Alain Boublil (Book & Original French text) and Claude-Michel Schönberg (Book & Music) share their insights on Les Misérables.
A few years after the huge success of the original Les Misérables in Paris, we met Cameron Mackintosh to discuss an English version. He told us excitedly, “You do not realise what you have written.” Neither he nor we could have imagined that three decades later we would be continuing to play in London and on tour in the UK. An unprecedented success like this cannot be explained but only witnessed with amazement and pride by its creators. Stravinsky once said “A real creator does not know what he is doing.”
We were to walk through the magical door leading us to the chain of talents of James Fenton, Trevor Nunn and John Caird, Herbert Kretzmer, and now Laurence Connor and James Powell. Under Cameron’s passionate helm, all have added their invaluable contributions to our original work which they have brilliantly complemented throughout the years, bringing Les Misérables to maturity and both of us into a world that has been our home ever since. We went on to write Miss Saigon, Martin Guerre, The Pirate Queen and other works.
The spirit of Victor Hugo may protect us. His novel proclaims its message around the world, to all nationalities, cultures and ages. Still, it astounds us that this young generation flock to see a current show which was written before they were born. Too often musicals age with their audience, but in this case we are the only ones who age while, onstage, the ideals and the passion of Valjean, Javert, Cosette, Marius and the rebel students are still as timeless as ever.
Attending one rehearsal at The Barbican Theatre in 1985, where in front of our eyes was mounted the musical which exceeded our wildest dreams, Alain said: “I hope that we will still be running in two months.” After 37 years, in light of all the challenges facing our theatre community today, we still are!
May 10 – 21 • Buell Theatre
ASL, Audio described & Open Captioned performance: May 20, 2pm