Les Misérables originally opened in 1980 at the Palais des Sports in Paris for a projected eight-week season; such was its success that it actually ran for four months. In 1982, English producer Cameron Mackintosh began work on an English language version, with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. The new English show opened in London on 8 October 1985, at the Barbican Theatre, London. In December 1985 it transferred to the Palace Theatre, and moved again in 2004 to the Queen's Theatre. It opened on Broadway in March 1987, only a few months before the Australian premiere in Sydney.
Read and excellent synopsis, with lyrics and photos, at the Official Les Mis website.
CHARACTER DESCRIPTION: Inspector Javert
In his fanatical devotion to duty and his lack of compassion, Javert represents a punitive, vengeful form of justice. Javert is so obsessed with enforcing laws and morals that he does not realize he is living by mistaken assumptions. Although Javert is such a stern and inflexible character that it is hard to sympathize with him, he lives with the shame of knowing that his own humble upbringing is not so different from the backgrounds of the men he pursues. Javert serves as Valjean's nemesis throughout the story, continually threatening to expose his past and bring him under the control of the law. Javert's flaw, however, is that he never stops to question whether the laws themselves are just. When Valjean finally proves to Javert that a man is not necessarily evil just because the law says he is, Javert is incapable of reconciling this new knowledge with his beliefs. Suicide is the ultimate solution to his dilemma.
MUSICAL NUMBERS (as from the original programme)
Prologue - The Company
Soliloquy - Valjean
At the End of the Day - Unemployed nad factoy workers
I Dreamed a Dream - Fantine
Lovely Ladies - Ladies and clients
Who Am I? - Valjean
Come to Me - Fantine and Valjean
Castle on a Cloud - Young Cosette
Master of the House - Thenardier, his wife and customers
Thénardier Waltz - M. and Mme Thénardier and Valjean
Look Down - Gavroche and the beggars
Stars - Javert
Red and Black - Enjolras, Marius and the students
Do You Hear the People Sing? - Enjolras, the students and citizens
In My Life - Cosette, Valjean, Marius and Eponine
A Heart Full of Love - Cosette, Marius and Eponine
One Day More - The Company
On My Own - Eponine
A Little Fall of Rain - Eponine and Marius
Drink With Me to Days Gone by - Grantaire, students and women
Bring Him Home - Valjean
Dog Eats Dog - Thénardier
Soliloquy - Javert
Turning - Women
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables - Marius
Wedding Chorale - Guests
Beggars at the Feast - M. and Mme Thénardier
Finale - The Company
Guest was one of the greats of New Zealand entertainment. And in Australia, too, first as Valjean in Les Misérables, and then as the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera, he is a household name. Rob has star stamped all over him.
John Frost, producer
The advance ticket sales for Les Misérables before its opening in Sydney reached 3,600,000 AUD; about 70,000 AUD were spent on promotions, and more than 700,000 AUD for advertising costs.
Philip Quast makes a superb Javert - a man of commanding presence and evil to the core.
Leonard Radic, The Age
The Sydney programme mentioned a forthcoming Cast Recording of the Australian production, but unfortunately plans in this direction were abandoned in favour of the Complete Symphonic Recording.