Hi Theatre-goers

Tomorrow sees the opening of the hugely anticipated Les Miserables in UK cinemas. I’ve booked my tickets – have you got yours?

10/1/12 London Theatre Breaks
1985 Original cast at The Palace theatre

My love affair with ‘Les Mis’ started many, many years ago – well 25 years to be exact even though it actually opened in October 1985.  To be honest at first I didn’t pay much attention to it until I was lucky enough to go to drama school in 1987 where, of course, the world and it’s mother was singing songs from the show. I even gave a rather shaky rendition of Eponine’s heart-breaking “On My Own” at one of our 1st year musical showcases.

It wasn’t long before I bought the double CD so that I could listen endlessly to the magnificent musical score. Excitement for Les Mis was intensified at our drama school when a recently graduated pupil, Simon Bowman, was cast in the part of Marius before going on to originate the role of Chris in Miss Saigon (lots of slaps on the backs of teachers for their “moulding” of successful ex-student).

However, I was not to see the show until the summer of 1989 and I remember it being one of the most thrilling experiences of my theatrical life. I actually cried when the curtain rose and the first lyrics were uttered by the amazing cast. I have a feeling Simon Bowman had left by then to do Miss Saigon, which I saw him in, but I would eventually see him 15 years later in Les Mis playing the role of Jean Valjean.

Since then I have seen the show 2 more times – the last time was with my kids. The youngest one absolutely loved it and still says it’s his favourite London show (with a rather “bloody” Treasure Island production coming in second!). Of course, like every young boy, he wants to be the cheeky “Gavrouche” character.

The same CD purchased 25 years ago is still going strong and played with regularity in our house. We are all really, really excited about seeing the film tomorrow night. And yes, I will cry – I always do. It makes me know that I’m still loving it after all these many years.

Have a great Thursday everyone


About Simon Harding

Simon Harding has grown up in and around London's Theatreland and has been working here ever since he left school: promoting its shows to anyone who will listen!

View all posts by Simon Harding