The West End is returning to life as government restrictions begin to lift and life starts to return to our stages. Imagine the joy when Cameron Mackintosh announced that Les Misérables: The Staged Concert would open, socially distanced, at the Sondheim Theatre this month.
An incredible cast has taken to the stage to bring us this concert version of Les Misérables, which will run from May 20th until 5th September, after which the plan is that the theatre will close for 3 weeks to prepare for a return of the full production of Les Misérables. This is an alternative version, which opened with a new cast just over a year ago to rave reviews, but sadly had to close due to government restrictions.
Whilst the staged concert is less spectacular than the full Les Misérables performance, it was a sell-out in its short run in 2020 and will no doubt be selling well again, now that it has returned to our performance starved theatres. Whilst the concert isn’t as dark as the original, it feels more moving and truthful. The battles, poverty, despair and danger all feel deeply relevant and real.
Within the staged concert, we can look forward to seeing Jon Robyns as Jean Valjean, the mesmerising ex-prisoner that cannot outrun the fate carved out for him. Alongside Jon Robyns we see Bradley Jaden as Javert, Lucie Jones as Fantine, Shan Ako as Éponine, Harry Apps as Marius, Gerard Carey as Thénardier and Josefina Gabrielle as Madame Thénardier. In addition to Jon Robyns, other celebrated Jean Valjeans guest performances will venture upon the stage. Even in these current lockdown times, over 30 performers take the stage, unexpected in the current situation.
About a third of London theatres have currently reopened, operating at restricted capacity, and accordingly, the full performances have been pushed back until a later phase of lockdown easing. The performances gracing the stage are smaller and more intimate, and perhaps all the more engaging for it.
The theatre has been reaching out to existing patrons affected by the lockdown to arrange for opportunities to attend a performance of Les Misérables: The Staged Concert, after the many months of stage-based deprivation.
Les Misérables is penned by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, and based on the novel by Victor Hugo. Music is written by Claude-Michel Schönberg, with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. The concert is directed by James Powell and Jean-Pierre Van Der Spuy, and conducted by Alfonso Casado Trigo.
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