Based on the epic 1862 French novel by poet and novelist Victor Hugo, the musical production of Les Misérables is an enthralling tale for the ages. Colloquially know as Les Mis amongst anglophones, the story recounts the trials and tribulations of Jean Valjean, a French peasant who is released from prison after having served nearly two grueling decades of jailtime for a petty crime. Valjean is forced to reinvent himself and start life anew as a free man, breaking his parole along the way and being relentlessly pursued by law enforcement. Valjean’s adventures as a fugitive bring him into contact with people from all walks of life in this post-revolutionary France, and popular dissent quickly turns violent. Adored by over 70 million spectators across 44 countries and performed in 22 languages, Les Misérables’ universal themes of redemption, sacrifice and the pursuit of justice unite all those who watch it, through captivating songs and an enchanting story.
France, 1815: petty criminal Jean Valjean is finally being freed from prison after having served a nineteen-year sentence for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. Society looks down on Valjean due to his position as an ex-convict, and he consequently becomes an outcast who has much difficulty trying to find a job and assimilate back into society. Falling upon hard times, Valjean breaks his parole by slipping back into a life of theft but decides to start over under a new identity and lead an honest life – unfortunately, his misconduct has already caught the attention of police inspector Javert, who vows to track him down and bring Valjean to justice. Valjean reinvents himself, assuming a new identity and becoming an affluent factory owner and the mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer.
Incapable of imagining that Valjean can ever change his ways, Javert never ceases his pursuit of Valjean through the decades, despite his new-found honest ways – he has even adopted the illegitimate daughter of one of his factory workers who is terminally ill. Valjean’s daughter Cosette becomes entangled with student uprisings, and the community quickly discovers how violent and tumultuous society becomes when revolutionary undercurrents reignite the youth. A story of physical and metaphorical barricades, radical tumult, broken dreams, love and redemption, Les Misérables is an emotionally-told story which testifies to the fundamentally unbreakable nature of the human spirit and its innate yearning for freedom.
Les Misérables is a unique musical in that it is completely sung through – unlike most Broadway musicals where there are occasional breaks in song for dialogue, everything in this pop opera is belted out by performers, whose musical talents never cease to wow audiences. Its string of fifty songs lasts for just under three glorious hours, kindling the revolutionary spirit in every audience member. Despite the musical’s minimalistic set design, its music conveys a powerful assertion of the human spirit and renders Les Misérables a modern masterpiece.
Music & Cast
Les Misérables is a musical with one of the most unforgettable scores of all time. Claude-Michel Schönberg’s music is united with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer to produce memorable melodies. Songs like “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Master of the House” and “Do You Hear the People Sing?” are powerfully sung by the talented cast and have recently been made popular again thanks to the release of the 2012 film version of Les Mis which starred show-stopping actors Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne. The current touring cast of Les Misérables features Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean, alongside Josh Davis who portrays Javert, Mary Kate Moore as Fantine, and Jillian Butler as Cosette.
Now the laureate of over 100 international awards, audiences have adored Les Misérables from the get-go. Its various Broadway productions have been nominated for a total of fifteen Tony Awards – winning eight including Best Musical and Best Original Score – as well as bringing home five Drama Desk Awards from a total of seven nominations, while its West End varietals have won three Laurence Olivier Awards. The Hartford Courant lauds the musical as “A stirring, thumping, heart-throbbing return of a pop opera whose themes of revolution and righteousness seem particularly well suited to our current turbulent times,” proving that the motifs of this centuries-old tale remain relevant with spectators even to this day.
Where To Watch
The English language version of Les Misérables has been performed continuously in London since its West End debut in 1985, making it the longest running West End production of all time, and the second-longest running musical in the world. The show’s great success in London prompted it to be exported to New York, breaking onto the Broadway stage in 1987 and running through 2003. Les Mis made a return to Broadway from 2006 to 2008 and was once again revived from 2014 to 2016. The musical is constantly being regionally and internationally staged, in far-flung destinations like Singapore, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and beyond. Currently, Les Misérables is touring across the US with performances scheduled throughout Florida, in Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and more – don’t miss your chance to see this epic musical live, buy your tickets now with BroadwayToday!
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