March 11 marked the Philippine premiere of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Les Misérables at The Theatre at Solaire. According to Anna Yulo of Concertus Manila—the local producers of what is officially the “world’s longest running musical”—the much-awaited first night of Les Mis was sold out.
The audience was a mix of Les Mis first-timers with a spattering of others who had seen the production abroad more than once before. All the same, everyone was excited to see Cameron Macintosh’s musical wonder.
The Philippines’ newest gem in the West End, Rachelle Anne Go, received a standing ovation for her performance as the hapless tortured soul Fantine, as did the rest of the international lead stars Simon Gleeson and Earl Carpenter.
Two major events are still up for the “world’s longest running musical” in Manila with a media call on March 15, and the invitational gala on March 16.
This new production of Les Mis has been praised by critics, fans and new audiences, breaking box office records internationally and inspiring filmmakers to make the outstandingly successful movie, which went on to win three Oscars, three Golden Globes, four BAFTAs, and five Helpmann awards. It was also announced shortly before the Manila premiere that its run is extended to six weeks, from the original five weeks.
The production features glorious modernized staging, orchestrations and dazzlingly re-imagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, who also wrote the classic novel.
Set against the backdrop of 19th-century revolutionary France, Les Mis has been seen by over 70 million people worldwide in 42 countries and in 22 languages. It is is undisputedly one of the most popular musicals of all time.
Having won more than 125 major awards around the world it has been hailed as the most stirring, moving musical ever. Based on Hugo’s classic novel, it is an epic and uplifting story about the survival of the human spirit.
The magnificent score of Les Mis includes the classic 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 many more.
Mackintosh’s Les Mis has music by Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel. Adapted by Trevor Nunn and John Caird, this particular production features additional material by James Fenton.
The 25th Anniversary Production is directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell and designed by Matt Kinley. Original costumes are by Andreane Neofitou, additional costumes by Christine Rowland, lighting design by Paule Constable and sound design by Mick Potter. Executive Producer of the international production is Michael Cassel.
Presented in Manila by Smart Infinity, the anticipation remains high for the Broadway and West End giant that is now more accessible to Filipinos who want to watch it again, and those who fell in love with blockbuster movie.
The production’s official website is www.lesmis.com.ph. The Manila Times will attend the show’s media call on Tuesday to feature more original photos for the section in the coming week.