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Les Mis FAQ 
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The Les Mis FAQ

So what is the musical about?
It’s based on the novel, ‘Les Misérables’ by the French writer, Victor Hugo.
Orestes Fasting wrote:
In brief: Jean Valjean is a redeemed ex-convict being hunted by Inspector Javert, a rather black-and-white type who doesn't believe criminals can be redeemed. Other dramatis personae include Fantine, an unwed mother who loses her job over her illegitimate child and is eventually reduced to prostitution; Cosette, aforementioned illegitimate child, confided into the care of a pair of innkeepers who beat her and use her as a slave; the Thénardiers, the innkeepers, both scoundrels; Marius, a young student who ends up falling in love with Cosette after she grows up; Eponine, the Thénardiers' daughter, who has an unrequited crush on Marius; Gavroche, [a street urchin; Enjolras, a revolutionary leader; and assorted whores, beggars, townsfolk, students, etc.

Setting is in assorted towns of post-revolutionary France after it had fallen back into another faceless regime. Starting with the song "Look Down," the end of Act I and the beginning of Act II take place in Paris after a ten-year time jump.

For a more detailed synopsis, try the one on the official Les Mis website (Act I & Act II), or Wikipedia

Where can I see ‘Les Misérables’ on stage?
At the moment, the original London production of ‘Les Mis’ is playing at the Queens Theatre in the West End. See the official website for more details. A new staging of the musical (which has previously toured the UK) is about to begin a US Tour in November 2010, dates and venues are available on the official site. This new production of 'Les Mis' is also playing in Madrid, Spain, see the official website for that production- Los Miserables. There are also some regional productions in various places around the world and the Schools Edition, which is pretty much everywhere.

So 'Les Mis' isn't playing on Broadway?
No, the Broadway revival closed on January 6th 2008.

Which cast recording should I buy?
There are five major English language recordings of ‘Les Mis’ to choose from (the Original London Cast Recording [OLC], the Original Broadway Cast Recording [OBC], the Complete Symphonic Recording [CSR] and the Tenth Anniversary Concert [TAC]) and the Live 25th Anniversary Recording of the UK Tour. Many of these recordings are discussed in this thread (archive only) There are also many foreign language recordings. A member here, Thom Boyer, is currently providing an overview of many of the recordings in his possession which will be of interest to anyone wanting to find out about various recordings (both English and foreign language) and the various editions that they've been released in.

Has ‘Les Misérables’ been made into a film or the stage production released onto DVD?
No and no. Many film and television adaptations of the original novel have been made, but none of them are the musical version. The original stage production hasn’t been filmed, but two concert version have been. The first concert version was staged at the Royal Albert Hall, London in 1995 for the tenth anniversary of the West End premiere and has since been released onto video and DVD. The second concert took place fifteen years later for the 25th Anniversary and was held at the o2 in London. This was shown live in cinemas in the UK and at later dates around the world. This concert will be released onto region 2 DVD and Blu-ray on 29th November 2010. A region 1 release has not yet been announced.

So how do I pronounce..?
There used to be a brilliant guide on the official 'Les Mis' website which offered both a written pronunciation and an audio one (by the composer Claude-Michel Schönberg) of each name and place contained within the libretto. Unfortunately, this was taken down when LesMis.com was revamped. The written pronounciation guide was saved and is as thus:

Les Misérables- Lay Mis-eh-rahb

The Characters
Jean Valjean- Zshan Val·zshan
Javert- Jah·ver´
Cosette- Ko·zet´
Fantine- Fahn·teen´
Marius- Mar´·ee·us
Pontmercy- Pohn´·mair·see
Enjolras- Ahn·jol·rah
Thénardier- Ten·are´·dee·ay
Éponine- Ehp'·oh·neen
Gavroche- Gav·rosh´
Bamatobois- Bam´·ah·tah·bwah
Fauchelevent- Fosh´luh·vohn
Lamarque- Lamark´

Thénardier's Gang
Brujon- Broo·zshon
Babet- Bah·bay
Claquesous- Klak·soo´
Montparnasse- Mont·parnass´

Students at the ABC Café
Courfeyrac- Ko·fer·ak
Feuilly- Foo´·ee
Combeferre- Kom·fair´
Grantaire- Grahn·tair´
Joly- Zshow·lee´
Lesgles- Lay·glay´

Places
Toulon- Too·lohn´
Montreuil-Sur-Mer- Mon·twee soor Mair
Saint Michel- San Mee·shell´
Notre Dame- No·truh Dahm
Rue de Bac- Roo duh Bahk
St. Antoine- San An·twan
St. Martin- San Mar·tan
Rue Plumet- RooPloo·may´
Rue de Villette- Rooduh Vee·ette´
(If any native French speakers are at all able to record the correct pronounciations into a sound file, it would be of great help to a future version of the FAQ.)

My school is performing ‘Les Misérables: Schools Edition’, what cuts are made?
It’s worth having a read of this thread (archive only) where the cuts are displayed and discussed indepth, but slightly more briefly, this is what is missing from the complete score (some, but not all of these cuts are also in the professional version and have been performed in London and on Broadway, since 1997)
- There are significant cuts in the Prologue (Valjean’s exchanges with the Innkeeper and his wife).
- A section of ‘What Have I Done’ (a.k.a. ‘Valjean’s Soliloquy’) is missing.
- Part of ‘Lovely Ladies’ is cut, including the part where Fantine sells her necklace.
- The exchange between Fantine and Bamatabois after she has attacked him, but before Javert arrives is gone in ‘Fantine’s Arrest’
- Valjean’s end note in ‘Who Am I’ is lowered.
- Part of the Chorus part in ‘The Runaway Cart’ is missing, as are some of Valjean and Javert’s lines just before ‘Who Am I?’.
- The counterpoint section of ‘The Confrontation’ is gone.
- The second verse of ‘Castle on a Cloud’ has been removed, as have Young Cosette’s lines before the entrance of Madam Thénardier.
- The Drinker’s section before Thénardier begins ‘Master of the House’ has been cut.
- The ‘Well Scene’, which was added in 1997 isn’t present.
- The exchange between Valjean and the Thénardiers before ‘The Waltz of Treachery’ is gone, as are Valjean and Young Cosette’s lines after.
- The Prostitues/Pimp part of ‘Look Down’ is gone.
- The first section of ‘Stars’ has been cut, so it begins with ‘Stars, in your multitudes’.
- Sections of ‘The ABC Cafe/Red and Black’ are cut.
- ‘The Attack on Rue Plumet’ has been trimmed.
- The students’ (that aren’t Enjolras or Marius) parts have been cut in ‘Upon These Stones/At the Barricade’)
- ‘Building the Barricade’ is gone.
- A section of ‘Javerts Arrival’ has been removed.
- The lines between Enjolras dealing with Javert after ‘Little People’ and Eponine’s arrival at the barricade are cut.
- Verses are gone from ‘A Little Fall of Rain’.
- The students’ (except Enjolras) lines after the ‘First Attack’ are missing as are some of Javert’s lines as Valjean frees him.
- ‘Dawn of Anguish’ is cut.
- Parts of ‘Dog Eat Dog’ are cut and some is rearranged.
- A section of ‘Turning’ is gone.
- Some lines of ‘Every Day’ are cut.
- ‘Wedding Chorale’ is cut as is some of the exchange between Marius and Thénardier at the wedding.
- The “Prince/Jew/Queer” lines of ‘Beggars at the Feast’ is gone.
- Valjean’s solo is shortened in the Epilogue.

I’m auditioning for... Can you recommend a song for me?
If you want any specific information on a character, what songs they sing and so on, then somebody on this forum should be happy to help you, but if it’s help with a song choice, or a monologue that you need for your audition,there is a forum on Musicals.net which is dedicated to advising and helping with auditions and you’ll probably have far more luck posting there.

Who is better as Eponine? Lea Salonga or Frances Ruffelle?
Several topics have been discussed far too much on the forum and anyone initiating a debate on them is likely to have somebody jumping down their throat. Lea Salonga vs. Frances Ruffelle is one of these topics. Other subjects which should probably be avoided for the sake of peace and sanity are:
- Dream Casts of ‘Les Mis’.
- Anthony Warlow’s Enjolras vs Michael Maguire’s Enjolras.
- Favourite recordings of ‘Les Mis.’
- Casting a ‘Les Mis’ Movie.
- Cosette vs Eponine.
- British accents in the show.
- Favourite songs.

Because of a recent 'pruning' of the board, many of these threads where these topics were discussed have been deleted off the forum database. It's worth being aware however that many of the 'veterans' of the forum have already had many discussions of these matters and may have little to say about them again. A previous thread on the matter (archive only) resulted in both serious and humourous responses.
Its also worth checking the forum to see if what you’re about to post has been discussed already. It’s easy to do this as Musicals.net has a search feature, found at the top of the page. Just type in what you’re looking for and select the ‘Les Miserables’ forum.

Golly gosh! I used to visit this forum and remember a favourite thread that seems to have disappeared. Where is it?
The forum software was updated in September 2010 and the forums were 'pruned' in order to decrease the size of the database. Whilst many old topics were saved, others were removed. However, thanks to the efforts of a member here, Orestes Fasting, the forum has been preserved in an archive form and can be accessed here. Some links in this FAQ now point to this archive and whilst the information within them can be read and enjoyed, no new postings can be made.

OMG!!!1! i am so lyke in lurve wiv dis guy bt he doesnt lurve me i am so lyke totally eponiine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Good spelling and grammar really are appreciated on the board as they make sure that you can be understood. This doesn’t mean that you have to become stressed about having all of your semicolons in the right place, but capital letters, full stops, the ability to spell Enjolras and in fact, as few misspellings as possible make things easier for all.





Hopefully this might relieve some of the repeat topics that have been happening. If anyone wants to add anything, or notices some inaccuracies that need changing, feel free. :D

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Last edited by Moci on Sat Oct 30, 2010 11:22 am, edited 4 times in total.



Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:58 pm
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Wow. It was nice of you to type all of this up. *gives cookie* This should really be a sticky...

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Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:11 pm
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I agree! This would make an excellent sticky!

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Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:12 pm
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Great work. :D Thanks for taking the time to compile this.

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Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:22 pm
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More useful links:
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/lesmis/
http://www.josef-weinberger.com/weinber ... rames.html
http://lesmis.cafemusain.com/faq.html (outdated but fun)

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Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:25 pm
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Thanks, thats pretty helpful. I just bought tickets for the broadway revival for mid December. I've never seen it and don't know much about the show. I know the basic story line and have heard the cast recording a few times, but, other than that, thats it.


Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:33 pm
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Wow, how long did this take you? Thank you so much for doing this, Moci. I'm very impressed and will be referring to this often. :) Awesome job. Thank you to our very own linking-whore, TVAW, for the supplements, too! You know I mean that in the good sense! ;)

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Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:57 pm
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We've tried stickying this before if I recall correctly...

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Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:22 am
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Yes, Moci put up even a better one in the past.

Now, i think this has some very useful stuff, but there is something i categorically disagree with. The issue of frequently discussed topics.

While Moci is right in giving a warning, i think people who start a topic that has been discussed shouldn't be attcked, because it is against the very core, and spirit of this forum.

Just try and put yourself in their shoes. Try and remember when YOU first saw Les Miserables and were desperate to talk about it. Why denying other people something that you enjoyed? This is very unfair.

If there are enough people who want to discuss who was the better Eponine/Enjolras, i say good luck to them. I probably won't join, but let them enjoy the ride.

And so what if some teenage girl thinks she is like Eponine? Giving her the same answer that "You are not living in the street blah blah blah" is becoming just as boring as the statment itself.

If you don't like the topic, leave it alone.

At the end of the day, the purpose of this place is to talk about Les Miserables, and it seems absurd to me to attack people for doing that.

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Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:42 pm
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LesMisForever wrote:
While Moci is right in giving a warning, i think people who start a topic that has been discussed shouldn't be attcked, because it is against the very core, and spirit of this forum.


Well, yeah. But again, Moci's FAQ is not advocating attacking anybody. However, it is WARNING the newbies that this may happen to them. There's a big difference.

I also think there should be some expectation that a newbie at least takes some time to check what's been discussed before starting one themselves, and if they don't it's a free-for-all -- or maybe I should lower my standards.

Quote:
Try and remember when YOU first saw Les Miserables and were desperate to talk about it.


It was 1995 and I didn't have regular internet access. I have no sympathy.

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Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:01 pm
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The Very Angry Woman wrote:
Quote:
Try and remember when YOU first saw Les Miserables and were desperate to talk about it.


It was 1995 and I didn't have regular internet access. I have no sympathy.

Ouch. Bandaid please?

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Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:39 pm
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The Very Angry Woman wrote:
LesMisForever wrote:
While Moci is right in giving a warning, i think people who start a topic that has been discussed shouldn't be attcked, because it is against the very core, and spirit of this forum.


Well, yeah. But again, Moci's FAQ is not advocating attacking anybody. However, it is WARNING the newbies that this may happen to them. There's a big difference.

I also think there should be some expectation that a newbie at least takes some time to check what's been discussed before starting one themselves, and if they don't it's a free-for-all -- or maybe I should lower my standards.

Quote:
Try and remember when YOU first saw Les Miserables and were desperate to talk about it.


It was 1995 and I didn't have regular internet access. I have no sympathy.


Regarding the 1st point, i WASN't criticizing Moci, and i am sorry if it came across that way.
I just thought it is a good opportunity to express my opinion about certain phenomen.
I respect your opinion, and it has some validity, but ultimately i beg to disagree.

Second point: hahahaha (....and you are still angry about it? :P )

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Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:15 pm
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