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London Les Miserables

Broadway61004
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London Les Miserables#1
Posted: 6/3/12 at 12:26pm
Does anyone know if they still use the original staging for Les Mis in London? I thought I remembered hearing somewhere that they updated it a while back to reflect the recent U.S. tour.
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LizzieCurry
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London Les Miserables#2
Posted: 6/3/12 at 12:29pm
If so, it wouldn't really be reflecting the US tour since the current US tour is basically a replica of the 25th anniversary UK tour and 25th anniversary Spanish production. (The ship, Eponine with gloves, Valjean dressed like a Weinerschnitzel in the prologue, Enjolras with wristbands...)
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London Les Miserables#2
Posted: 6/3/12 at 12:31pm
I saw it in Feb 2011 and it still uses the turn table and basically no props if that is what you mean, by how the new tour is done with real sets, the opening Valjean works on a boat or something along those line (i have only seen the trailer for the tour) and such....a more extragagent production.



Updated On: 6/3/12 at 12:31 PM
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LizzieCurry
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London Les Miserables#3
Posted: 6/3/12 at 12:34pm
Val Jean (with spaces) is a French porn star...
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Broadway61004
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London Les Miserables#4
Posted: 6/3/12 at 1:20pm
Awesome--I have a friend who wanted to see the original staging. Looks like that's close enough. Thanks for the info!
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Justin D
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London Les Miserables#5
Posted: 6/3/12 at 1:34pm
The London one is the original staging, but with the cuts and updated costumes that were made i think someplace between 2000 and the 2006 broadway revival, It has the original set, although a bit smaller to fit the smaller theatre it is in now. and I think they also use the new orchestrations that were complained about in the 2006 broadway revival.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27199361@N08/ Phantom at the Royal Empire Theatre
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My Oh My
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London Les Miserables#6
Posted: 6/3/12 at 3:29pm
Yes, the current London production is the very last remaining of the original production, minus the original orchestrations. They make my ears twitch, but it should be OK for you. For most.

Eponine now sports some grandma get-up, instead of the traditional ratty, long skirt and barely-there top.

The set is smaller but they make great use of the space they have and I can honestly say the smaller scale didn't hurt one bit when I saw it in London in 2010. I've only ever seen the full scale productions here in the US and thought I'd dislike the shrunken set. It's slightly cut reduced in scale but is almost the same height and still has as much of the original John Napier designs as possible. Basically, yes, it is THE original production. The changes are negligible and it's one of the most visually stunning productions I've ever seen.

Recommended. But sit as close as possible. It's worth it!

Recreation of original John Cameron orchestration to "On My Own" by yours truly. Click player below to hear.
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London Les Miserables#7
Posted: 6/3/12 at 5:27pm
My Oh My - We never saw Les Miserables before so not sure about the orchestrations/staging but I will say it was a very good show. We sat in the 5th row a couple of weeks ago in London and you are right, it really made it even more enjoyable being that close
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My Oh My
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London Les Miserables#8
Posted: 6/4/12 at 1:04am
The staging hasn't been altered, thank God, and what you see in London currently is the award-winning direction by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Too many people take their work in Les Mis for granted or they just don't "get" theatre. Can you believe people actually interpret "Lovely Ladies" literally? As in, they think Fantine goes from being fired to selling her body in 10 minutes? Some silly people think "One Day More" takes place in the "same room." Others believe a bunch of random spooks appear in Valjean's croak chamber to sing a "goodbye." And then there are those who think Javert rolling around on the ground during his suicide is literally Javert rolling around the ground during his suicide. Never mind the Seine, or the suggestions that the man has just hopped into a rolling body of water. Silly Javie rolls on ground. I wonder what they think of the new tour's suicide, where it appears Javie suddenly takes wing as the bridge he's standing on breaks apart and flies away. When I saw it, a girl on the way out said to her companion that she thought the way they staged Javert's "descent into hell" was very creative. ROFLMAO.

Glad you decided to splurge a little and get up close and personal at Les Mis, Yankeefan7! Nothing like having the poor rush right at you at the climax of "At the End Of the Day." Or the entire company slowly walk toward you, looking right at you and asking if you're up for the challenge in the finale. And, of course, that stunning display of the students marching triumphantly down the streets and Valjean and Cosette slowly rotating toward the center of that "wedge" the students form and...fade out! It's nice from afar but breathtaking up close.

I need my Les Mis fix now!!
Recreation of original John Cameron orchestration to "On My Own" by yours truly. Click player below to hear.
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RainbowJude
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London LES MISERABLES#9
Posted: 6/4/12 at 2:20pm
I really don't like this (with apologies to Herbert Kretzmer) "here a little nip, there a little tuck" method of freshening long-running shows that Cameron Mackintosh has got going. All these little changes in LES MISERABLES seem to be for the worse, to the point that even if one sees the Trevor Nunn/John Caird staging, so many elements worked in conjunction with that staging have been altered in some way or another that the whole thing is a watered down experience of what it used to be. The trend continues with this half-new UK tour of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA that uses a new staging and scenery designs with the old costumes.

I think it's fine to want to breath new life into a show, but (a) what's the point if, as in the case of PHANTOM, the original production is still running, and (b) what integrity could a half-revised production that rests on the laurels of its predecessor have? Either revive the old staging or do something completely conceptualised from the ground up. This half-and-half approach achieves nothing.
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London LES MISERABLES#10
Posted: 6/4/12 at 2:39pm
Hopefully they aren't borrowing the US Eponine who screamed her way through "On My Own".
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London LES MISERABLES#11
Posted: 6/4/12 at 2:51pm
RainbowJude- i completely agree. And while the new US tour is basically an all-new production, it can't hold a candle to the original. I found myself completely uninterested in the characters, and just thinking about how much i missed the turntable.
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London LES MISERABLES#12
Posted: 6/6/12 at 7:48am
I really don't like this (with apologies to Herbert Kretzmer) "here a little nip, there a little tuck" method of freshening long-running shows that Cameron Mackintosh has got going. All these little changes in LES MISERABLES seem to be for the worse, to the point that even if one sees the Trevor Nunn/John Caird staging, so many elements worked in conjunction with that staging have been altered in some way or another that the whole thing is a watered down experience of what it used to be. The trend continues with this half-new UK tour of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA that uses a new staging and scenery designs with the old costumes.

I think it's fine to want to breath new life into a show, but (a) what's the point if, as in the case of PHANTOM, the original production is still running, and (b) what integrity could a half-revised production that rests on the laurels of its predecessor have? Either revive the old staging or do something completely conceptualised from the ground up. This half-and-half approach achieves nothing.


Completely agree.

All in all the 'new' tour of Les Mis is a lot more successful than the 'new' Phantom. Probably that's because the former nicked a lot more things from the original production (essentially the staging was more or less identical with a few changes), although that of course (rightly) upset Sir Trevor Nunn, who fell out with Cameron Mackintosh over the whole thing. Hilariously John Caird said to Cameron on radio, when the latter defended the new tour saying a new creative team was needed, that perhaps the show should get a new producer (ouch!).

The new Phantom tour, however, is a complete, lamentable mess. They advertise that Maria Björnson's costumes have been retained, but they've actually been butchered beyond belief, some to the point where they are no longer recognisable or have been replaced completely. IMHO it's completely unethical, especially as Björnson's estate agreed to let the new production use her costumes on condition that they would be unchanged. The direction *is* for the most part different from Hal Prince's original (Cameron had to make an agreement with Hal Prince to let the tour happen, so I assume one of the conditions stipulated by Hal was that his direction could not be cannibalised in the same way Nunn's was on the Les Mis tour), but it's pathetically weak, confused and amateurish. The show survives on its strong cast. Take them out and you're left with a pretty poor show. I can't see the new tour being well-received in the States, where the original toured for nearly two decades.

But then I knew not to expect too much. The director for these reconceived 'lite' tours, Laurence Connor, is basically just an ex-Miz actor who was also a resident director of the London show and of the London production of Phantom for a while. I don't think he really understands anything about what makes either show tick, but it's clear Cameron hires him and not a first-rate, world-class director like Michael Grandage, Jamie Lloyd, Matthew Warchus, Rupert Goold etc because he's a) cheaper; b) easier to boss around.



Updated On: 6/6/12 at 07:48 AM
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London LES MISERABLES#13
Posted: 6/6/12 at 7:52am
The longer it runs, the shorter it gets. Give it a few years and it'll be Les Mis abridged London LES MISERABLES

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London LES MISERABLES#14
Posted: 6/6/12 at 10:14am
Does "Eponine's Errand" exist in the score any more? I notcied its absence on the2010 UK tour recording which seems pretty complete otherwise (and the 25th anniversary concert, but i assumed it was for time constraints). I dont see how you can cut it as it sets up the rest of the Marius/Cosette storyline.
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London LES MISERABLES#15
Posted: 6/6/12 at 10:16am
It's in the London production, at least.
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London LES MISERABLES#16
Posted: 6/6/12 at 12:27pm
Does anyone else realise that dramatically changing and distorting a touring production or even a London production of a show when the original production is still running...anyone remember RENT REMIXED!?!?!?!?!
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London LES MISERABLES#17
Posted: 6/6/12 at 12:36pm
I actually loved the sets from the new Les Mis tour. What I didn't love were the performances. Everything was sped up and sang like they were auditioning for American Idol. Modern does not have to mean scream at the top of your lungs with riffs and all. The emotion got lost in the way the songs were sung. I'd rather have good acting and storytelling over bombastic performances.
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London LES MISERABLES#18
Posted: 6/6/12 at 2:08pm
Seeing the London production of Le Miz was one of the biggest theatrical disappointments for me.

It seemed like a bad college production.
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London LES MISERABLES#19
Posted: 6/6/12 at 3:31pm
Scorpion, it's interesting what you say about the new Les Miz and Phantom tours. One thing that I found really frustrating with both is in all the major press material, and official websites, I could find, they went on about the designs, the fact they were new productions, etc, but basically tried as hard as possible not to mention who the director was. Surely, not a good sign.
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London LES MISERABLES#20
Posted: 6/6/12 at 3:50pm
I saw the London production last month and while the staging is very true to the original, I found the performances and vocals of much of the supporting cast (i.e. Eponine, Marius, Cosette)to be very underwhelming. I sat in the second row--which was perfect given the small and often crowded stage.

On a side note, Top Hat was great fun!
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London LES MISERABLES#21
Posted: 6/6/12 at 8:28pm
MyOhMy, can you elaborate on Eponine's new costume?