Monday, October 09, 2006
Les Miserables Becomes Longest Running Musical In The World
It hits 21 years in the West End and I'm glad. One can bemoan the many musicals that copied its formula. One can even be surprised at the fact that the creators haven't produced anything nearly as good (dreadful Miss Saigon, okay Martin Guerre) since and don't seem likely to change that with their upcoming musical "Pirate Queen." You can even mock the idea of turning Victor Hugo's epic into a musical in the first place. But I still find the show extremely enjoyable and filled with very good to great songs: "On My Own," "One Day More," "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," "Do You Hear The People Sing?" and on and on. It's great stuff. Amusingly, the show has now run longer than the 20 year span covered in the book. Alternately, "The Phantom of the Opera" celebrates 20 years in the West End and that really is mindless dreck with one decent song ("Music of the Night"). "Phantom is a powerhouse commercially of course. It's been seen by nore than 100 million people, compared to Les Miz's 54 million people. But when they say "Phantom's" box office of $1.7 billion is larger than the box office for "Titanic," they're wrong, for the moment. "Titanic" grossed $1.8 billion worldwide. (And of course more on DVD.) In unrelated news, Andrew Lloyd Webber has just paid off a 35 million pound mortgage.