Les Miserables celebrates its 21st birthday

***image2:left***London: Les Miserables will turn 21 on October 8th. In the process the musical will become the world’s longest running musical overtaking Cats.

Saturday’s performance of the musical will have a specially designed finale to mark the occasion, while on Sunday, the actual birthday, a special edition of the musical will be broadcast by BBC Radio 2. The current West End cast and the BBC Concert Orchestra came together on September 15th to perform a 75 minute concert version of the show at the Mermaid Theater. The cast currently includes John Owen-Jones as Jean Valjean, Hans Peter Janssens as Javert, Jon Lee as Marius, Sophia Ragavelas as Fantine, Sabrina Aloueche as Eponine, Simon Bailey as Enjolras, Chris Vincent as Thenardier, Tracie Bennett as Madame Thenardier, and Gina Beck as Eponine.

Les Miserables originally opened at the Barbican as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company on October 8, 1985. It then transferred to the Palace Theatre on December 4th. It moved to its current location, the Queen’s Theatre, on April 3, 2004. The musical has been seen by over 58 million people in 38 countries and in 21 languages.

Based on Victor Hugo’s opus, Les Miserables tells the story of Jean Valjean, released on parole after 19 years on the chain gang, finds that the ‘ticket-of-leave’ he must display by law, condemns him to be an outcast. Only the saintly Bishop of Digne treats him kindly and Valjean, embittered by years of hardship, repays him by stealing some silver. Valjean is caught and brought back by the police, and is astonished when the Bishop lies to save him, also giving him two precious candlesticks. Valjean decides to start his life anew. Things go well but 8 years later, an encounter with a face from the past threatens everything he now holds dear.

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