John Caird, who, with Trevor Nunn, co-directed the London, Broadway and international smash by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, stages the new Broadway production at the Broadhurst Theatre. A six-month run has been announced, but speculation has the show continuing far beyond that, if theatregoers demand it.
The Cameron Mackintosh production of Les Miz officially opens Nov. 9.
In the 1980s, when Les Miz dawned, Broadway liked its shows large and serious — think The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miz, followed by Miss Saigon. Since then, musical comedies such as The Producers and Hairspray have made a comeback.
"I'm sure there's still an appetite for a great and serious story," Caird recently told Playbill.com. "Of course, we're not without our comic moments. But I think a Broadway with nothing but comedies is a little bit like a dinner with only desserts. You need a main course on there somewhere, and I think we provide that."
Rather than being a carbon copy of what was previously seen on Broadway for 6,680 performances, there are some changes and refinements in the new staging. Don't expect an extreme makeover (yes, the famous turntable will be employed), but, according to the production office, there are new orchestrations, some scenic changes, costume changes, lighting changes and sound changes. Officially, "every creative component is being looked at with fresh eyes."
The set used comes from the long-running North American tour, which closed July 23 after many years.
The principal cast includes Celia Keenan-Bolger as Eponine, Gary Beach (Thenardier), Alexander Gemignani (Valjean), Norm Lewis (Javert), Daphne Rubin Vega (Fantine), Jenny Galloway (Madame Thenardier), Aaron Lazar (Enjolras), Adam Jacobs (Marius) and Ali Ewoldt (Cosette).
The company also features Tess Adams (Young Cosette/Young Eponine), Becca Ayers (Ensemble), Daniel Bogart (Combeferre), Justin Bohon (Joly), Kate Chapman (Ensemble), Matt Clemens (Swing), Brian D'Addario (Gavroche), Nikki Renée Daniels (Ensemble), Karen Elliott (Ensemble), Blake Ginther (Feuilly), JD Goldblatt (Montparnasse), Kylie Liya Goldstein (Young Cosette/Young Eponine), Marya Grandy (Ensemble), Victor Hawks (Brujon), Robert Hunt (Courfeyrac), Nehal Joshi (Lesgles), Jeff Kready (Babet), Doug Kreeger (Jean Prouvaire), James Chip Leonard (Bishop of Digne/Claquesous), Jacob Levine (Gavroche), Megan McGinnis (Ensemble), Marissa McGowan (Swing), Austyn Myers (Gavroche), Drew Sarich (Grantaire), Q. Smith (Swing), Carly Rose Sonenclar (Young Cosette/Young Eponine), Haviland Stillwell (Ensemble), Stephen Trafton (Swing) and Idara Victor (Ensemble).
Rubin-Vega, who played Mimi in Broadway's Rent, said she first met John Caird when he came to see the 10th anniversary concert of Rent in early 2006.
She told Playbill.com, "I didn't know him at the time, but at the after-party, the loud and raucous after-party, one of the producers of Rent introduced me to John, and in the midst of it all, he said something like, 'Wouldn't she make a great Fantine?' At the time I had no idea that they were considering doing a revival of Les Miz, but it sort of put this little bee in my bonnet, and . . . I [told] my agent, 'You know what, I'm interested in going in for that.'"
How will the new show sound, in terms of its refreshed orchestrations? Gary Beach recently provided this insight: "You don't reinvent the wheel. It's a great, great show. But you can inspect the wheel. For instance, we have all new orchestrations. When this show first came around in the 1980s, it was the first show to use a synthesizer as much as it did. It was very exciting, but now it sounds very eighties. 'Master of the House,' my song, is going to sound like a little pub band rather that the big synthesizer thing. . . .Every piece of staging is being rethought. It's not like we're mounting a national tour. We're doing a brand-new Broadway production of Les Misérables."
The production features new orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke and Stephen Metcalfe. Kevin Stites is music director.
Caird and Trevor Nunn are the original co-directors of the French-created, British-developed pop musical based on the novel by Victor Hugo.
Les Miz is expected to dawn in regional theatres in the coming year, meaning local directors and choreographers will be putting their own stamp on the modern classic.
Tickets are also on sale via Telecharge.com.
For more information, visit www.lesmis.com.
Produced by Cameron Mackintosh, Les Misérables is by Alain Boublil & Claude-Michel Schönberg, based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It features music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, with original French text by Alain Boublil & Jean-Marc Natel and additional material by James Fenton.
Directed by Trevor Nunn & John Caird, the musical is designed by John Napier with lighting by David Hersey, costumes by Andreane Neofitou and Elise Napier, and sound by Andrew Bruce and John Weston.
Les Miz was first presented by Cameron Mackintosh and The Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican Theatre in October 1985. The musical transferred to the West End's Palace Theatre later that year, where it played for 19 years. The production transferred to the Queen's Theatre in April 2004, where it continues today.
The musical is the third longest-running show in Broadway history and will, on Oct. 9, pass the 21-year-old record of Cats in London to become the longest-running musical ever on the West End or Broadway with 8,372 performances; a run nearly three years longer than Broadway’s record-holder The Phantom of the Opera (all three shows were produced by Cameron Mackintosh).
The original Broadway run ended only three years ago. It played 6,680 performances.