Playbill Cover for Les Misérables in 1987.
Our current President, former actor Ronald Reagan, is losing popularity in the final year of his second term due to the Iran-Contra scandal. During the remainder of his time in office, he will campaign for the election of his Vice-President George Bush. "The Cosby Show," "Family Ties," "Cheers," "Murder, She Wrote," "The Golden Girls," "Who's The Boss?" and the trend-setting "Miami Vice" play on our television sets while The Bangles' "Walk Like An Egyptian," Madonna's "Open Your Heart," and Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" play among other pop songs by Huey Lewis & The News, Lionel Richie, Billy Joel and Janet Jackson on the radio. It is 1987. On the boards of The Great White Way, shows like Cats, 42nd Street, La Cage aux Folles, I'm Not Rappaport and the current longest running show in Broadway History A Chorus Line are still running. Off-Broadway still offers Little Shop of Horrors, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and Nunsense. Most new shows like Blithe Spirit with Richard Chamberlain and Blythe Danner, Fences with James Earl Jones and Starlight Express are still in previews. The latter will be the third entry to the season by director Trevor Nunn — who directed the revival of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby earlier.
Nunn's second offering, Les Misérables, comes from France by way of London's The Royal Shakespeare Company and producer Cameron Mackintosh. The musical based on the mammoth novel by Victor Hugo about 19th century France features music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer with Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel's original text added to by James Fenton. Director John Caird, who co-directed the adaptation of Charles Dickens' The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby with Nunn, shares directing and adapting credits on the new literary-turned-stage work.
The title page in the Les Misérables Playbill.
The Act I songlist in the Les Misérables Playbill.
An ad for Louis Botto's original "At This Theatre."
A portion of the summary and cast of characters.
Original cast members Colm Wilkinson (Jean Valjean), Terrence Mann (Javert), Judy Kuhn (Cosette), Michael Maguire (Enjolras) and Frances Ruffelle (Eponine) will all garner Tony Award nominations for their performances, though only Maguire and Ruffelle win. Les Misérables also sweeps the Director, Book, Score, Scenic Design and Musical categories for its creative team.
The musical that has proven itself a worthy hit announced that its departure from the Broadway boards is set for March 15, 2003 — three days after it celebrates its 16th anniversary in New York City. By the final curtain, the performance count will be 6,612 performances, setting its mark in Broadway history as the second longest-runner, just behind Cats, another Mackintosh show.