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Les Miserables

Les Misérables, colloquially known as Les Mis or Les Miz, is a musical that was composed in 1980 by the French composer Claude-Michel Schönberg with a libretto by Alain Boublil, and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. Sung through, it is one of the most well-known and performed musicals worldwide. On October 8 2006, the show celebrated its 21st anniversary on London’s West End and became the longest-running West End musical in history, reaching 9,500 performances. The production continues to this day at London’s Queen’s Theatre. The show is now in its 25th year. Based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel of the same name, it is set in early 19th-century France and follows the intertwining stories of a cast of characters as they struggle for redemption and revolution.

The show had its Broadway debut on March 12, 1987 at the Broadway Theatre. The musical ran at the Broadway Theatre through October 10, 1990, when it moved to the Imperial Theatre. It was scheduled to close on March 15, 2003, but the closing was postponed by a surge in public interest, probably because of the announcement. After 6,680 performances in sixteen years, when it closed on May 18, 2003, it was the second-longest-running Broadway musical after Cats.

The Tony Award-winning score features the song I Dreamed a Dream, sung as a solo by the character Fantine during the first act. Numerous Professional artists have recorded cover versions of this song since the musical’s premiere in October 1985, including Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin, David Essex, and Michael Crawford. The song had a resurgence in popularity in 2009 when Scottish amateur singer Susan Boyle performed it live as her audition for the third series of the British reality television program, Britain’s Got Talent.

Jean Valjean is released after spending 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread. As a result, he is a bitter and desperate man. Due to the kindness of a Bishop, Valjean is able to find God and is motivated to be a good man. Eventually he rises to become the Mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer and a factory owner. Unfortunately, he has also broken his parole and Javert, a policeman, is after him. As one of his workers, Fantine, is about to die, Valjean promises to take care of her daughter, Cosette. After Valjean purchases Cosette from the money-grubbing Thenardiers (where she had been lodging), the show moves 9 years to the future where Cosette has become a woman. With the French Revolution ensuing, Cosette falls in love with a student revolutionary, Marius. After a battle, Marius falls unconscious in the sewer of Paris. Before Valjean dies, he manages to save Marius so that Marius and Cosette can be wed.

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