Victor Hugo’s vast novel – a sweeping set of stories amid the French Revolution – was always an unlikely candidate for a stage musical. That Les Mis, as the show has come to be known, has become the longest-running production in musical theatre history beggars belief.
It was initially sniffed at by the critics, dismissed as melodrama and mere spectacle, but as the rolling ticker running around the Queen’s Theatre boasts, it has since been seen by more than 70 million people worldwide.
With lyrics by Alain Boublil and a sung-through score by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Les Misérables was developed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in the mid-eighties and quickly became the show that made its producer Cameron Mackintosh’s name – and his millions.Read More
Set in 19th Century France, Hugo’s story centres on Jean Valjean – a down-and-out peasant imprisoned after stealing a loaf of bread for his starving nephew. Les Miserables is his quest for redemption after breaking jail and robbing a kindly bishop of his silver. Pursued by his prison guard, a stern police officer named Javert, the law catches up with Valjean – only for his victim to cover for him, claiming the silver was a gift and handing over two further candlesticks. Valjean swears he will become an honest man. Years later, the two men, the prisoner and policeman, will come face to face again.
Les Mis homes in on the revolution itself, and as it takes to the barricades, the musical follows a series of characters through tumultuous times. For some, like the grotesque Madame and Monsieur Thernadier, they’re an opportunity for profiteering; for others, like the revolutionary Enroljas and his student Marius, a shot at political upheaval. Valjean, now wealthy and moral, joined in their crusade – as does Javert – and thought they should be fighting shoulder to shoulder, the two rivals find themselves head-to-head once more.
The musical is almost as epic as Hugo’s original novel, but Boublil and Schönberg’s score is astonishing. While its rousing revolutionary drum beats, ‘Do You Hear The People Sing’ and ‘One Day More,’ have become iconic, so have softer numbers like ‘I Dreamed a Dream,’ ‘Stars’ and ‘Empty Chairs and Empty Tables’ that carry its love stories and its heartfelt grief. Far from being an overblown melodrama – a grand historical yarn of revolutionaries and corsets – Les Miserables is tender, honest and, above all else, human. Book your Les Miserables Tickets today!
Les Miserables Tickets
Choose your seats via our live booking platform. Once payment is completed, you will receive an email confirmation with your booking reference number and eTickets.
Upon arrival at the venue, display the eTickets on your phone or show the box office a printed ticket.
Sondheim Theatre at 51 Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho, London W1D 6BA.
Les Miserables has a running time of two hours and 50 minutes including an interval
No refunds or exchanges are available after purchase.
Good to Know
Strobe lighting is used several times during the performance.
For ages six and above.
Can I Video or Take Photos?
The use of camera and sound recording equipment is strictly prohibited.
Cast and Creative
Emily Olive Boyd – Madame
Katie Hall – Fantine
Jonathan Stevens – Feuilly
Christopher Jacobsen – Combeferre
Adam Pearce – Bishop of Digne
Killion Donnelly – Jean Valjean
Stewart Clarke – Javert
Luke Kempner – Thénardier
Will Callan – Marius
Amena El-Kindy – Eponine
Claire Machin – Madame Thénardier
Djavan Van De Fliert – Enjolras
Lulu-Mae Pears – Cosette
Emma Barr – Crone
Brad Barnley – Brujon
Hazel Baldwin – Swing
Mathew Dale – Swing
Cameron Mackintosh – Producer
Alain Boubil – Author/Dramatist
Claude-Michel Schonberg – Book & music
Herbert Kretzmer – Lyricist
Trevor Nunn – Adaption & direction
John Caird– adaption & direction
Christopher Key – Associate director
John Napier – Production designer
Andreane Neofitou – Costume designer
What songs are in Les Misérables?
“I Dreamed a Dream” – A powerful and emotional ballad sung by the character of Fantine. It is a song of hope and despair, reflecting on the shattered dreams and the harsh realities of life.
“On My Own” – Poignant and heart-wrenching solo sung by the character of Eponine, reminiscing her unrequited love for Marius and her longing to be with him while also acknowledging the harsh reality that they will never be together.
“Bring Him Home” – An emotional plea sung by the character of Valjean that mirrors his deep love for his adopted son, Marius, and his strong desire to keep him safe and bring him back home during the turmoil of the student revolution in Paris. It also reflects on the themes of fatherhood, sacrifice and redemption.
“Do You Hear the People Sing?” – A mighty, anthemic song that symbolizes hope and unity for the characters and people. It is an expression of their desire for freedom and a better life.
“One Day More” – An energetic and dynamic song that serves as the climax to the end of the first act and reflects the conflicting emotions and decisions the characters are facing.
“Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” – Marius sings a mournful song as he reflects on the friends he lost during the revolution.
“Master of the House” – A lively and entertaining contrast to the other more severe and emotional songs in the musical and portrays the dark side of human nature.
“Who Am I?” – The song expresses the inner turmoil of Valjean as he looks back on his years as a prisoner and his new life as a wealthy businessman and mayor.
What are 10 interesting facts about Les Mis?
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.