It seems only yesterday that Les Miserables marked its 10th anniversary on Broadway with a controversial make-over and gala celebration, but that was almost a year ago: March 12, 1997. The show's most recent landmark came Feb. 20, when Les Miz -- Broadway's fourth Longest running musical -- gave its 4500th performance.
Back when the show celebrated its tenth anniversary, controversy swirled when the cast received an overhaul. The creators and producers were worried that several actors had gotten too old for their roles, and that some of the spark was gone. But the production team members obviously haven't lost their sense of history: on March 3, Craig Schulman will return to the lead role of Jean Valjean. He's played the part more than 1,700 times since 1988 -- more than any other human in the world. It's his sixth go `round with the Broadway company. A concert performer, Schulman founded the concert series, Bravo Broadway!.
According to The Publicity Office, more than 40 million people have seen the Alain Boublil/Claude-Michel Schonberg musical worldwide. The show has grossed more than $1.8 billion.
Currently in the Les Miz cast are Robert Gallagher (Javert), Juliet Lambert (Fantine), Nicholas Wyman (Thenardier), Stephen R. Buntrock (Enjolras) and Sarah Uriarte Berry (Eponine).
Here are the members of the original Broadway Les Miz cast, which opened March 1987: Colm Wilkinson as Valjean, Terrence Mann as Javert, Randy Graff as Fantine, Judy Kuhn as Cosette, Frances Ruffelle as Eponine, Leo Burmester as Thenardier, Jennifer Butt as Mme. Thenardier, Michael Maguire as Enjolras, and David Bryant as Marius. Rufelle and Maguire won Tonys. [Rufelle, by the way, hasn't been in New York since winning her 1988 Tony, but she'll be doing two cabaret concerts at the Triad (West 72nd St.) March 12 and 14. The tunes will come from her recent, second album, "Frances Ruffelle," which includes such theatre songs as "Where I Want To Be" (Chess) and "Being Alive" (Company).]
Here are other actors who played major roles in Les Miz over the years:
Valjean: Robert Marien, David "Dudu" Fisher, Gary Morris, Ivan Rutherford.
Javert: Anthony Crivello, Herndon Lackey, Robert Westenberg, Robert Cuccioli.
Eponine: Debbie Gibson, Lea Salonga, Natalie Toro, Tia Reibling, Kelli Rabke, Shanice, Jessica Snow Wilson.
Cosette: Jennifer Lee Andrews, Tamra Hayden.
Tickets ($15-$75) for regular performances of Les Miserables at the Imperial Theatre can be ordered by calling (212) 239-6200.