CMT) (Sacramento, California) in its Music Circus summer series (production ran from July 10 thru July 22, 2007) staged the show as theater in the round. Glenn Casale, choreographed by Bob Richard, with music directed by Andrew Bryan, directed the production that featured Ivan Rutherford who gave over one thousand eight hundred performances as Jean Valjean on Broadway as well as performing in the 10th Anniversary Company.
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. The Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque Canada staged a production, which opened July 4, 2008, featured Lee B.Siegel as Valjean, Shane Carty as Javert, Kevin Power as Thénardier, Marcia Tratt as Madame Thénardier, Ramona Gilmour-Darling as Éponine, Ashley Taylor as Cosette, Shannon Barnett as Fantine, Dale R. 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 22, July 23 (matinee), July 24, and July 26 (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, 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 has been 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 played Eisenhower Hall at the United States Military Academy, 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. The show featured a new set of original pictures painted by Victor Hugo himself. Robert Evan played Valjean, returning to the role he played in the mid-nineties on Broadway. Also featured were Nikki Rene Daniels as Fantine and Robert Hunt as Javert, both reprising their roles from the Broadway revival. Fred Hanson directed the production. The creative team included 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.
In 2008, the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia staged a small venue "black box" version of the play. Signature was honoured to receive Mackintosh's special permission for the production: "One of the great pleasures of being involved with the creation of Les Misérables is seeing this marvelous musical being done in a completely different and original way. Having seen many shows brilliantly reimagined at Signature I have no doubt that Eric and his team will come up with a revolutionary new take on Les Miz unlike anything anyone has seen before. Viva la différence!" This triumph, coupled with years of imaginative productions, earned Signature the 2009 Regional Theater Tony Award. The production officially opened on December 14, 2008 (after previews from December 2), and runs through February 22, 2009 (extended from January 25, 2009).
Northern Stage, a regional theatre company in White River Junction, VT, also staged a December 2008 production on a small stage; in their case, it was a three-quarter-thrust stage in a 245-seat house. This production featured Timothy Shew as Jean Valjean, Mary Gutzi as Madame Thénardier and Kevin David Thomas as Marius, all of whom appeared in the Broadway production (where Shew starred as Valjean, Gutzi as Fantine and Thomas as Marius). The production also featured Broadway veterans Dan Sharkey (The Music Man) and David DeWitt (Phantom of the Opera). The production was directed by Northern Stage Artistic Director Brooke Ciardelli.
In July 2009, the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (CLO) staged Les Misérables as part of their summer show collection.
Les Misérables school edition
The School Edition cuts a considerable amount of material from the original show. It is divided into thirty scenes and, although no "critical" scenes or songs have been removed, it runs twenty-five–thirty minutes shorter than the "official" version. A few subtle changes of vocal pitch have been made: "What Have I Done?", Valjean's Soliloquy, "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. The song "Fantine's Death/Confrontation" is edited, removing the signature counterpoint duel between Valjean and Javert. "Dog Eats Dog" by Thénardier is truncated, as is as "Beggars at the Feast", with the song before it, "Wedding Chorale" is considerably shortened. The role of Marius is almost entirely intact, while the role of Javert is significantly smaller.
After The King's Theatre, The King's School and Tara Anglican School for Girls, in Sydney, Australia, gained rights for the full production in late 2000 from Cameron Mackintosh to perform the show, Music 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 best selling play for high schools in the year 2006.
The Helen Hayes Theatre Company in Nyack, New York marked the American premiere of the student edition in October 2001. Several of the cast members have gone on to Broadway/National tours/Film/Television. Skylar Astin (Enjolras), Sara Kramer (Cosette), Adam Chanler-Berat (Thenardier), & Michael Noah Levine (Marius). From this version, Cameron Mackintosh and Music Theatre International produced the Les Misérables: School Edition Cast Recording in 2002. Erich Bergen, who currently stars in the hit t.v. show, Madame Secretary, joins the 2001 cast as Thenardier. The album has recognition to hundreds of theatres housing the production worldwide.
10th anniversary London concert
On October 8, 1995, the show celebrated its tenth anniversary with a concert at the Royal Albert Hall. This Tenth 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, which has come to be called the Les Misérables Dream Cast, assembling cast members from around the world. The concert concluded with Valjeans from various international productions singing, "Do You Hear the People Sing?" in their native languages. The cast: Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean, Philip Quast as Javert, Michael Ball as Marius Pontmercy, Lea Salonga as Éponine, Judy Kahn as Cosette, Ruthie Henshall as Fantine, Michael Maguire as Enjolras, Alun Armstron as Thénardier and Jenny Galloway as Madame Thénardier.
25th Anniversary Concert
The 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Misérables was held at The O2 in North Greenwich on Sunday, 3 October 2010 at 1:30 pm and 7:00 pm.
It featured Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean, Norm Lewis as Javert, Lea Salonga as Fantine, Nick Jonas as Marius, Katie Hall as Cosette, Jenny Galloway as Madame Thénardier, Ramin Karimloo as Enjolras, Samantha Barks as Éponine, Matt Lucas as Thénardier, Mia Jenkins as Young Cosette, Robert Madge as Gavroche and Earl Carpenter as the Bishop of Digne. (Originally, Camilla Kerslake had been selected to perform as Cosette, however she was unable to attend. Katie Hall was selected in her place. Hall had previously acted the role at the Queen's Theatre from 2009 and in the 25th Anniversary Tour production at the Barbican.) Casts of the current London, international tour and original 1985 London productions took part, comprising an ensemble of three hundred performers and musicians. The concert was staged by Ken Caswell who had been an original cast member in 1985.
The 25th Anniversary Concert was recorded live at The O2 (London) on 3 October 2010 and is available on DVD in the UK while the Blu-ray was released worldwide. It was shown in select US theaters via NCM Fathom Events. The release for the DVD in the United States was 22 February 2011. A CD single of the 'Valjean Quartet' singing "Bring Him Home" was also recorded and released with proceeds going to the charity "Tickets For Troops."
30th Anniversary Gala
On October 8, 2015 the Queen's Theatre hosted the 30th anniversary gala, which included the current company, members of the original cast and special guests.
Although numerous films of the Les Misérables story have been made, no film adaptation of the stage musical was produced for many years. A film adaptation has been in development several times since the late 1980s. Alan Parker was reported to be connected to an adaptation at an early stage. In 1992 Mackintosh announced planning for a film to be directed by Bruce Beresford and co-produced by Tri-Star Pictures, but the project was later abandoned.
The 2010 DVD/Blu-ray release of Les Misérables: 25th Anniversary Concert included an announcement of revised plans for a film adaptation which was later confirmed by Mackintosh. Tom Hooper signed on in March 2011 to direct the Mackintosh-produced film from a screenplay by William Nicholson. In June 2011 Working Title and Mackintosh announced that the film would begin principal photography in early 2012 for a December release date. The film, starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert, and Anne Hathaway as Fantine, opened on Christmas Day of 2012, and went on to win three Golden Globe Awards including Best Picture - Musical or Comedy, Best Actor (Jackman) and Best Supporting Actress (Hathaway). It was also nominated for eight Academy Awards.
- The musical is featured in an episode of the podcast, "Musicals with Cheese," on December 26, 2019.
- Original London Cast Recording
- Original Broadway Cast Recording
- Complete Symphonic Recording
- 10th Anniversary Concert Recording
- Manchester Highlights
- 25th Anniversary Cast Recording
There are also various foreign language cast albums of the musical.
- 1980 Original French Concept Album
- 1987 Original Israeli Cast
- 1988 Original Hungarian Cast
- 1988 Original Vienna Cast
- 1990 Original Swedish Cast
- 1991 Original Dutch Cast
- 1991 Paris Revival Cast
- 1992 Original Danish Cast
- 1992 Original Czech Cast
- 1993 Original Madrid Cast
- 1994 Japanese "Blue" Cast
- 1994 Japanese "Red" Cast
- 1996 Original Duisburg Cast
- 1996 Swedish Värmland Cast
- 1998 Original Antwerp Cast
- 2003 Japanese "Orange" Cast
- 2003 Japanese "Green" Cast
- 2003 Japanese "Light Blue" Cast
- 2003 Japanese "Violet" Cast
- 2004 Czech Revival Cast
- 2008 Dutch Revival Cast
- 2008 Quebec Cast
- 2010 Polish Revival Cast
- 2010 Spanish 25th Anniversary Production Cast
- 2011 Czech Cast
- 2017 French Concert Cast
Awards and nominations
Original London production
|1985||Laurence Olivier Award||Best New Musical||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Musical||Colm Wilkinson||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Musical||Patti LuPone||Won|
|2012||Laurence Olivier Award||Audience Award for Most Popular Show||Won|
Original Broadway production
|1987||Tony Award||Best Musical||Won|
|Best Book of a Musical||Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg||Won|
|Best Original Score||Claude-Michel Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer||Won|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Colm Wilkinson||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||Michael Maguire||Won|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical||Judy Kuhn||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Trevor Nunn and John Caird||Won|
|Best Scenic Design||John Napier||Won|
|Best Costume Design||Andreane Neofitou||Nominated|
|Best Lighting Design||David Hersey||Won|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Musical||Won|
|Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Colm Wilkinson||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Michael Maguire||Won|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Judy Kuhn||Nominated|
|Outstanding Orchestrations||John Cameron||Won|
|Outstanding Music||Claude-Michel Schönberg||Won|
|Outstanding Set Design||John Napier||Won|