A musical based on a novel written by a poet? Not the most obvious success story perhaps, but this modern masterpiece is easily one of the most successful musical productions of all time. It's premiering slot in the UK sold out tickets, marking the beginning of Les Miserables' success story. The London production has now been running in the esteemed theatre district continuously since 1985.
Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, the story follows a peasant who spent nineteen years behind bars for stealing a loaf of bread. Jean Valjean breaks parole and attempts to rebuild his life, only to be tirelessly hunted by police inspector Javert. Taking on a new identity as a wealthy factory owner, Valjean meets one of his employees - Fantine, a struggling single mother. After Fantine's death, he is charged with taking care of her daughter Cosette, and together they must escape the claws of the merciless Javert.
It started out as a novel written by Victor Hugo in 1862. It was then transformed into a French concept album, which was picked up later by 'Cats' producer Cameron Mackintosh. Together with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Les Miserables became a phenomenon in London, and is now the second longest-running show in the West End. Even more impressively, it's also the second longest-running musical in the world.
Having started as a concept album, it's no surprise that the soundtrack is sensational. 'I Dreamed a Dream', 'Castle on a Cloud', and 'On My Own' are just some of the epic musical numbers. The music has proved so popular, the concert version of Les Miserables sold out tickets in record timing.
Les Miserables is a journey through revolutionary France, which has fascinated audiences for over 30 years. There's only one reason that shows like this run for so long: it's ability to utter enrapture an audience and thrust you into the story. If you see one musical in your life, this is the one, so grab tickets to Les Miserables now.