Based on Victor Hugo's French historical novel of the same name, Les Misérables has now become the world's longest-running musical. It has been enjoying an enduring success lately, having done productions in different countries and in different languages. In the USA, the musical has become a hot favorite of regional theater companies. Its current North American Tour is attracting theatergoers due to its re-worked set design and added features.
In 1983, producer Cameron Mackintosh joined hands with Boublil and Schönberg to work on an English language version of a short-lived French stage adaptation of Les Misérables. They worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and made a team that would adapt the material for British audience. Two years later, in October 1985, Les Misérables opened in London at the Barbican Centre. Although the critics did not appreciate it much, the musical got stupendous response from the audience and went for a record-breaking run on West End. The musical had its Broadway premier in 1987. In the later years, the musical witnessed many revivals, concerts, regional and school productions, as well as national and international tours. It celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010 by marking a theatrical first of its kind. On this occasion, Les Misérables was simultaneously presented in three different productions in one city. This included the original London production that successfully continued its run since 1985, a new 25th Anniversary production, and a concert production at The O2. Although the popularity of Les Misérables has never faded away, it started to hog more limelight after the release of Tom Hooper's movie version in 2012 that starred Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hataway. Thanks to it, there is an added interest in the ongoing stage productions and Les Misérables tickets are selling like hot cakes.
The current tour of Les Misérables is underway to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of this theatrical masterpiece. It is produced by Cameron Mackintosh who has also produced its movie version in 2012. A theater icon like no other, Mackintosh is the man behind some of the biggest musicals of the past four decades such as Cats, Phantom of the Opera, and Mary Poppins. The musical is co-directed by James Powell and Laurence Connor. Claude-Michel Schönberg has written its book and music while Herbert Kretzmer is the lyricist. Its principle cast includes Peter Lockyer, Andrew Varela, Jason Forbach, Genevieve Leclerc, Briana Carlson-Goodman, Laren Wiley, and Devin Ilaw.
What's new in Les Misérables?
Its creators have re-designed the show for a new generation of theater audience. The new production uses multimedia and projected scenery to portray time transition. This means that the turntable set that was associated with the original London production and other subsequent productions is no more there. Interestingly, some of Victor Hugo's original drawings and paintings have been used for the scenography of the revamped musical. Another attraction of this production is its new sound design. The orchestral feel of its music is still there but some new sounds are added to highlight the drama in the plot. If you are among the diehard fans of original Les Misérables, be assured that the current production will have all the classic elements in place that you have grown to love over the years. This production is just more cinematic in scope. And if you are seeing it for the first time then celebrate the fact that this is one of the finest productions of Les Misérables ever. Featuring breathtaking scenery, powerful performances, and a timeless musical score, this musical is an out-an-out winner for sure.