Another Day, Another Destiny: Broadway Revival of Les Miz Closes

By Kenneth Jones
06 Jan 2008

John Owen-Jones in Les Misérables
John Owen-Jones in Les Misérables
Photo by Michael Le Poer Trench

The barricades will fall. The second Broadway engagement of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's Les Misérables ends at the Broadhurst Theatre Jan. 6.

Producer Cameron Mackintosh brought the smash musical back to Broadway a little more than three years after its original run ended. The Victor Hugo-inspired show remains a money-making brand name around the world, and fans flocked to it in this Broadway return.

By close, this Les Miz will have played 463 regular performances and 17 previews.

Next up at the Broadhurst will be a limited engagement of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof directed by Debbie Allen and starring Anika Noni Rose, Terrence Howard, James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad and Giancarlo Esposito. Previews begin Feb. 12 toward a March 6 opening.

Les Miz, with its message of forgiveness and family, has done particularly well in holiday weeks. The Broadhurst was at 101.7 percent capacity the week of Dec. 24-30, The Broadway League reported. It grossed $934,349 for that week. Other weeks of the year were weaker, however, signaling that Les Miz's legs were not in it for the long haul again.



Still, originally planned as a six-month limited engagement, the revival was "extended by an additional nine months due to strong box-office sales."

Athough artistically "new" and specifically re-cast and directed for Broadway, this production was technically on the books as an extension of the long-running "Marius" North American touring company, which had shut down in summer 2006. Any reporting of Broadway recoupment is imprecise, since that tour technically recouped in the late 1980s. The turntable used at the Broadhurst was the tour's machinery.

The current production of Les Miz was overseen by director John Caird and opened on Nov. 6, 2006, after previews from Oct. 24.

Combined with the original production's 6,680 performances, Les Miz on Broadway will have played more than 7,176 performances. The original production is the third longest-running show in Broadway history. It closed in 2003.

This revival staging, very much in the tradition of the original (including the same designers), did have some reconsidered elements. Rather than being a carbon copy of what was previously seen on Broadway, there were new orchestrations, some scenic changes, costume changes, lighting changes and sound changes.

Officially, "every creative component" was "looked at with fresh eyes," according to a 2006 statement.

The musical currently features John Owen-Jones as Jean Valjean, Robert Hunt as Javert, Judy Kuhn as Fantine, Gary Beach as Thénardier, Jenny Galloway as Madame Thénardier, Megan McGinnis as Eponine, Leah Horowitz as Cosette, Adam Jacobs as Marius and Max von Essen as Enjolras.

During the run, the cast included, among others, Alexander Gemignani (as the original Jean Valjean), Daphne Rubin-Vega (as the original Fantine), Lea Salonga (as a replacement Fantine), Chip Zien (as a replacement Thénardier), Celia Keenan-Bolger (as the original Eponine), Drew Sarich (as a replacement Javert), Aaron Lazar (as the original Enjolras), Norm Lewis (as the original Javert), Ali Ewoldt (as the original Cosette), Ann Harada (as a replacement Madame Thénardier) and Adam Jacobs (as the original Marius).

For information visit www.lesmisnewyork.com.