At the opening of the London production of Les Misérables London, the critics had their knives out. Public opinion differed. Somethings never change, I hear you say.
The Sunday Telegraph’s Francis King: “a lurid Victorian melodrama produced with Victorian lavishness” and Michael Ratcliffe from The Observer: “a witless and synthetic entertainment“. Les Misérables has run continuously since October 1985. What say you now critics?
There will of course be those theatregoers that don’t like the musical, but many who do will usually go back to see it over and over again, the true success of a long-running production.
Les Misérables first opened in London at the Barbican Theatre on 8th October 1985. It transferred to the Palace Theatre on 4th December 1985 where it ran for 19 years before moving to its current residence at the Queen’s Theatre on 3rd April 2004.
Les Misérables celebrated its 21st London birthday on 8th October 2006, when it became the world’s longest running musical, surpassing the record previously held by Cats in London’s West End.
Winner of the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Audience Olivier Award. Cameron Mackintosh’s legendary production of Boublil and Schönberg’s Les Misérables is a global stage sensation. Seen by more than 65 million people in 42 countries and in 22 languages around the globe, it is still breaking box-office records everywhere in its 28th year.
Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit.
Ex-convict Jean Valjean is hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever. Featuring the songs ‘I Dreamed A Dream’, ‘Bring Him Home’, ‘One Day More’ and ‘On My Own’ – Les Misérables is the show of shows!
Les Misérables originally opened in London at the Barbican Theatre on 8 October 1985. It transferred to the Palace Theatre on 4 December 1985 where it ran for 19 years before moving to its current home at the Queen’s Theatre on 3 April 2004 where it has already played for 11 years and looks set to at least equal the run at the Palace Theatre as it is still playing to standing room only. When Les Misérables celebrated its 21st London birthday on 8 October 2006, it became the World’s Longest-Running Musical, surpassing the record previously held by Cats in London’s West End.
In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the legendary musical Les Misérables made theatrical history with an international first – being the only musical or play to have three different productions playing in London simultaneously. The Original Production at the Queen’s Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, the acclaimed New 25th Anniversary Production at the Barbican (where the show originally premiered in 1985) and the celebratory concert at The O2.
Seen by nearly 70 million people worldwide in 44 countries and in 22 languages, Les Misérables” is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular musicals ever written, with new productions continually opening around the globe, with seven more currently scheduled. There have been 47 cast recordings of Les Misérables, including the multi-platinum London cast recording, the Grammy Award-winning Broadway cast and complete symphonic albums, the live recording of the New 25th Anniversary Production and now the motion picture soundtrack which has sold over 1.5 million copies and has topped the iTunes charts. The DVDs of the 10th Anniversary Royal Albert Hall Gala Concert and the 25th Anniversary at the O2 Arena have sold millions of copies worldwide.
There are over 3,000 productions of the Les Misérables School’s Edition scheduled or being performed by over 150,000 school children in the UK, US and Australia, making it the most successful musical ever produced in schools.
London is now home to the only original production of Les Misérables, with the new production playing on Broadway, Australia, Korea, Japan having already extensively toured the UK and North America. Future productions are planned in Spain and the Philippines.
On a personal note, ‘Bring Him Home’ (Alfie Boe live on stage and then again numerous times as a recording) is probably my favourite song from Les Misérables (although there are several that are on my playlist). Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean and Hadley Fraser as Javert – brilliant.
Les Misérables is an international success and the following spine-tingling video surely echoes up its success.
International 17 Jean Valjeans “Les Misérables”
51 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6BA
Evenings: Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Matinees: Wednesday and Saturday 2.30pm
Running Time: 3 hours
Age Restrictions: Recommended for children aged 7 or over; children under 5 will not be admitted.
Parental guidance advised.
All Les Misérables fans/supporters will have their favourites… who are yours?