Musical theater legend Cameron Mackintosh on his powerful Les Miserables show heading to Hull

It’s been a long time coming but the disappointment surrounding the pandemic-induced postponements will fade into the background when the curtain finally rises on Les Miserables in Hull.

At least that’s the hope of the man responsible for this powerful musical that has played around the world and is about to make its debut in the city, three years after tickets went on sale. Cameron Mackintosh, the world’s most prolific producer of musicals, said: “It’s been a frustrating time for theater and especially for audiences – this show has been moved over and over again, I think that’s his third movement – and I would like to say how grateful I am to the people of Hull.

“They’ve been so patient and I’m sure the patience will be rewarded, it’s going to be a great show.” Fresh from the Sydney opening of Mary Poppins (Hamilton, Miss Saigon, Oliver! and The Phantom of the Opera are also among his many standout shows), Cameron said he’s been hard at work for six months and was looking to take a lot of it- need some time off.

Read more: Les Miserables at the Hull New Theater – dates, tickets, cast and everything you need to know

Whether he’s resting on his dairy farm in Somerset or “can take a vacation”, Cameron aimed to take the rest of this month off, leaving the staging of Les Mis à Hull to his very busy touring crew. competent and creative. “I can’t be there for all the tours, I have such a brilliant team everywhere, but if they need me, I’ll be there with my feather duster and my tuning fork.

“When a major new show opens, however, I’m completely into it. I’m there to tweak everything, no department is spared.

Cameron Mackintosh, the world’s most prolific musical producer

Hull will be treated to the latest version of the ‘new’ staging of Les Mis, which emerged after the 25th year of the world’s longest-running musical, when it performs at the Hull New Theater on Wednesday June 15 to Saturday July 9 “The new staging isn’t that new, it’s been going on for over 12 years, but what you get in Hull is the latest version of this staging and whenever it’s there will be this little adjustment, we will always find something else.” that we can improve.

After producing the original Les Mis in 1985, nearly 40 years ago, Cameron decided the best gift he could give the show for its silver anniversary was a “reimagining,” something he thought that the various actors who had come in the meantime could also benefit. of. “One of the most remarkable things about Mis is that it’s so current. These are things that matter today.

“It’s interesting to see how life has mirrored art,” he said. “Les Mis’s music is used in revolutions in all parts of the world. Les Mis is one of the things that Ukraine has requested that they have there as soon as the fighting is over. and it becomes possible , it will be the perfect show for this country.It reflects the incredible ability of the human spirit to survive anything.

Although he won’t be moving on anytime soon, Cameron, 75, is no stranger to Hull. “I did a lot of my shows there; my last was probably Barnum.

“When I started in the business in the dark ages of the late 60s and early 70s, all my touring shows came to Hull, some were good and some not so good. I remember that there was Hotel Stakis at the time, it was really the only place to stay in. It had quite plush rooms with a few cheap rococo pom poms and lots of cheap tinsel. You were there because they served great steaks and good wine.

Cameron said he was delighted to cast former Hull actor Jeff Leyton in the lead role of Jean Valjean many years ago. “He was wonderful, I really liked him, he was a superb performer; I would always include him in my list of Valjeans.

“He had a really good heart, that’s why he was such a good Valjean, it made his performance true. If he was going through a tough time, you would always want to help him through it.

Jeff was playing the part the first time the musical was taken on tour in Manchester in 1992 and there was an electrical problem on opening night which affected the “tour”, affecting the operation of the barricade, an integral part of the whole, and meant the show could not continue beyond the first act. “I came on stage to say how sorry we were that the electricity went wild and that we couldn’t do the second act and would sing some catchy songs instead.

LES MISÉRABLES CIRCUIT.  An extra day.  Photo Matthew Murphy
The cast of Les Mis give a rousing rendition of One Day More

“Les Dawsons, who was a big fan, was in the dress circle and he yelled, ‘I’ll give you my version, it’s a lot shorter.'” He spent five or ten hysterical minutes addressing the audience with Les Dawson’s version of the Mis and turned the most emotional show into the funniest. It was done with such affection and after that the only thing we could do was start the party early.

Like a parent who shouldn’t favor one child over another, Cameron says he can’t choose a favorite song from the incredible Les Miserables score. “Of all the shows I’ve done, I think Les Mis will last the longest simply because it’s a good musical.

“Victor Hugo’s novel is probably the greatest material ever made into a musical – the story of Les Misérables is incredibly powerful and inspired Boublil and Schonberg to write this wonderful score. What we didn’t know when we opened the show years ago, it was either going to become one of the most popular sheet music of all time or the subject would take the world by storm like it did.

“It makes sense, though, because it has so many strands that appeal to so many people in so many languages. The score is full of standards.

“One Day More brings together so many stories and all the characters in an exciting way – Claude-Michel Schönberg was inspired by a wonderful quartet from West Side Story, I think Les Mis even exceeds his inspiration – and puts the audience on their feet Cameron believes he will never tire of Les Mis – “I only get tired if it’s done badly” – and says the show to be seen in Hull remains as fresh as it was when its first opening in London and on Broadway.

“Things have changed a lot over the years. The Mis notoriously received very poor early reviews from the majority of the UK press, but that has changed. That said, most of the great opera houses have been trashed – even Carmen, everyone said that was rubbish back then. It’s interesting how something that lasts is considered rubbish the first time around.

“Shows with music that you can listen to over and over have great staying power.” Cameron, who in 2013 worked with Working Title Films and Universal to produce the film adaptation of Les Miserables, the most successful film version of an original musical ever, hopes to personally experience the same staying power.

“I’m 75 now and still healthy. My wonderful mom is 103 and my aunt on my dad’s side is going to be 100 soon, so I have good genes.

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