20-Day Countdown! The Top 20 Tony Performances of My Lifetime: #1: LES MISÉRABLES, 1987

One day until the Tony Awards! We are at #1 on my 20-day Countdown of the Top 20 Tony Performances of My Lifetime.

Oh my goshies, ONE DAY MORE!  So what could be a better selection than my number one Tony performance musical: Les Misérables?  If you don't know what this musical is, then you're living under a rock and have been living there since the eighties.  (Although, no, it's NOT about the French Revolution.  Sigh.  If I hear that again, I'll smack you.)

The show, based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo, is about the years before and leading up to the 1832 June Rebellion and the subsequent July Monarchy in France (No!  It's NOT the French Revolution!  If you don't count the end of the French Revolution as being Robespierre's death in 1794, then you definitely HAVE to count it as the rise of Napoleon in 1804.  Les Mis starts another decade after that.)  The story focuses mainly on the ex-convict Jean Valjean and his struggle for redemption; a love story that blossoms between his ward and a young student; and the students of the barricade in their quest for revolution.  It was turned into this masterful musical theater experience by composer Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyricist Alain Boublil and went on to become the second-longest-running musical in the world and the third-longest-running in Broadway history.

The show first began as a French-language concept album, with a show in a French sports arena running for a limited engagement.  Broadway giant Cameron Mackintosh was asked to flesh out an English version of the musical, and that version opened in London's West End in October 1985.  The critical reception for the show was negative, with diehard Hugo fans complaining that the creators destroyed classic literature with a mere musical.  But the public had a different opinion: the show was a hit.  The Broadway production opened in March 1987, and ran until May 2003, closing after 6,680 performances (If you count the 2006 revival cast production, the show has run a total of 7,176 performances on Broadway.). It is the third-longest-running Broadway show in history and was the second-longest at the time that it closed (after Cats and now after Phantom of the Opera).  The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won eight, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.  And really, with a cast consisting of Colm Wilkinson (lovesies!), Terrence Mann (lovesies!), and Judy Kuhn, how could it not win best EVERYTHING EVER?

Well, there isn't much else that I can say about this show.  The rest is Broadway history.  It might just be the most perfect show ever written.  And with the Tonys tomorrow -- hey, it's just ONE DAY MORE!

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