‘Les Miserables’ is heading back to Broadway but is this a good idea?

Samantha Barks and Eddie Redmayne in the "Les Miserables" film.

Samantha Barks and Eddie Redmayne in the “Les Miserables” film.

 

Coming off the critical success of its recent film production, mega-hit musical, Les Miserables will return to Broadway in 2014. It will be housed at a currently undetermined Schubert-owned theater. Les Mis will be remounted based on the “newly re-imagined” touring production, which has played 64 cities in North America since its launch in November 2010, and is slated for numerous international performances from Brazil to Australia. The production will feature designs based on paintings by Victor Hugo, author of the novel on which the show is originally based. While casting specifics have not yet been announced, most of the touring production and design team will return for Broadway.

The show is designed by Matt Kinley and includes costumes by Andreane Neofitou with additional costumes by Christine Rowlands. Lighting will be designed by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter and projections by Fifty-Nine Productions.

It will be directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell. Les Miz is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, original French text by Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, original adaption by Trevor Nunn and John Caird and additional material by James Fenton.

Les Miserables first opened at London’s Barbican Theatre in 1985, before premiering on at the Broadway Theatre on March 12, 1987. It was later transferred to the Imperial Theatre in 1990. That production ran for 6,680 performances, making is the fourth-longest running show in Broadway history. The final curtain fell May 18, 2003. This production marks the show’s second Broadway revival, the first opening on November 9, 2006 and running through January 6, 2008. The film version has, since its release at Christmas, grossed over $348 million worldwide, won 3 Golden Globes and is nominated for 8 Academy Awards.

But with the string of musicals-based-on-movies produced in recent memory, many critics wonder if Broadway will continue to grow more dependent on Hollywood to promote material. Why must a show as historic as Les Mis, one that has enjoyed close to 25 years of nearly universal acclaim still rely on Hollywood’s validation to be remounted in its rightful home? When will audiences be willing to spend money on a show they don’t already know all of the words to? Must we create a reality show to write the next great American musical to get people’s attention?

If audiences must be so gently coaxed, Broadway needs to find a better way to capitalize on other forms of media, rather than just echoing it years later and hoping for ticket sales. It is time to get ahead of the curve, to bring new and exciting material to the stage and let Hollywood take the leftovers for once.

What do you think about Les Mis heading back to Broadway? Who is in your dream cast?

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7 Responses

  1. If Alfie Boe as Valjean (I read they’re in conversations)! I’d do a lot to hear him. Norm Lewis for Javert. In fact, all of the 25th cast except Nick. Gotta say though, Hugh handled the opening soliloquoy nicely in the film. Lovely piece of acting. “Suddenly” would be a nice addition to the stage version.

  2. I’m super excited! I would love to see Alfie Boe brought in to play Jean Valjean, but perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch. :) No idea who I’d want for Jean Valjean, Thenardier, or Cosette. Otherwise:
    Javert: Norm Lewis
    Fantine: Lea Salonga
    Enjolras: Aaron Tveit PLEASE! I swear, we will build a barricade if neccessary, but this needs to happen! :)
    Marius: I would actually love to see what George Blagden would do with the role :)
    Eponine: Can we please import Samantha Barks???
    Madame Thenardier: I agree with the above; Bernadette Peters would be hilarious!

  3. I think it’s great that Les Miz is coming back to Broadway! For me personally, I have always loved the music but have never seen the stage show, and after seeing the movie absolutely fell in love. Now that it’s returning to Broadway, I am excited to *finally* see it as it was meant to be seen, and I’m sure many other Broadway fans feel the same. The more we see the show return to Broadway, the more opportunities exist for new generations to fall in love, appreciate the show, and spread the word. I couldn’t be more excited that this classic will be permanently home back on Broadway, and hopefully to sold out crowds… :)

  4. I think Les Mis should ALWAYS be playing on Broadway. It’s one that everyone needs to see at least once on stage and, as we are seeing now more than ever, it has become one of the most successful (and commercial) musicals of all time. Not only that, it tells a gripping story and, when well-cast, features a powerhouse ensemble.

    Here is my dream cast for the Broadway revival:

    Jean Valjean: Cheyenne Jackson
    Javert: Mark Kudisch
    Fantine: Donna Murphy
    Cosette: Undecided
    Marius: Gavin Creel
    Eponine: Samantha Barks
    Enjolras: Ramin Karimloo
    Thernadier: Danny Burstein
    Madame Thernadier: Bernadette Peters
    Gavroche: Daniel Huttlestone

    Yes, I included some people from the movie, but only because I cannot see anyone else playing the roles. After seeing Samantha Barks do both the 25th Anniversary version and the film, I would love to see her live solely to see what she would do with her big note at the end of “On My Own.” In the film, she mixed it, but in the 25th Anniversary, she belted it. I would hope that on stage, she would save everything for that note and let her voice ring out in the theater, thus sending chills up the spines of every single audience member. It would be pure magic! Daniel Huttlestone was perfection as Gavroche in the film—enough said. I would LOVE to see Cheyenne face off against Mark Kudisch and Danny Burstein and Bernadette Peters play off of each other. And let’s be real—even though she is arguably too old to play the part, Donna Murphy would KILL Fantine. And Ramin Karimloo could sing the phone book and I would be fascinated, so seeing him do Enjolras again (after his jaw-dropping performance in the 25th Anniversary version) would be a treat.

    That’s my dream cast (minus Cosette, ‘cuz I’m drawing a blank on her at the moment), and I’m sticking to it.

    • I could definitely see Sierra Boggess as Cosette!

      • Sierra did play Cosette at one point :) She’s a bit old for the role now, but she recently played Fantine in London and I heard she was fantastic!

  5. My dream cast is Brian d’Arcy James for Jean Valjean and Norm Lewis for Javert. Stephanie J. Block would also make a great Fantine. And of course, we’d have to put Aaron Tveit in as Enjolras!