There is no better stage adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables than Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil. Popularized through the English version by producer Cameron Mackintosh. This version, which has been running since 1985, continues to capture people’s hearts for its powerful and moving music, raw performances, and well-written plot. It holds the record of being the greatest musical of all time. The groundbreaking musical is coming to the Academy of Music in Philadelphia this fall. This is the most evocative musical you will ever hear.
“It’s a smash all right. Magnificent stagecraft is joined to an uplifting theme of heroic human commitment and to stirring music in “Les Miserables,” the touted London import which arrived at the Broadway Theater for what will be a stay of several years.” – Variety
Les Miserables is set in 1800s France, wherein a political upheaval is brewing. The plot follows the “miserables” or the miserable ones starting with Jean Valjean, the fierce advocate Marius Pontmercy, Fantine, Cosette, Eponine, and Inspector Javert. Tragedies after tragedies plague their lives, testing their strengths.
The musical Les Miserables started as a French concept album. Its first adaptation was opened at the Palais de Sports in France. Cameron Mackintosh discovered the work after receiving a copy of the French album sent by Peter Farago. This was six months after his work with the hit musical Cats. Farago fell in love with the album and insisted that Mackintosh produce the musical’s English version. At first, Mackintosh was unenthusiastic about the proposal but later on agreed. He worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and formed a production team to bring the musical to English. This includes the lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, additional musical reworks by James Fento, the direction of Trevor Nunn and John Caird, set design by John Napier, costume by Andreane Neofitou, lighting by David Hersey, and orchestration of John Cameron.
The production premiered in Barbican Centre in London on October 8, 1985. A mixed response welcomed it. But as time passed, the musical aged like a fine wine from one performance to another. It broke records after, with it selling out every performance. It transferred to the Palace Theatre in London on December 4, 1985. It stayed there until 2004, moving to the Queen’s Theatre.
Before it started on Broadway, Les Miserables was first performed at the Opera House of the prestigious Kennedy Center. It transferred to Broadway on March 12, 1987, at The Broadway Theatre. Its significant effect became a phenomenon and game-changer among Broadway musicals. It also seeped through the pop culture of New York and, subsequently, all of America.
The original West End production won three Laurence Olivier awards. These are “Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical” for Patti Lupone’s performance as Fantine in 1985. It won the “Audience Award for Most Popular Show” in 2012 and 2014. On the other hand, the original Broadway show won 8 Tony awards. These are for “Best Musical,” “Best Book of a Musical,” “Best Original Score,” “Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical” for Michael Maguire, who played Enjolras, “Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical” for Frances Ruffelle, who played Eponine, “Best Direction of a Musical” for Trevor Nunn and John Caird, “Best Scenic Design” for John Napier and “Best Lighting Design” for David Hersey.
The beloved musical is coming to the Academy of Music Philadelphia in Pennsylvania from November 2 to 13. This breathtaking and moving musical is a must-see. Get your tickets now by hitting the “Get Tickets” links.