Les Misérables: From Stage to Screen
by Benedict Nightingale and Martyn Palmer
foreword by Cameron Mackintosh
“A musical that makes history, not just because it hits the jackpot but because, like West Side Story, it adds to the artistic dimensions of the theatre—a believable, universally relevant tale provoking laughter, tears—and the uplift of truly great theatre.” –Edward Behr, Newsweek, on the stage premier in 1985
MONTCLAIR, NJ—One hundred fifty years after Victor Hugo wrote the novel Les Misérables, the poignant saga of Jean Valjean has become one of the world’s most popular musicals and is one of the must-see films of 2013.
Les Misérables: From Stage to Screen (Applause Books, $45, April 2013) by Benedict Nightingale and Martyn Palmer follows the genesis of the musical from conception, through trials and tribulations, to the thrilling musical extravaganza that has been seen by more than 60 million theatre-goers, and finally to the newest incarnation on screen starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe. To flesh out the story, the book includes twenty removable facsimiles that highlight key moments in the creation of both the stage musical and the film, including original costume sketches, annotated scripts, original music scores and librettos, screenplay extracts, and anniversary mementos.
The book gives the background on Victor Hugo and the France he lived in. We are guided through the story of how Cameron Mackintosh was given the French concept album of Les Mis in 1982 and how he became the musical’s first producer. We see how it was sharpened and clarified for English-speaking audiences in London and New York, and eventually adapted across the globe and for schools. The book even devotes whole chapters to significant characters like Valjean, Javert, Thénardier, Fantine, and others. Bringing the book up to date, it includes Mackintosh’s new orchestration and staging for the 2006 Broadway revival and The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper’s challenge of turning the world’s longest running stage musical into a daringly different cinematic experience.
Les Misérables: From Stage to Screen is the complete 35-year rollercoaster journey of Boublil and Schonberg’s musical masterpiece, a fairy tale in its own right with a happy ending.
Benedict Nightingale is a writer, broadcaster, and the author of several books about theatre. He has served as a leading theatre critic for several publications, including the New Statesman, the New York Times, and the London Times, for which he was chief theatre critic from 1990 to 2010.
Martyn Palmer is a freelance film journalist who writes regularly for the Sunday Times Magazine, the Mail on Sunday, and Empire magazine.
April 2013 Hardcover $45 9781476886831 96 pages 9.5″ x 11.25″
color photos throughout with removable facsimiles U.S. rights only
Applause Theatre and Cinema Books is an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group