Les Misérables is Back in São Paulo

Written by Yanca Lara Marques

After sixteen years, the super production Les Misérables returns to Brazil for another season, bringing, once again, to the heart of São Paulo, the spirit of struggle and revolution. "Les Mis", as it is affectionately called by fans, in order to mark the reopening of the Abril theater (former Paramount and current Renault) closed for 32 years after a fire, brought in 2001 an era of musicals in Brazil.

The musical is an adaptation of Victor Hugo's homonymous novel that takes place in XIX France between two battles (Waterloo, in 1815, and the June 1832 Riots), and tells the story of various characters such as Jean Valjean, Javert and Fantine relating the Historical moment of France with their lives that cross over the whole of history.

Today, at age 32, the musical is the oldest of the world, with many awards and several editions. It was initially released as a concept album, with songs and texts by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil. The album was recorded and released in 1980 and, at the same year, they did a theatrical version with the same cast of the album, which stayed for three months in Paris and was a hit for the French public. A few years later, the producer, Cameron Mackintosh, made an adaptation of the French show for the English public. This new production, which is divided into two acts, debuted in London in 1985 and, due to its success in West End, gave life to other presentations, as in Brodway in 1987.

In all, there are 44 countries where the musical has already passed by. It has been played for 30 years in London, being the longest running musical in the country and is the fifth musical to stay on Broadway for the longest time. The productions were so successful that they left the stage and went to the screens as an adaptation of the musical in 2012. The movie won several awards, including three Oscars and had in its cast names such as Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman.

In its first edition in Brazil, the musical was produced by CIE Brasil (current Time for Fun) and ran from April through December of 2001, having the original text translated by the brazilian versionist Claudio Botelho. Some of the children of the first season are coming back today as their adult versions or as other characters. Among these actors, a name that stands out is Laura Lobo, that, with many musicals in her curriculum, debuted in Les Mis at nine years old playing the little Cosette, and is currently living the role of the young Éponine.

The season of 2017, which began on March 10th, was produced by Time for Fun and it’s based on a London ensemble of 2010, made in honor of the 25th anniversary of the musical, with the adaptation of Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Despite many connections with the old Brazilian edition, it comes back with a new air, bringing adaptations that make the show more exciting at each song. An example of these changes was the stage with projections, which unlike other performances around the world, such as London’s - that brings projections to the back of the stage - gives the impression of a quick change of scenery and even more real than productions that have, instead, a rotating stage.

If you like musicals, history or simply loves an excellent production, that makes you shiver in every scene, you're invited to be back to the barricades of XIX France and live this incredible experience. This new season runs until July 30th, and may extend for a few more months. It has sessions with fares from 25 to 310 reais, on Thursdays and Fridays at 9pm, Saturdays at 4pm and 9pm and Sundays at 3pm and 8pm at Renault Theater - Av. Brigadeiro Luís Antônio, 411 - Bela Vista, São Paulo – SP.