PBS to Present Premiere of Les Miserables Concert

No one could have guessed on Oct. 8, 1985, when Les Miserables opened in London at the Barbican Theatre that it would become a worldwide phenomenon. However, audiences embraced it from the start, creating a “people’s musical” that has played in 42 countries and has been seen by nearly 60 million people, says PBS (Public Broadcasting Service).

In 2010, the legendary musical celebrated its 25th birthday, and to mark the occasion, producer Cameron Mackintosh staged a concert at the O2 Arena in London. Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert at O2 will be seen in the U.S. for the first time on Sunday, March 6, 2011, 7:00-11:00 p.m. ET on PBS.

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“PBS offers every American a front-row seat to great arts and culture programming, and the Les Miz 25th anniversary concert allows viewers across the country the chance to experience some of the best-loved music of all time. PBS is proud to present the U.S. broadcast premiere of this remarkable production,” said PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger.

With more than 500 actors and musicians — including Alfie Boe, Jenny Galloway, Katie Hall, Nick Jonas, Norm Lewis, Matt Lucas, Lea Salonga and Colm Wilkinson — the show includes the October 2010 cast of the long-running original production at London’s Queen’s Theatre and members of the original 1985 London cast. This concert was also shown in cinemas worldwide.

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Based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel of the same name and set in early 19th-century France, Les Miserables features the stories of individuals struggling for redemption and revolution.

The magnificent score includes the songs “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” “Do You Hear the People Sing?,” “One Day More,” “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,” “Master of the House,” and more.

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Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Les Miserables is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo.

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It has music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, and original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel and additional material by James Fenton.

The original London 1985 production of Les Miserables was adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird.

Photo courtesy: PBS

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Rakesh Raman