Michael Ball and Lea Salonga Headline DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING? in Shanghai, 11/27
LES MISERABLES is approaching her 30th birthday. Technically, the Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg musical based on Victor Hugo's classic novel is older still; the first stage adaptation premiered in Paris back in 1980. From that earliest French-language production to the Broadway revival planned for 2014, the impact of LES MISERABLES endures. There have been Dream Casts, and 25th Anniversary tours, and a record-breaking (tear-inducing) film adaptation. Productions have been staged in over 42 countries, and translated into 22 different languages. A global phenomenon that still plays to sold-out houses in the West End, LES MISERABLES sits behind only THE FANTASTICKS as the longest running musical on our planet.
After the international success of LES MISERABLES, Boublil and Schönberg took on another classic and beloved story, Madame Butterfly. The Vietnam War era musical MISS SAIGON premiered in London 1989, and is breaking box-office records still - the West End revival set for next year recently sold more tickets in one day than any other musical. Ever.
With the success of these two shows, Messrs. Boublil and Schönberg essentially changed the musical theatre landscape forever.
The concert event DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING? offers a new way to experience the genius of Boublil and Schönberg. With songs from LES MISERABLES, MISS SAIGON, and lesser-known works including MARTIN GUERRE and THE PIRATE QUEEN, DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING? is a celebration of their best and brightest creations. And now, after successful concerts across North America, Asia-Pacific audiences will get to experience DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING? for themselves, with Australian-based producer Enda Markey kicking off a brand new production in Shanghai.
Markey, who was introduced to Boublil by a mutual friend, has been working on bringing this production together for over a year. When they first met, Boublil was working on the US concerts, and the idea was born to put together a production to travel across Asia, Australia and New Zealand, where both LES MISERABLES and MISS SAIGON have been hugely popular.
The tour will feature an international cast of luminaries, all with unique and abiding connections to the work of Boublil and Schönberg. Superstars of the genre Michael Ball and Lea Salonga headline in Shanghai, and Markey calls the casting decisions for this tour some of the easiest choices he's ever had to make.
"Both Michael Ball and Lea Salonga have a long history with the works of Boublil and Schönberg, so when it was apparent that their schedules permitted them to come to Shanghai to start off our tour, I jumped at the chance.
"Marie Zamora was the original Cossette in the Paris production of LES MISERABLES, and it's thrilling to hear her sing some of Alain and Claude-Michel's work in the original French text.
"As an Australian producer," Markey adds, "it was important to me to celebrate the wealth of talent we have at our own doorstep, and Amanda Harrison and David Harris - both with celebrated performances in Boublil & Schönberg musicals - were the obvious choices."
The show is premiering in Shanghai, a city that has its own history with LES MISERABLES. LES MISERABLES was in fact the first Western musical to be presented in China. Of that very first door-opening production for Chinese audiences, lyricist Boublil says, "I was certainly thrilled to hear from Cameron Mackintosh that the first musical ever to play in China was to be LES MISERABLES. It was thrilling for Claude-Michel Schönberg and myself to experience the musical in Shanghai, performed in English. I also hope that soon we will be able to present LES MISERABLES in China, in their native language."
Of this new production of DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING? Boublil says, "Now, I am returning to Shanghai with great expectations for the audience to discover - or rediscover - songs from LES MISERABLES [and] also highlights from our other musicals."