Les Mis Hits 16 Amid Hugo’s 200th CelebrationsDate: 8 October 2001
The smash-hit musical Les Miserables will celebrate its 16th birthday tonight, 8 October 2001, with a special gala performance. This evening's show will commence at the earlier time of 7.00pm, and the date also marks the opening of celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of Victor Hugo's birth.
The current London cast of Les Miserables features Hans-Peter Janssens as Jean-Valjean, Michael McCarthy as Javert and Laura-Michelle Kelly as Eponine. One of the most popular musicals ever, there have been 31 cast recordings made and a best-selling video of the 19th Anniversary Royal Albert Hall Gala Concert.
Victor Hugo was born on 26 February 1802 in France, and went on to become one of his country’s most celebrated novelists, poets and dramatists. Alongside Les Miserables, Hugo’s fame chiefly rests on the novel Notre-Dame de Paris. His recurring themes of social dissent in post-revolutionary France are also widely explored in Les Miserables. The story concerns a peasant, Jean-Valjean, who is wrongfully imprisoned and then hounded by the vindictive police officer Javert. Hugo died in Paris in 1885, and was accorded a State funeral attended by over 3 million people.
The musical is adapted and directed by John Caird and Trevor Nunn (pictured left to right during original rehearsals). Lyrics are by Herbert Kretzmer, with original text by Alain Boublil and music from Claude-Michel Schonberg. Featured songs include Bring Him Home, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables and Stars.
Other versions are currently playing in New York, Tokyo, Budapest, Sao Paolo and across the USA on tour. The London offering opened at the Barbican on 8 October 1985, before transferring to the Palace on 4 December 1985.
- by Gareth Thompson