1. Les Miserables is one of the longest-running musicals in London’s West End, having opened in 1985 and still showing at the Sondheim Theatre. It has been seen by over 70 million people worldwide and continues to bring joy to audiences today.
2. The original cast for Les Miserables included Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean, Patti LuPone as Fantine, Roger Allam as Javert, Michael Ball as Marius, Rebecca Caine as Cosette, and Alun Armstrong as Thénardier. This iconic cast was together for the first ten years after opening night.
3. The music for Les Miserables was composed by Claude-Michel Schonberg with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. It was adapted from the original French text of Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel’s stage adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel of the same name.
4. In 2012, a new production opened in London’s West End that featured 3D-like projections on a cinematic screen to create the Paris sewers scenes and other immersive moments during the show.
5. This new production also featured changes to some of the song arrangements and saw a complete recasting of its principal roles, including Ramin Karimloo taking over from Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean, Alfie Boe as Javert and Carrie Hope Fletcher replacing Rebecca Caine as Cosette.
6. To date, Les Miserables has won over 100 awards internationally, including an Olivier Award for Best Musical in 1985 and 8 Tony Awards on Broadway in 1987, including Best Musical.
7. The musical is regularly performed at special events such as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Concert, where Alfie Boe reprised his role of Jean Valjean before 70 million TV viewers worldwide.
8. As well as being seen in cinemas worldwide with two film adaptations (including a recent blockbuster movie starring Hugh Jackman), it is also making its mark online through virtual performances and broadcasts like back in October 2020 when various members of the original 1985 cast reunited virtually to perform ‘Do You Hear The People Sing?’.
9. One exciting fact about Les Miserables is that its leading roles are often played by multiple actors within each performance – something which makes it unique compared to many other musicals – due to its physical demand on these actors who need time to rest between shows.
10. Another unique aspect of this beloved musical is that it has been produced in 45 different countries worldwide, translated into 21 languages, and even recently adapted into a concert version with a limited run at Royal Albert Hall in 2019 featuring many famous faces.