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Les Misérables
Photograph: Johann Persson

I dreamed a dream – and ‘Les Misérables’ came back

The uber-iconic West End musical returns in May

By
Chris Waywell
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It might not loom that large in your day-to-day life, but the return of ‘Les Misérables’ to the West End is certainly a milestone for the cultural reawakening of the capital. It has just been announced that the mega-hit musical will soon reopen in ‘staged concert’ form (that means costumes and acting but not the full sets/lights shebang). 

From May 20, ‘Les Misérables: The Staged Concert’ will be live at the Sondheim Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, featuring the stars of the full London cast Jon Robyns, Bradley Jaden and Lucie Jones. The return of the fully staged show – bells, whistles, hastily erected barricades, etc – is planned for the Sondheim from September 25.

The staged version of ‘Les Mis’ only managed ten performances on The West End before it fell victim to Covid. This time around, it will initially have a reduced 50 percent seating capacity with strict Covid safety measures in place, with social distancing in the auditorium, on stage, backstage and throughout the building. The return of the fully staged version will depend on theatres being allowed to return to full capacity, and some insurance provision on the part of the government to underwrite shows against future potential restrictions or lockdowns.

So, it’s maybe not the time to go overboard with joy that everything is back to normal on the London stage, but it’s definitely good news. And given that Victor Hugo described his novel ‘Les Misérables’ as ‘a progress from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day’ you could hardly want a more appropriate work to see London’s Theatreland start to come back to life. 

‘Les Misérables – The Staged Concert’, Sondheim Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 6BA. May 20-Sep 5. Tickets go on sale at 10am Mar 15, here. Updates on the fully staged version can be found at www.lesmis.com.

More stuff to book for this summer.

Shakespeare’s Globe is to reopen in April.

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