Check out this first look at Les Miserables Director Jim Corti’s notes on creating Paramount’s largest Broadway production yet.
Victor Hugo’s LES MISERABLES debuted over 150 years ago in 1862 and to this day is considered one of the most significant novels in world literature. It is upon his epic, four volumes and some 1,900 pages that composers Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg adapted their internationally-acclaimed musical still running in London after 30 years, produced in 43 countries and translated into 21 languages. The tale tells how, after a brutal, dehumanizing 19-year prison sentence, Jean Valjean embarks on a path to redemption doing good and supporting the students of the June Rebellion of 1832 in Paris. Valjean is pursued by Inspector Javert, and the contrast between these two men propels a sequence of events that compel the differences of one who lives forgiven and the other unforgiving. Hugo writes how laws and his society create “hells on earth.” He declaims the problems of the age being “the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night…a social asphyxia.” Of his ambitions for his novel, he wrote of “humankind’s wounds, those huge sores that litter the world…” and that, “Wherever men go in ignorance or despair, wherever women sell themselves for bread, wherever children lack a book to learn from or a warm hearth, LES MISERABLES knocks at the door and says, “Open up, I am here for you.” At the end of the novel, he states, “The book which the reader has before him at this moment is…a journey from night to day, from corruption to life, from hell to heaven, from nothingness to God. The starting point: matter, destination: the soul. The hydra at the beginning, the angel at the end.”
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