The event will mark another international first, further securing the Boublil and Schonberg musical’s place in the theatrical history books – with three different productions of the same show in the same city at one time. In fact, for the Sunday performance, stars from both the original production at the West End’s Queen’s Theatre and from the revamped 25th anniversary production, currently touring and returning home to the Barbican Theatre from 14 September to 2 October, as well as some the show’s original stars and myriad other celebrities and performers will “come together to celebrate this momentous occasion”.
The concert company of over 300 actors and musicians will include: Tony Award-winning opera tenor Alfie Boe as ‘Jean Valjean’, pop star Nick Jonas as ‘Marius’ (Jonas makes his West End debut in the part this summer), Norm Lewis as ‘Javert’, Little Britain star Matt Lucas (returning to the stage for the first time since pulling out of the West End play Prick Up Your Ears after the suicide of his ex-partner last October) as ‘Thénardier’, Lea Salonga as ‘Fantine’, Jenny Galloway as ‘Madame Thénardier’ (a part she’s played many times, including for the 10th anniversary at the Royal Albert Hall) and English classical crossover singer Camilla Kerslake as ‘Cosette’.
Lea Salonga, who will fly in from Manila specially for the concert, has played ‘Eponine’ in London and ‘Fantine’ on Broadway and is best known internationally for creating the role of ‘Kim’ in another Mackintosh production, Miss Saigon in the West End and on Broadway. She co-starred with American Norm Lewis in Les Mis on Broadway, where his other credits include Miss Saigon, The Little Mermaid and, most recently, Sondheim on Sondheim.
Les Miserables had its world premiere at the Barbican on 8 October 1985. Based on Victor Hugo's classic humanitarian novel set in 19th-century revolutionary France, the musical has a book by Alain Boublil, music by Claude-Michel Schonberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer.
After its premiere at the Barbican, the landmark Royal Shakespeare Company production, adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird and designed by John Napier, transferred, care of Cameron Mackintosh, to the West End’s Palace Theatre where it ran for 18 years and over 7,500 performances before moving down the road to the Queen’s on 3 April 2004.
On its 21st birthday in 2006, it surpassed Cats as the West End’s longest-running musical. Globally, the musical has been seen by over 56 million people worldwide in 42 countries and in 21 languages.
The concert will be staged by the same team behind the 25th anniversary production: directors Laurence Connor and James Powell and designer Matt Kinley, with original costumes by Andreane Neofitou, additional costumes by Christine Rowland, lighting by Patrick Woodroffe and Paule Constable and sound by Mick Potter.