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. It’s directed by Trevor Nunn with John Caird and designed by John Napier. The current cast is led by John Owen-Jones as Jean Valjean and Hans Peter Janssens as his police nemesis Javert.
The landmark Royal Shakespeare Company production 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).
In May 2003, the original New York production of Les Miserables closed following a 16-year run, but just three years later, in November 2006, Cameron Mackintosh revived the musical at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre, where it’s still running. Globally, Les Miserables has been seen by over 55 million people in 38 countries and 21 languages, resulting in 33 cast recordings to date.
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For Whatsonstage.com TV, we were on hand for the Les Miserables curtain call and post-show celebrations at the Queen’s Theatre on Friday. Amongst our TV interviewees are cast members John Owen-Jones, Hans Peter Janssens, Cassandra Compton, composer Claude-Michel Schönberg and attendees including television presenter Paul Ross.
- by Terri Paddock