Broadway's ''Les Miserables'' will close in March. The second longest-running play in Broadway history will have run for 16 years

By Gary Susman
Updated October 03, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Les Mis rables

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Jean Valjean is about to steal his last pair of candlesticks. Producers announced Wednesday that ”Les Miserables,” the second longest-running show in Broadway history, will close in March. Since it opened in 1987, it’s been seen by 9 million people and grossed $390 million.

Based on the Victor Hugo novel, the musical opened at the Broadway Theater on March 12, 1987. Written by Alain Boublil and composer Claude-Michel Schonberg, with English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, the show won eight Tonys, including Best Musical. It moved to its current home, the Imperial Theater, in 1990; replacing it at the Broadway was Boublil and Schonberg’s ”Miss Saigon,” which ran there for 10 years. When ”Les Miz” closes on March 15, three days after its 16th anniversary, it will have run for 6,612 performances, behind only ”Cats,” which ran for 7,485 performances.

”I never dreamed that a musical like ‘Les Miserables’ could become one of the longest-running shows of all time, and I am very grateful to American audiences for embracing such a different kind of musical in such an overwhelming way,” said producer Cameron Mackintosh in a statement.

Despite the show’s lengthy run and nine-figure gross, its high overhead meant that the play ”just broke even last year,” Mackintosh told the New York Post. He told the Post that he could keep ”Les Miz” running another year, but ”there would be no profits, just even-Steven.” A longer run could also allow the show to surpass Mackintosh’s ”Cats,” but he said he ”did not want to occupy a theater just to break a record.

Worldwide, the show has grossed more than $1.8 billion in touring productions. It led to the restoration of theaters in many cities, since many auditoriums had to be renovated to meet the technical requirements of the play’s revolving-platform stage. Mackintosh’s original production of ”Les Miz” is still running on London’s West End, where it opened in 1985.

Les Mis rables

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  • Stage

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