Now in its 18th year in the West End, Les Mis has extended its booking period at the Palace Theatre by two-and-a-half months, taking it up to 28 February 2004. The musical introduced a new high-profile cast last month, including former S Club popster Jon Lee as Marius and Miss Saigon's Joanna Ampil as Fantine (See News, 28 Jul 2003).
Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, Les Mis has been seen worldwide by over 50 million people in more than 38 countries and in 21 languages. Originally adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the musical is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg. It's produced by Cameron Mackintosh.
Meanwhile, at the West End's Aldwych, Fame, which transferred to the theatre on 4 September 2002, has added another eight months to its schedule and is now taking bookings all the way up to 25 September 2004. The Runar Borge production, based on Alan Parker's 1980 Oscar-winning film and the American TV series of the same name, first opened in the West End at the Cambridge Theatre in 1995, when it was nominated for two Laurence Olivier Awards for Best New Musical and Best Choreography. It returned in 1998 for a run at the Prince of Wales Theatre.
The musical's current West End run began in October 2000 at the Victoria Palace (its second outing at that venue, where it also played in 1997) before transferring back to the Cambridge in September 2001 and then to the Aldwych last year. With its on and off appearances, it has been seen by more than 2.5 million people in London.
- by Terri Paddock