The West End’s longest-running musical Les Miserables celebrated its 23rd birthday last night (8 October 2008). Following the evening performance at the Queen’s Theatre, the company adjourned to the nearby Prince of Wales theatre’s Delfont Room to cut a massive cake and toast the show’s success.

They were joined in the festivities by the production’s original director Trevor Nunn and I’d Do Anything victor Jodie Prenger, who, during preparations her starring role in Oliver! later this year, joined the Les Mis ensemble to gain extra West End stage experience (See News, 21 Aug 2008).

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF LES MISERABLES\' BIRTHDAY PHOTOS,
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PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.

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/Cameron Mackintosh co-production – co-directed by John Caird and designed by John Napier - had its first performance on 8 October 1985 at the Barbican Theatre before transferring 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). Globally, the musical has been seen by over 55 million people in 40 countries and 21 languages.

The current cast is led by Broadway star Drew Sarich as Jean Valjean, Earl Carpenter as Javert and Jon Robyns as Marisu. They’re joined by Leanne Dobinson, Nancy Sullivan – who competed on, respectively, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? and I’d Do Anything - Jimmy Johnston, Allyson Brown, David Thaxton and Jackie Marks.

- by Terri Paddock