Musical 2019: Les Miserables

By Madison Chiarito, Staff Writer

This year’s musical is Les Misérables.

Did you know that before it was an award winning Broadway musical, it was a novel written by Victor Hugo? The novel was written in 1862 and became a musical in 1985 in London, England. Even though the reviews from critics didn’t go over well, the audiences loved it. Les Misérables became a Broadway musical on March 17th, 1987 and ended on May 18th, 2003. The musical opened up again a few years later. The Broadway musical was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won 8 of them. One of the awards that was won was Best Musical. The musical became a movie in 1998 and then again in 2012. In the 2012 version, it starred such famous actors and actresses as Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, and Amanda Seyfried.

Les Misérables takes place in 19th century France years after the French Revolution. The story is about a man named Jean Valjean, who is a convict that was released from prison after 19 years. He then looks for shelter and finds it with a bishop. This makes Jean change his ways and become a mayor and factory owner in a new place. But soon the Chief of Police is after him after Jean’s criminal past is brought up. He’s forced to flee his life, but before he can, he has to keep up a promise he made to a lady named Fantine. Fantine was a mother of a daughter named Cosette, and Jean promised to help find and take care of her daughter. Cosette was given away to a family who treated her poorly, but was given to them because Fantine couldn’t raise her properly. Many years later, Jean is taking care of Cosette, and the Chief of Police has found him again in Paris, where it’s separated by revolutionaries and political views. All their different stories start to overlap with each other leading to the people of Les Misérables questioning their beliefs and lifestyle.

In the musical, Les Misérables, there are many songs that tell the story of the characters' lives and how they all interact with each other and the events that take place. In total, there are twenty songs. Some of the most famous and popular songs from the musical are “On My Own,” “I Dreamed a Dream,” “One Day More,” and (my personal favorite), “Do You Hear the People Sing?” There are many more songs that you could listen to on Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube Music, etc. And if you want to watch the movie before hand, you can purchase it on iTunes or Amazon Video, buy the movie, or even borrow it from our local library. For those certain people who love reading the book before seeing the movie or play, you can go to any library or Barnes and Noble near you!

To have NHS's musical come together, the actors and crew go through a long process to make it to opening night. The process starts with auditions in late fall/early winter, with callbacks to follow. Soon after, the cast is made, and production is in place. According to multiple sources, costume fittings, and practices begin as soon as possible. Rehearsals begin with the actors and actresses learning their lines and starting to memorize the music. During the week, the cast rehearses different acts and parts of the musical. The orchestra prepares separately for the show during these months, while the sets and lights for the show are being created. There are many parts to the play that wouldn’t be able to be accomplished without the help and hard work of the drama department and community.

Come see our amazing actors, dancers, band, and orchestra in March. Les Misérables is an amazing musical that’s ready to be seen and brought to life by Newington High’s talented Drama Department. This Tony-award winning musical's opening night will be on Thursday, March 14th, at 7:00pm. It will be available to see again on Friday, March 15th at 7:00 pm and Saturday, March 16th, at 2:00 pm for the matinee, and at 7:00 pm for closing night. You can purchase tickets at their website ( or visit Charles A. Bowes Auditorium Box Office.