Original Production of LES MISERABLES in London Will Take Hiatus and Re-Open With New Staging

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chernjam
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My bet - this never happens...

Cameron does this as a free PR attempt to drum up business for a 30 + year production with faux outrage and petitions and calls for the production to be saved (with Frances Ruffelle on cue with her #Team John and Trev" and comparisons of Les Miz revolve to Mary Poppins umbrella.  

Sorry I don't buy any of this

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Jarethan said: "Wanna see a reimagining that will make ANYONE wonder why, see Phantom. Even in the new production, I liked some of the changes, particularly the staging of the sextet as they received the notes from OG; however, while they both would have been fine if you had never seen Phantom, they ruined the IMO 2 most iconic stagings in the show, both of which gave still brought on goosebumps many viewings in: the title number (with the candles coming out of the water) is one of the greatest pieces of staging in any musical I have seen in the last 55 years); and Masquerade was arguably very well staged, but only if you did not have to compare it to the original, which was so damned effective. Compared to those almost sacreligous changes, I don't see how anyone can get too much passion about denigrating the new Les Mis staging."

THIS, a thousand times yes

I hope this either proves to be a publicity stunt (as chernjam suggested) or backfires so spectacularly that Mackintosh won't go anywhere near Phantom. If he guts Maria Bjornson's original design and installs that travesty currently touring the U.S., it will be the end of my decades-long devotion to Andrew Lloyd Webber's masterpiece.

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I will be annoyed if this is just a PR stunt because I wouldn't have bought a ticket otherwise! Would try and get a refund. Still, I highly doubt it's a PR stunt that won't happen. The implications for what he is saying affects so many people - theatre owners & bookings; directors; designers; actors. It's not just the audience-buying public. If there was no intention for this to go ahead it would seem like career suicide to make it up. The only way it won't happen is if he suddenly realises it was a big mistake - but the kind of response would have to be bigger than what we currently see. There is so many people involved, so many contracts, so much money involved in this process it is probably almost impossible to turn back now. 

"It’s the fractured quality in [Bernadette Peters'] singing voice and line readings that puts across the character as someone for whom resentment is sliding into madness." - NYtimes on Follies (2011).
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Yes, he did a new Phantom, but its only touring the US. The Les Mis is everywhere, and the Miss Saigon got to the West End and tour...maybe Andrew Lloyd Webber has some power over the changes. 

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Is there any correlation between this announcement and the profit loss to Delfont Mackintosh Ltd. from the over-budget refurbishment of the Victoria Palace Theatre that was reported today? I understand that theatre refurbishments are necessary but is sacrificing the masterpiece of "the longest running musical" and mecca of the West End that cemented Mackintosh's career really worth the cost?

https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2019/budget-60m-victoria-palace-redevelopment-halves-cameron-mackintoshs-profits/

Updated On: 1/10/19 at 03:03 PM
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fashionguru_23 said: "Yes, he did a new Phantom, but its only touring the US. The Les Mis is everywhere, and the Miss Saigon got to the West End and tour...maybe Andrew Lloyd Webber has some power over the changes."



The current tour of Phantom started in the UK before transferring over to the US, so it's definitely possible that Cameron Mackintosh could try to go for a similar decision with that show. (I hope to God that Andrew Lloyd Webber would have the sense to stand his ground on that, though.)

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ArtfulAmy17 said: "Is there any correlation between this announcement and the profit loss to Delfont Mackintosh Ltd. from the over-budget refurbishment of the Victoria Palace Theatre that was reported today? I understand that theatre refurbishments are necessary but is sacrificing the masterpiece of "the longest running musical" and mecca of the West End that cemented Mackintosh's career really worth the cost?

https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2019/budget-60m-victoria-palace-redevelopment-halves-cameron-mackintoshs-profits/
"

Yes Hamilton has been such an abysmal flop that he can't give tickets away. I'm surprised they haven't shut the theatre down because of it, he must be losing a fortune....

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I really dont understand replacing a 35 year old production with one thats already 10 years old, if you are going to spend the time and money why already start 10 years behind the block?

This reeks of a way to cut what im sure are crazy royalities from the original creative team 

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I'd love to know the numbers. The original is really brilliant. I'm from the state and rather young, and I'd never seen the original, so I made sure when I was in London that I saw the original and I was blown away. Just gorgeous in the simplicity. 

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chernjam said: "My bet - this never happens...

Cameron does this as a free PR attempt to drum up business for a 30 + year production with faux outrage and petitions and calls for the production to be saved (with Frances Ruffelle on cue with her #Team John and Trev" and comparisons of Les Miz revolve to Mary Poppins umbrella.

Sorry I don't buy any of this
"

Unfortunatetly the technical renovations to the theatre began a couple of years ago and it was based specifically on the the technical specification for the tour. It’s been an open secret for awhile. It’s happening.

 

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This definitely has been the plan for a long time. When Hayden Tee was in the Australian production he told me he was originally going to open the new production in the UK but for whatever reason it didn't happen and he went to Broadway instead. 

I think this is a really bad idea and it's the start of the end for the West End production. While there are aspects of the newer production that are wonderful, the projections are beautiful and a nice throwback to the novel, it really doesn't compare to the original and that shows in the fact that it's never had a long running sit down production anywhere in the world. Once could argue that the recent Broadway revival was successful but when you compare it to a 35 year old run in London it seems like it came and went in a flash. 

They should have gone back to basics with the original production and updated everything that needs updating. Tighten the things that need tightening. The fact is that people will notice the difference as the new production is as much as of spectacle.

I think we'll see Les Mis close within a few years before, as someone previously suggested, they'll have "THE ORIGINAL PRODUCTION" make a comeback. 

"Charlotte, we're Jewish"
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Elfuhbuh said: "fashionguru_23 said: "Yes, he did a new Phantom, but its only touring the US. The Les Mis is everywhere, and the Miss Saigon got to the West End and tour...maybe Andrew Lloyd Webber has some power over the changes."

The current tour of Phantom started in the UK before transferring over to the US, so it's definitely possible that Cameron Mackintosh could try to go for a similar decision with that show. (I hope to God that Andrew Lloyd Webber would have the sense to stand his ground on that, though.)
"

Cameron Macintosh is a co-producer on Phantom, so he cannot unilaterally swap-out the Phantom productions in London or on Broadway. Since he owns the theater Les Miz plays in London, he can easily close it and swap out the production. Phantom's theaters, on the other hand, are owned by different entities that most likely would consider this type of production swap a closing. In New York, if he tried this, the Shubert's would probably force him to re-locate the show to a smaller theater, since the Majestic doesn't sell-out that much any more. It also needs a renovation, which would be another reason to force a relocation. But ee would also lose something that has, quite frankly, kept the show running: a lack of stop clause. Phantom on Broadway does not have a stop clause in the lease, so the Shuberts couldn't evict the show. You can bet they'd insist on it if he swapped out productions.

 

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Fosse76 said: "Elfuhbuh said: "fashionguru_23 said: "Yes, he did a new Phantom, but its only touring the US. The Les Mis is everywhere, and the Miss Saigon got to the West End and tour...maybe Andrew Lloyd Webber has some power over the changes."

The current tour of Phantom started in the UK before transferring over to the US, so it's definitely possible that Cameron Mackintosh could try to go for a similar decision with that show. (I hope to God that Andrew Lloyd Webber would have the sense to stand his ground on that, though.)
"

Cameron Macintosh is a co-producer on Phantom, so he cannot unilaterally swap-out the Phantom productions in London or on Broadway. Since he owns the theater Les Miz plays in London,he can easily close it and swap out the production. Phantom's theaters, on the other hand, are owned by different entities that most likely would consider this type of production swap a closing. In New York, if he tried this, the Shubert's would probably force him to re-locate the show to a smaller theater, since the Majestic doesn't sell-out that much any more. It also needs a renovation, which would be another reason to force a relocation. But ee would also lose something that has, quite frankly, kept the show running: a lack of stop clause. Phantom on Broadway does not have a stop clause in the lease, so the Shuberts couldn't evict the show. You can bet they'd insist on it if he swapped out productions.


"

I think Phantom shouldn't even be in this conversation.  During the Les Miz revival on Broadway, the original Phantom was still out-grossing the revival.  30 years on, it might not be sold out weeks in advance but is consistently in the millionaires club and at 90%+ attendance.  So the only common denominator in this is that CM has a role in both productions.  But the comparisons pretty much end there.  Apples and oranges.

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chernjam said: "I think Phantom shouldn't even be in this conversation. During the Les Miz revival on Broadway, the original Phantom was still out-grossing the revival. 30 years on, it might not be sold out weeks in advance but is consistently in the millionaires club and at 90%+ attendance. So the only common denominator in this is that CM has a role in both productions. But the comparisons pretty much end there. Apples and oranges."

Don't be so sure. The common denominator in this case is still a powerful and senile force.

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Comparing the longevity of runs between the revised version and the original - and declaring the original to be the superior money maker, doesn't quite click.  I also prefer the original, but that version had all but stopped touring.  Was this because the demand was low or for other reasons?  The revised version is now in its 2nd US tour - and seemingly doing very well.  The revised version on Broadway ran about twice as long as the first revival of the original.  I don't understand the big mystery as to why Macintosh would want to change over to the revised version in London.  As for cutting royalties as a cost cutting measure, would there not be new royalties to deal with?  Does anyone know how much cheaper the new version is to maintain, if indeed it really is cheaper to run?

I don't like the idea of the original London production terminating in favor of the revised version, but I don't understand the criticisms from a financial perspective.

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As for cutting royalties as a cost cutting measure, would there not be new royalties to deal with? 

I imagine that now that the original product is being replaced CamMac would only have to pay royalties to one production team rather than two, which he will be doing with the original production still running. 

 

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well in about a year or 2 of this opening ALW can boast of having the longest running show (musical) both on Broadway and the West End, lol

http://www.flickr.com/photos/27199361@N08/ Phantom at the Royal Empire Theatre
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Justin D said: "well in about a year or 2 of this opening ALW can boast of having the longest running show (musical) both on Broadway and the West End, lol"

I agree 100% but the press release seems to imply Cameron thinks this revival will count as a “continuing run.”

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Fosse76 said: "In New York, if he tried this, the Shubert's would probably force him to re-locate the show to a smaller theater, since the Majestic doesn't sell-out that much any more. It also needs a renovation, which would be another reason to force a relocation. But ee would also lose something that has, quite frankly, kept the show running: a lack of stop clause. Phantom on Broadway does not have a stop clause in the lease, so the Shuberts couldn't evict the show. You can bet they'd insist on it if he swapped out productions.

Sorry to bring up Phantom again, but Fosse76, are you saying that the only thing that is keeping Broadway's Phantom open is that it has no stop clause? You really think that Phantom on Broadway would have hit a stop clause plateau recently? If you do, I'm curious to know in what year you think Phantom's grosses were low enough to warrant a stop clause? 

Back to Les Miz, Cameron must think that enough theater goers don't care about the revolve vs no revolve and just want to see Les Miz when the tour comes to town and/or when they take a trip to London. I don't know exactly who "makes the rules" when it comes to long running West end productions, but I sure hope they make him acknowledge that the 1985 run ends in July and any future non-revolve performances after that are a revival. 

 

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Justin D said: "well in about a year or 2 of this opening ALW can boast of having the longest running show (musical) both on Broadway and the West End, lol"

Actually, Les Mis opened only about 7 - 8 months before Phantom, so technically the time would be less; however, based on the plan to have the old version continue to run while the new version is prepped is not going to change the performance count.  Phantom will become #1 only if it is running 9 months after Les Mis has closed.  Despite the posting here, the net results of the changes are IMO pretty minor, some better, somer worse.

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I'm still very sad about this news as I am biased towards the original staging (and set design!) which I've seen in a few of its incarnations (Original Broadway run at the Imperial, Third US National Tour, first Broadway revival at the Broadhurst and in the West End at the Queen's).

I've seen the new staging (second Broadway revival at the Imperial) and I although I wasn't completely offended by it, I found it very contradictory, like it had an identity crisis. It's marketed as a reimagining, a new production, while it clings to some of the recognizable imagery of the original, albeit in a less cohesive presentation. The same logo is used for marquees, posters, programs and ads (but in silver and not gold or white), Emile Bayard's Cosette illustration is still the poster girl (but the tricolor motif echoing the french flag over her hair is reversed), some costumes are reused (most notably for Eponine, Thenardier and Enjolras), and some blocking is familiar but mirrored (Fantine's deathbed was stage left in the original and in the new staging it is stage right). The familiarity of it all really reenforced the absence of John Napier's simple yet striking set, and I dearly missed it.

So, what about the production is really new? Mainly the set and scenic backdrop projections, and the introduction of an almost florescent teal color in some of the projections and lighting that I felt clashed with the earthier colors. There are some impressive moments with the projections like the runaway cart scene and the animated transition from street-level to the sewers after the fall of the barricade. However, very ironically, the most important projections which helped aid the narrative timeline in the original production (dates and settings) are missing and this likely confuses audiences who aren't all aware of the 18-year and city-hopping sprawl of the story.

Did I enjoy the second Broadway revival with the new staging? Yes, because I was grateful to have the show back in New York in some capacity. However, I was left wanting, and so the following year I went to London and saw the West End production with the original staging and it all felt right. Sadly, that may not be an option anymore.

Updated On: 1/12/19 at 02:00 AM
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Plannietink08 said: "As for cutting royalties as a cost cutting measure, would there not be new royalties to deal with?

I imagine that now that the original product is being replaced CamMac would only have to pay royalties to one production team rather than two, which he will be doing with the original production still running.


"

Yes but surely the the core issue is what % of the box office are the new creative team getting vs the old. And also the maintenance costs of the new production vs the old production (I'm guessing less mechanical = less to maintain, less to break etc.). 

Plus, perhaps we also shouldn't be so cynical to think that Cam Mack actually thinks the new production is a lesser experience than the old one. Maybe he genuinely believes in it and is excited to get it in front of London audiences. 

"It’s the fractured quality in [Bernadette Peters'] singing voice and line readings that puts across the character as someone for whom resentment is sliding into madness." - NYtimes on Follies (2011).
Updated On: 1/12/19 at 05:41 AM
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qolbinau said: "Plannietink08 said: "As for cutting royalties as a cost cutting measure, would there not be new royalties to deal with?

I imagine that now that the original product is being replaced CamMac would only have to pay royalties to one production team rather than two, which he will be doing with the original production still running.


"

Yes but surely the the core issue is what % of the box office are the new creative team getting vs the old. And also the maintenance costs of the new production vs the old production (I'm guessing less mechanical = less to maintain, less to break etc.).

Plus, perhaps we also shouldn't be so cynical to think that Cam Mack actually thinks the new production is a lesser experience than the old one. Maybe he genuinely believes in it and is excited to get it in front of London audiences.
"

The new director and designer are both part of the infouse Cam Mack team. They are being paid nothing in terms of royalties in comparison to Trevor Nunn and John Caird. This was absolutely the original thinking behind the show. ‘How can Cam Mack take more of the revenue?’

Updated On: 1/12/19 at 06:18 AM
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The other question I have is, while it makes sense - do we actually know for sure they are getting paid less or is it just speculation? I mean, it's probably true, but do we know it's true? 

"It’s the fractured quality in [Bernadette Peters'] singing voice and line readings that puts across the character as someone for whom resentment is sliding into madness." - NYtimes on Follies (2011).
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