BREAKING NEWS: LES MISÉRABLES Original London Cast In Recording Royalties Row
BWW:UK has learned that the original cast of Les Miserables are currently locked in a dispute with First Night Records about the royalties of their cast recording.
Peter Polycarpou (originally ensemble, later Grantaire and Thenardier; and then John in Miss Saigon) tweeted on Friday: "First Night Records have said that they no longer want to pay us Les Mis royalties after 25 years."
Sources tell us that the row hinges on whether the contract for royalties initially negotiated 25 years ago between the cast and First Night Records is still valid.
The record company believe they can stop paying royalties now that this 25-year period, mentioned in a clause of the contract, has elapsed.
The cast are being represented by Equity, the actors' union, who argue that if First Night Records wish to continue making use of the recordings, they should negotiate a new contract with the cast.
Polycarpou added: "I am committed both as an OLC member of Les Mis and as an Equity Councillor to get FNR to pay up for us and future casts."
BWW:UK also understands that although a typical annual royalty payment to a cast member was around three figures, the most recent royalty payments to the original cast have been higher than in previous years, possibly due to the increased popularity of the show after Susan Boyle performed I Dreamed A Dream on Britain's Got Talent to worldwide acclaim.
Similarly, Michael Ball, the original Marius, tweeted: "First night records. you cannot be serious. not sure if its legal..but moral? i think not."
Frances Ruffelle, the original Eponine tweeted: "I heard today that the original London cast of Les Miserables will not be receiving record royalties from First Night Records anymore. BAD. I have written to John at First Night Records! Lets hope the news is wrong! surely he wouldn't do that to us!"
First Night Records are not available for comment so far; BWW:UK will continue to pursue this story and update readers.