Fresh from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, in which he made his West End debut in February (See News, 26 Nov 2008), Gareth Gates will star as revolutionary Marius in the new 25th anniversary production of Les Miserables, which launches a major international tour Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, where it runs 11 December 2009 to 16 January 2010 (See News, 16 Jun 2009).

Gates, who first found fame as the runner-up to Will Young on the first series of ITV’s Pop Idol in 2002 and last year was a Dancing on Ice semi-finalist, will star alongside two West End alumni of Les Miserables.

John Owen-Jones will reprise his West End and Broadway performance as the persecuted Jean Valjean, while Earl Carpenter will play his policeman nemesis Javert, the role he’s currently playing in the West End production. Both Owen-Jones and Carpenter have also starred, at different times, in the title role of The Phantom of the Opera in the West End.

Based on Victor Hugo's classic humanitarian novel about a persecuted man, Jean Valjean, in 19th-century revolutionary France, Les Miserables has a book by Alain Boublil, music by Claude-Michel Schonberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer.

The landmark Royal Shakespeare Company production, adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird and designed by John Napier, had its first performance on 8 October 1985 at the Barbican Theatre before transferring, care of Cameron Mackintosh, to the West End’s Palace Theatre two months later. It ran at the Palace for 18 years and over 7,500 performances before moving down the road to the Queen’s on 3 April 2004 (See News, 21 Nov 2003).

On its 21st birthday in 2006, it surpassed Cats as the West End’s longest-running musical. The London production – now led by David Shannon as Jean Valjean and Earl Carpenter – is currently booking through 27 February 2010. Globally, the musical has so far been seen by over 56 million people in 42 countries and 21 languages.

This new production is directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell and designed by Matt Kinley, inspired by the works of Victor Hugo and John Napier. Original costumes are by Andreane Neofitou, lighting by Paule Constable and sound by Mick Potter.

Following Cardiff in 2010, Les Miserables will visit Manchester (19 January-13 February), Norwich (16 February-20 March), Birmingham (23 March-17 April) and Edinburgh (20 April-15 May) before it heads to The Chatelet in Paris, with further dates to be announced.