Originally opened on 8 October 1985 at the Barbican theatre, the tale of love and hope set amid the French Revolution has been setting records ever since, surpassing Cats as London’s longest running musical two years ago.
On stage it was business as usual until the curtain call – no on stage celebrations for the characters whose lives are ravaged by society and revolution – when lead Drew Sarich made a speech commemorating the work of the creative team. The cast, which also includes Earl Carpenter, John Robyns, Nancy Sullivan and Leanne Dobinson, were showered in gold confetti and streamers, while the audience rose to applaud both their performances and the show’s longevity.
The Cameron Mackintosh/Royal Shakespeare Company production, created by the team of Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer, and adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird, is one of the world’s most successful stage musicals. Since its London opening, Les Misérables has been staged in 40 countries and 21 languages, entertaining 55 million people in the process.
Among the stars to have appeared on the barricades or in the Paris slums over the last 23 years are Michael Ball, Frances Ruffelle, Ruthie Henshall, Patti LuPone, Roger Allam, Alun Armstrong, Philip Quast, Colm Wilkinson, Tracie Bennett, Shaun Escoffery, Jon Lee and John Owen-Jones.