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Broadway Series South Preview: Mega-Musical Les Misérables Returns to Raleigh Memorial Auditorium

February 9, 2004 - Raleigh, NC:


The Third National Tour of the hit West End and Broadway mega-musical Les Misérables, produced by Cameron Macintosh, will play eight performances at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium from Feb. 10 to 15 as an encore presentation of Broadway Series South. The show stars Broadway's final as Jean Valjean, Randal Keith, as 19th-century French novelist Victor Hugo's reformed petty thief relentlessly pursued by the implacable Inspector Javert.

The tour cast also features Stephen Tewksbury as Inspector Javert; Tonya Dixon as Fantine; Ma-Anne Dionisio as Eponine; Amanda Huddleston and Josh Young as the young lovers Cosette and Marius; and John-Andrew Clark as Enjolras, the fiery student revolutionary. David McDonald and original Broadway cast member Cindy Benson will play the monstrous innkeepers Monsieur and Madame Thénardier, Nadine Jacobson and Erika Kiyomi Johnson will alternate in the roles of Young Cosette and Young Eponine, and Branden Steinagle and Daniel Wright will alternate in the role of Gavroche.

Les Misérables pronounced "Lay Miz-eh-rahb" and French for "the wretched" or "the outcasts" is based on French poet, novelist, and dramatist Victor Hugo's epic 1862 novel about former convict Jean Valjean and his relentless self-righteous pursuer, Inspector Javert. Set in revolutionary France and on the mean streets and even in the sewers of the Parisian underworld between 1815 and 1832, this magnificent musical breathes new life into Hugo's colorful, larger-than-life characters.

The original French version of this magnificent musical adaptation of Les Misérables featured a brilliant book by Alain Boublil and Claude Michel Schönberg, marvelous music by Schönberg, and poignant lyrics by Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel. It premiered on Sept. 17, 1980 at the Palais de Sport in Paris and ran for 107 performances.

The English adaptation of Les Misérables debuted at the Barbican Centre in London on Sept. 30, 1985 and ran for 63 performances before transferring on Dec. 4, 1985 to the Palace Theatre, where it ran for 18 years and more than 7,500 performances. The show's phenomenal Palace Theatre run will end on March 27; then Les Misérables will move to the Queen's Theatre and reopen in early April.

Originally directed and adapted for English-speaking audiences by John Caird and Trevor Nunn and produced by Cameron Macintosh and the Royal Shakespeare Company, the English version of Les Misérables featured a terrific translation of the original French script by Alain Boublil and Claude Michel Schönberg, with additional material by James Fenton; Schönberg's soaring melodies; and eloquent new English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer (based on Boublil and Natel's original French lyrics). The West End show's original designers were John Napier (sets), Andreane Neofitou (costumes), and David Hersey (lighting).

Les Misérables made its Broadway debut on March 12, 1987 at the Broadway Theatre and closed on May 18, 2003, after 16 years and 6,680 performances. The show won eight 1987 Tony Awards® (including Best Musical) and introduced "Bring Him Home," "I Have Dreamed a Dream," "A Little Fall of Rain," "One Day More," and "Who Am I?" to the show-tune repertoire.

According to the show's official web site, "The $4.2 million production coming to [Raleigh] replicates the Broadway production in its entirety and has set numerous attendance records across the country. This touring company of Les Misérables is a carbon copy of the original production still running in London and is the same production that has been seen in Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston. It comes to town with the trademark 34-foot turntable, two barricades that weigh over 12,000 pounds, over 1,000 costumes, 5 fog machines, 422 lighting instruments, 18 orchestra members, and 36 cast members."

Les Misérables last played Raleigh Memorial Auditorium from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4, 2001. Broadway Series South claims that more than 100,000 Triangle theatergoers have seen the show.

Broadway Series South presents Les Misérables Tuesday-Friday, Feb. 10-14, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 14, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 15, at 2 and 7 p.m. in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the BTI Center for the Performing Arts, 1 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina. $30.50-$67. BTI Box Office: 919/831-6060. Group Sales: 919/231-4575 or http://www.priorityseating.net/. Broadway Series South: http://www.broadwayseriessouth.com/2003-2004/encore.html#lesmis. Les Misérables: http://www.lesmis.com/ [inactive 6/04]. International Broadway Database: http://www.ibdb.com/production.asp?ID=4443.