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, and the world’s, longest-running musical. The London production – now led by David Shannon as Jean Valjean and Earl Carpenter as his policeman nemesis Javert – 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.
Speaking about the new production, producer Cameron Mackintosh said: “To celebrate 25 years of Les Miserables, I cannot think of a better gift to the show than to deliver a brand new production, just like I did with my critically acclaimed national tours of Mary Poppins and Miss Saigon. For this new production, not only has Victor Hugo inspired Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical adaptation, he has also provided, through some of his extraordinary artwork, the inspiration for the spectacular new sets.”
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. Casting for the tour has not yet been announced.
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.