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Two Weeks Added to LES MISERABLES - THE STAGED CONCERT at London's Sondheim Theatre

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The initial six-week run has been extended due to overwhelming demand.

Two Weeks Added to LES MISERABLES - THE STAGED CONCERT at London's Sondheim Theatre

Earlier this week, it was announced that Les Miserables - The Staged Concert will play a limited run at the Sondheim Theatre in London's West End, to coincide with the musical's 35th year on Shaftesbury Avenue.

Tonight, it was reported that due to overwhelming demand the show's producers have announced a two week extension. The initial six weeks of performances, running from 5 December - 17 January 2021, have completely sold out. On sale dates for the additional performances have not yet been announced.

The cast for this six-week run will include Michael Ball as Javert, Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean, Carrie Hope Fletcher as Fantine and Matt Lucas as Thénardier. At certain performances John Owen-Jones will again play the role of Jean Valjean.

With a reduced seating capacity of 750, Covid safety measures and social distancing are in place front of house, on stage, backstage and throughout the building.

The critically acclaimed new production of Les Misérables which opened in January of this year will hopefully re-open at the Sondheim Theatre sometime in the Spring as soon as the Government has withdrawn social distancing and reached Stage 5 allowing full capacity audiences.

Cameron Mackintosh gave the following statement:

"Seven months on from the enforced closure of our theatres, one of Britain's most successful world beating industries faces being decimated, with the desperate loss of thousands of jobs. The future of our cultural heritage hangs in the balance while the Government battles to find the best way out of this crisis. Like so many people, I want to go back to work.

The Chancellor has said we need to live with this virus without fear and as a theatre producer and theatre owner that is exactly how I and my colleagues feel - the show must go on - but safely for both audiences and everyone onstage as well as backstage. Time to grab the masks of comedy and tragedy once more!

The only show of mine that I can consider opening at this time is the hugely successful all-star staged concert of Les Misérables which I produced last year for a sell-out 16 week run at the Gielgud Theatre.

As the production exists it will only require slight re-staging to play safely with social distancing both on stage and throughout the auditorium. Our priority is always that our companies and audiences are in a safe, healthy environment so they can fully enjoy a wonderful show in a beautiful theatre.

To comply with regulations the theatre's capacity has to be reduced to just over 750 seats. The authors and theatre have waived their royalties and rent to give the show a chance to break even and our leading artists have all agreed to work for appreciably less than their normal salaries. With such a big spectacular show it is a risk, but with manageable production costs and a short run it is not a catastrophic one.

It is encouraging to see flickers of theatrical life again both in the West End and the subsidised theatre. Most of the recently opened productions have been selling out their reduced capacities despite the ever changing and confusing public messaging.

Of course as Producer of the fully staged version of Les Misérables which brilliantly reopened the Sondheim at the beginning of the year, I am hugely concerned for that wonderful cast to start performing again as I am for my other great companies and productions of Hamilton, The Phantom of the Opera and Mary Poppins. As an industry we are all crying out for certainty and a date when the major productions that cannot operate viably with any social distancing can plan to return. Realistically this can't happen before next spring due to the Government's current ever-changing and confusing guidelines and the practical time we need to get these big productions back up. We also require a commitment from the Government to underwrite Covid insurance without which major long running shows will find it almost impossible to take the risk of reopening. Remounting these shows will cost several millions each and we will only be able to have one go at this if the industry is to survive.

With several shows now being announced, the West End is determined that theatregoers can look forward to Christmas in the traditional way with at least a handful of great shows. However, this is just a warm-up allowing us to flex our atrophied artistic muscles in preparation for the whole of UK theatre hopefully returning from next Spring. In December, Michael Harrison is also bringing his star-studded Pantoland Christmas show to the Palladium for a short season - guaranteed to make you collapse with laughter. The Play That Goes Wrong will be doing everything right at the Duchess Theatre, Six will be knocking them for six at the neighbouring Lyric Theatre and next door Everybody's still Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre - all of us hopefully helping to bring much needed crowds back to the West End's bars, restaurants and hotels.

It is time to tear down the barricades and let tomorrow come. The beautiful new Sondheim Theatre will re-open its doors so audiences can once again leap to their feet thrilled by Hugo's timelessly uplifting story of the survival of the human spirit told through Boublil and Schönberg's amazing iconic score - Let The People Sing. Happy Christmas to us all."

Cameron Mackintosh's production of Les Misérables is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel with additional material by James Fenton and adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird.

Les Misérables -The Staged Concert is being staged without any financial help from the Culture Recovery Fund or the National Lottery.

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