Les Misérables: 30th Anniversary Gala

Theatre Breaks

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Guest post by David Thomas

The challenge must have been daunting: how do you do justice the thirtieth birthday of the longest running and best loved musical of all time?

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The solution: you put the show centre stage and then you celebrate the phenomenal creative team and performers – past, present and future – who together have made, and continue to make, Les Miz THE musical theatre experience of the century

Of course, you also need a decent MC, or in this case CM… Cameron Mackintosh, the Producer, whose passion for the show filled the theatre last night, from the front of the Stalls to the back of the Circle and every cubic centimetre in between.  Seeing Cameron on the stage, surrounded by a sea of cast and collaborators, my mind went back to a day eleven years previous when Les Miz first transferred to its current home at the Queen’s Theatre*

There were no crowds that evening, just the smell of paint, the hammering of carpenters.  My knees were killing me. Cameron and I had just sat in every seat in the theatre to check the view, and then, because we disagreed on some of the sightlines, he insisted that we sat in them ALL a second time.  I had just popped down to the box office to check the figures (no-one back then believed that a musical could succeed commercially at The Queens) and when I walked back into the auditorium Cameron was standing, alone, at the front of the dress circle. The stage and auditorium were deserted, the hammering had finally stopped and Cameron was leaning forward, his hands on the rails, looking for all the world like the Captain of a ship staring out into the horizon as his vessel set forth into open sea.

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Last night, Les Miz completed another stage on the voyage that started at the Barbican thirty years ago and has circumvented the known world. Not even the Captain of the ship knows where or when the journey will end, but I do know that Les Miz will continue to sail under the same flag of unimpeachable quality that it has for the past thirty years, and the watchword will remain the same: “All aboard!”

*by one of those strange theatrical coincidences the theatre also has its birthday on the 8th of October

Off to see Les Misérables this year? Fan of the show? Let us know in the comments section below!

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