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Les Misérables (musical)

Les Misérables program from Palace Theatre purchased for £3 in July 2003.

Les Misérables, commonly known as Les Mis, is a musical based on the novel Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. It tells the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his attempts to start a new life and make the world a better place.

The musical's emblem is a picture of the waif Cosette, usually shown cropped to a head-and-shoulders portrait with the French national flag superimposed.

Well-known songs from the musical include "I Dreamed a Dream", "Do You Hear the People Sing?", "On My Own", and "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables".

The musical was written by the composer Claude-Michel Schönberg and the librettist Alain Boublil. It opened in September 1980 at the Palais des Sports in Paris for a projected eight-week season; such was its success that it ran for sixteen weeks, closing only because the venue was already committed to other projects after that point.

In 1982, English producer Cameron Mackintosh began work on an English language version, with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. The first English production, produced by Mackintosh and directed by Trevor Nunn, opened on October 8, 1985 in the Barbican Theatre, London. On December 4, 1985 it moved to the Palace Theatre, where as of August 2003 it is still running. On October 8, 1995 the show's 10th anniversary was celebrated with a concert at the Royal Albert Hall; one of the finalés was a performance of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" sung a line at a time by seventeen Jean Valjeans, each from a different production in a different country.

The Broadway production opened on March 12, 1987, and won the Tony Award for Best Musical in that year. It ran at the Imperial Theatre until May 18, 2003 (its scheduled end on March 15, 2003, having been postponed by a surge in public interest). After 6,680 performances in sixteen years, it is the second-longest-running Broadway musical after Cats.