Music: Claude-Michel Schönberg
Lyrics: Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer
Libretto: Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, based on Victor Hugo’s novel “Les Misérables” (1862)
Paris: 1980 (French version)
West End: 8 October 1985
Broadway: 27 December 1986
ROMA Musical Theatre: 25 September 2010
This is undoubtedly the greatest musical of all time. In October 2014, it was performed in London for the 12,000th time, which is an absolute world record with no equivalent on Broadway. The premiere of “Les Misérables” in Roma Musical Theatre also took place in another jubilee year – one marking 25 years since the debut of this exceptional work in the West End. It is currently still being staged, even now 30 years after its premiere, and there is nothing to suggest that LES MISÉRABLES is losing its pull.
And that should come as no surprise. Based on the timeless novel by Victor Hugo, it’s a musical which confronts themes so current that they have struck a chord with audiences in more than 40 countries for over 30 years (347 cities in 44 countries, to be precise). Of course, this is due in large part to the music of Claude-Michel Schönberg (who also wrote “Miss Saigon”, among others). LES MISÉRABLES is the show which gave us the huge hit “I Dreamed A Dream” – with TV sensation Susan Boyle’s famous performance of the song having been viewed online over 180 million times by the end of 2015! And, of course, that is not all, as no other musical contains as many well-known themes as LES MISÉRABLES.
This story of a man who, having been imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread, finds not only his own dignity in freedom but also a new family has been moving readers of the novel and viewers of the many film adaptations for over century and a half. His battle with the guardian of the law, the police inspector who sees human deeds only in clear terms of black and white, instantly provokes a heated discussion on the principles of morality.
Over 800 people turned up when the casting session for LES MISÉRABLES at ROMA Musical Theatre was announced. Our British partners were impressed by the high quality of all those auditioning and we then worked with them to select the best cast. After the historic success of ‘The Phantom of the Opera” – with its almost 600 performances being seen by half a million people – ROMA Theatre took on the biggest challenge in its history and invested in super-modern new stage technology. After all, it’s well-known that a considerable portion of the action in “Les Misérables” takes place among the barricades. And those barricades revolve…
LES MISÉRABLES is a work of great literature, great passion and great ideals. And it’s a great production. Just showing the fate of many characters over an almost 20-year time span requires a momentum unprecedented in musical theatre.
Selected songs: “I Dreamed A Dream”, “Bring Him Home” and “Do You Hear The People Sing?”