Another Day, Another Destiny! Re-Imagined Les MisÚrables Will Make Its Broadway Debut in 2014
By Kenneth Jones
Producer Cameron Mackintosh made official on Feb. 19 something he had all but promised in recent months: His 25th-anniversary production of Les Misérables, which features fresh scenic and narrative elements, and new orchestrations, will make its Broadway premiere in spring 2014.
He and his colleagues previously told Playbill they were working on a Broadway booking for this fresh approach to the 1985 smash by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer. The window is now clear: spring 2014.
This will mark the third time Les Miz plays Broadway. Its original Broadway run began in 1987 and ended in 2003. A revival (staged by the original creative team, including Trevor Nunn and John Caird) was presented in 2006.
This third appearance will play a Shubert theatre to be announced. No specific dates were announced. The production has toured the U.K. (and has popped up internationally) and is currently playing a North American tour. A separate Toronto sitdown with an all-Canadian cast launches this fall.
The more conversational approach to the anthemic score inspired the sound and vocal approach of the recent Oscar-nominated film version.
The new production is directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, designed by Matt Kinley inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo with costumes by original designer Andreane Neofitou and additional costumes by Christine Rowlands, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter and projections by Fifty-Nine Productions.
The U.S. tour launched in fall 2010. It has played 64 cities throughout North America, grossing more than $130 million. There are also international productions of the new Les Miz in France, Spain and Korea. New productions are scheduled to open in the coming months in Japan, Australia and Brazil.
Les Miz, written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, is based on the 19th-century novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Schönberg, lyrics by Kretzmer and original French text by Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, original adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird and additional material by James Fenton.
The original orchestrations are by John Cameron with new orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke and additional orchestrations by Stephen Metcalfe and Stephen Brooker.
Philip J. Smith, chairman of The Shubert Organization, said in a statement, "We're thrilled Cameron is bringing Les Miz back to Broadway, where it's been a huge success, not once, but twice. Both times in Shubert theaters. In 1985, Bernie Jacobs, Bob Wankel and I went to London to attend the world premiere. We knew that night Cameron had created something great. We were right."
Hugo's novel follows fugitive Jean Valjean through early 19th-century France, witnessing social injustice as he's pursued by the monomaniacal Inspector Javert. Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe play the roles in the film; casting for Broadway has not been announced. There has been talk that Alfred Boe is on the shortlist to play Valjean.
The score includes the now classic songs "I Dreamed a Dream," "On My Own," "Stars," "Bring Him Home," "Do You Hear the People Sing?," "One Day More," "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," "Master of the House" and more.
The original London production is still running after 27 years. It originally premiered at the Barbican Theatre in a co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1985. It transferred to the Palace Theatre in December of that year and then moved to its current home at the Queen’s Theatre in April 2004 where it is still playing.
To date, Les Misérables is the fourth longest-running Broadway production of all time.
The Universal film version co-produced by Mackintosh and Working Title Films, and directed by Tom Hooper, has grossed $150 million domestically and nearly $400 million worldwide since its Christmas Day release.
The film received the Golden Globe Award as Best Picture (Musical/Comedy) and received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.
The DVD/Blu-ray of the movie and the extended deluxe 2-disc edition of the soundtrack featuring an additional 22 tracks will be released on March 22.
The new book, "Les Misérables – From Stage to Screen," will be available for sale beginning April 16. It "tells the story so far of the World’s Longest Running Musical in words, pictures and rare facsimile memorabilia and is written by Benedict Nightingale and Martyn Palmer, with the foreword by Cameron Mackintosh."
For more information on the production visit LesMis.com.
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