Magazine article Newsweek


Magazine article Newsweek


Article excerpt

Byline: Vanessa Juarez,Devin Gordon

'Les Miz' Bows Out

They're ripping down the barricades at "Les Miserables," and even Broadway insiders are shocked. After all, "Les Miz" was the sturdiest of Broadway hits, a show that not only managed to make the French Revolution entertaining but over the years employed the likes of Debbie Gibson and Ricky Martin. Producer Cameron Mackintosh, who announced that the musical is throwing in its red flag for good on March 15, 2003, says "Les Miz" was especially hurt by slower ticket sales after September 11. But the fact is those dour British megamusicals aren't as much fun in the era of feel-good Hollywood-inspired shows like "Hairspray," "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "The Producers." With the death of "Les Miz"--after 16 years, second to "Cats" in Broadway longevity--only "Phantom of the Opera" is still standing. "The British invasion was probably overemphasized when it was happening, and its demise will be as well," says Jed Bernstein, president of the American League of Theatres and Producers. "But nothing goes on forever."

And on Broadway, everything comes back eventually anyway. With a show like "Into the Woods" returning to the stage less than 15 years after it closed, does anyone really expect "Les Miserables" to stay away for long? Before the ink was dry on the closing notice, Mackintosh was already plotting an encore. "I have realized that I can't have a crack at the Tony for best revival until I close the first production," he says. Maybe that's what they mean by the song "One Day More."

--Vanessa Juarez


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