BETHANY A. SCHWARTZKOPF
The Cast: 15 or more
The Set: Flexible; elaborate or simple
Approximate Length: 2 acts, 120 min
Victor Hugo’s classic masterpiece storms the stage in this new dramatic play script in the presentation of his stirring story. Witness the astounding journey of Jean Valjean as he falls from grace and rises to redemption amidst the amazing events of nineteenth century France.
Based upon the classic 1862 novel by Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885), this story created an instant sensation when first published. Hugo was already beloved for having penned “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and fighting broke out among crowds of people struggling to get their hands on one of the 48,000 original copies of his latest work — which immediately sold out. In the years since, the 1400-page French volume has been translated and reproduced countless times.
Today, “Les Miserables” (“The Down and Outs”) is one of the best known stories in the world and the famous musical based on it is now thought to be the most widely seen theatrical production in history. At least part of the story’s power lies in the richness of the characters — many of whom are polar opposites — and the tension of themes that have haunted humanity since biblical times: despair vs. hope, condemnation vs. redemption, legalism vs grace and works vs. faith. Legend has it that Hugo sent his manuscript to the publisher with a note that merely said, “?” He received a telegram in response that said only, “!” Hugo’s story of self-sacrifice so resonated with his readers that two million people attended his state funeral. As we witness the life journey of Hugo’s heroic Jean Valjean, may we ask ourselves some questions the author poses: “Am I my brother’s keeper? Might I be an instrument of care and grace? And if not — why not?”
(Ages reflect the age of the character in the show, not the age of the actor who plays them)
Jean Valjean – Convict pursued by the law and his conscience. Also known as M. Madeleine and M. Leblanc. (age 40s)
Inspector Javert – Righteous, unerring and unforgiving police inspector (age 40s)
Fantine – World-weary and broken in spirit. Mother of Cosette (late 20s – early 30s)
Cosette – Sweet and beautiful (age16-20)
Marius – Headstrong revolutionary who is in love with Cosette. (early 20’s)
Fauchelevent – Saved by Valjean, he is a kindly gardener who hides Valjean and young Cosette (age 50-60s)
Bishop – Saintly Bishop (age 50-60)
Gavroche – Precocious street urchin (age 8-10)
Young Cosette – Downtrodden and abused daughter of Fantine (age 5-6)
Baptistine – Bishop’s sister (age 50-60)
Sister Simplicity – A nun who works for M. Madeleine
Thenardier – Scheming Inn owner (late 20s – early 40s)
Mme. Thenardier – Wife of Thenardier, ugly and cruel (late 20s – early 30s)
Champmathieu – A thief mistakenly taken for Jean Valjean (age 40s).