About the showBased on Victor Hugo's epic original novel, Les Misérables is the world's longest-running musical and continues to be a firm London favourite, enjoying over 30 years in the West End. Originally opening to lukewarm reviews back in 1985, audiences flocked to see the show, as it transferred from the Barbican to the Palace Theatre, before settling at its current residency, the Sondheim Theatre.
Set against the backdrop of the simmering French revolution, Les Misérables follows the plight of ex-convict Jean Valjean, as he struggles to escape from his haunted past. After breaking his parole and eventually becoming Mayor, he sees the demise of Fantine, before volunteering to take care of her daughter, Cosette. As Cosette grows older, she begins to wonder if her father has been truthful about his past.
Les Misérables features a mesmerising book and score by duo Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, who also penned smash-hit Miss Saigon and Martin Guerre. Since opening, songs from the score have been reprised across the world, with the most famous numbers including "I Dreamed a Dream", "On My Own", "Stars", "Bring Him Home", "Do You Hear the People Sing?", "Master of the House", "A Little Fall of Rain" and the show-stopping "One Day More".
Originally adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird, the musical's current staging, directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, features vamped-up video design and no revolving stage. It features lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, set and image design by Matt Kinley, costume design by Andreane Neofitou, lighting design by Paule Constable and sound design by Mick Potter.
A host of famous actors have appeared in the musical, including Sierra Boggess, Danielle Hope, Alfie Boe, Ramin Karimloo, Rachelle Ann Go and Eva Noblezada. Current casting includes Jon Robyns as John Valjean, Bradley Jaden as Javert, Gerard Carey as Thénardier, Carrie Hope Fletcher as Fantine, Shan Ako as Eponine, Josefina Gabrielle as Madame Thénardier, Ashley Gilmour as Enjolras, Harry Apps as Marius and Lily Kerhoas as Cossette.
An epic, mesmerising musical that captures French history and defines musical theatre for many, Les Misérables plays at London's Sondheim Theatre.
Who Should See It?Les Misérables is the classic musical that features a sung through score in an operetta style. Any lovers of theatre will be engrossed in the show, as it really does include something for everyone. There are comic moments alongside battles and emotional drama – everything you would expect from a classic novel.
This show is recommended 7+. Under 5s will not be admitted into the venue.
- Jean Valjean – the convict ‘24601’ who is given his ticket of leave at the beginning of the show. After a rough beginning, he manages to become a Mayor, becoming surrogate father to the young Cosette. He sings the impressive ‘Who Am I?’ soliloquy and the moving ‘Bring Him Home’ prayer on the barricades.
- Inspector Javert – Javert spends his life chasing Valjean, becoming more and more obsessed with his position and job. After he is captured on the barricades he finds some humility and realises his efforts are in vein. His songs range from the ‘Confrontation’ with Valjean to the beautiful aria ‘Stars’.
- Fantine – The mother of Cosette who is sacked from the factory for having a bastard child. She is taken into Valjean’s care before trusting him with her daughter. She sings the emotional ballad ‘I Dreamed a Dream’.
- Cosette – First seen as a child singing ‘Castle on a Cloud’, she is bought from the Thenardier’s by Valjean who continues to raise her. As a woman she falls in love with student Marius, and the pair are married after his escape from the barricade.
- Marius – Maris is a student of the ABC Café and quickly falls in love with Cosette as he sees her in Paris. He fights in the French Revolution and is injured on the barricades, saved only by the strength of Valjean. He sings ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’, before finally marrying Cosette.
- Eponine – The daughter of the treacherous Thenardier’s, Eponine grows up as a street urchin. She falls in love with student Marius, but helps facilitate his relationship with Cosette. She sings ‘On My Own’ as she struggles to be noticed, and ‘A Little Fall of Rain’ as she is killed in the fighting on the barricades.
- Thenardier’s – A gruesome couple who own a bar where they are ‘Masters of the House’. After selling Cosette to Valjean they make money by grave digging amongst the corpses of the revolution. They provide light comedic relief to the otherwise gloomy story.
- Enjolras – The leader of the student revolutionary movement. He rallies the troops at the Barricades with the inspirational ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’
- 2014 Laurence Olivier Awards: BBC Radio 2 Audience Award.
- 2012 Laurence Olivier Awards: BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for Long Running Show.
- 1985 Laurence Olivier Awards: Best Actress in a Musical (Patti LuPone).
- 1987 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Michael Maguire), Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Frances Ruffelle), Best Direction of a Musical, Best Scenic Design.
Sondheim Theatre (Queen's Theatre)
51 Shaftesbury Avenue
3rd Apr 2004
25th Sep 2021
13th Feb 2022
2 hours 50 minutes (including interval)
Best for age 7+. Children under 5 not permitted. Please be advised that children under the age of 16 may be refused entry if they are not sitting next to an accompanying adult.