On March 12, Les Miserables started its 15th year on Broadway, with no sign of a Cats or Saigon-like collapse in sight. On that day, the Alain Boublil & Claude-Michel Schonberg musical, based on Victor Hugo's novel, played its 5,768th performance.
As he was a year ago, J. Mark McVey is the current Jean Valjean, playing alongside the current Javert, Shuler Hensley, and Fantine, Jane Bodle. Hensley will be sticking around for awhile, but according to production spokespersons at the Publicity Office, McVey and Bodle will leave the production April 21, with Miz vets Ivan Rutherford and Jacquelyn Piro returning to the show April 23.
Rutherford has essayed Valjean thrice on Broadway and, most recently, has been been playing the bedraggled character on the national tour. Piro got her start as Cosette in Les Miz's third national tour in 1988. Her Cosette reached Broadway in 1990, and five years later, Piro came back to play Cosette's mom, Fantine — the role she plays now.
Betsy Joslyn is Madame Thenardier, Sandra Turley is Cosette, Peter Lockyer is Marius, Catherine Brunell is Eponine, and Christopher Mark Peterson plays Enjolras.
McVey is well versed in the role of the noble, downtrodden Valjean -- he essayed the role in London and in the American national company, as well as in a previous stint on Broadway beginning in 1991. Courtesy of the Publicity Office, which reps Les Miz, here are a few other interesting facts about the longevity of the musical hit:
* Les Miz is the fourth longest-running Broadway show of all time.
* As of March 2001, the Broadway production had grossed more than $355 million, with 8 million people having seen the show.
* 375 actors have performed in the Broadway company.
* 1,558 people have worked on the show in various capacities.
* 210 people are currently employed in direct association with the show.
* 451 shows have opened on Broadway since Les Miserables opened.
* The onstage turntable has circulated 186,368 times.
* 429 shows have closed on Broadway since Les Miserables opened.
* The last six U.S. presidents (including Dubya) have seen the show.
In other Les Miz news, Nov. 23, 1999 First Night Records released a newly remastered Complete Symphonic Recording of Les Miserables, an enhanced CD featuring video clips from Germany, Austria, Norway, Czech Republic and the 10th Anniversary concert, as well as highlights from the Les Miserables interactive CD-ROM.
To create the Complete Symphonic Recording, First Night drafted performers from the Broadway, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Sydney productions of Les Miserables. The Grammy Award-winner has already gone gold in the United States.
Tickets ($20-$85) for regular performances of Les Miserables at the Imperial Theatre, 249 West 45th Street, can be ordered by calling (212) 239-6200.