“Les Misérables” runs March 26-31 at the Landmark Theater.
Based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name, the popular musical follows the lives of the proletariat in post-Napoleonic France. Weaving through uprisings, tuberculosis and poverty, Claude-Michel Schönberg’s emotive and melodious score has entertained American audiences since it first crossed the pond in 1987. The show comes to the Landmark Theater next week.
Though audiences may be familiar with the show through last year’s film adaptation, Varela says there’s nothing like seeing the musical as it was meant to be performed. And for those familiar with the stage version, this production is quite different from the original ’87 staging.
“We had a meeting with Cameron [Mackintosh, the musical’s producer] about doing the show in a much more modern way,” director Laurence Connor says. “I think the original production was quite an eclectic sort of production. It was very theatrical, and it was quite romantic in many ways. We took a slightly more realistic approach. [It’s] a bit grittier in places.”
This production eschews the minimalist sets and features new costumes and orchestrations. It also does away with the show’s signature rotating stage, a revolutionary set piece in all senses of the word in 1987. Instead, today’s musical uses high-definition projectors and plays off some of Hugo’s illustrations.
“It is every bit as powerful musically as the original,” Connor says, “it’s just a different way of telling the story.”