There are a few musicals which are truly Broadway legends, and are accessible to those who might not spend their days outside the door of Broadway theaters. One of these musicals is the epic Les Miserables, which was originally adapted for Broadway in in 1987, after first premiering in both France and the West End. And while many people can belt out "Do You Hear The People Sing?", they might not be as familiar with the material the show was based off of. But that's all about to change.
The Wrap has just reported that Les Miserables will be coming to the small screen very soon. BBC will be airing a six-part mini series detailing the adventures of Jean Valjean, Fantine, Eponine, and the whole french crew. But rather than being simply a recreating of the musical or its 2012 movie version, the miniseries will be a more faithful adaptation of Victor Hugo's original epic novel. There will be no musical numbers, and characters and their actions will be more faithful and based off of the original source material.
Victor Hugo's Les Miserables is widely known as one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. Sprawling decades, the novel follows a group of characters in Paris from 1815-1832. The primary protagonist named Jean Valjean was wrongfully imprisoned for 19 years after attempting to steal a loaf of bread to feed his sister. After his release, we follow Valjean's struggle to adapt to the changed world, and watch as he eventually rises to power while avoiding a constable who has been tailing him for years. The book, as well as the musical adaptation, contains heavily detailed descriptions a ton of characters, not unlike modern tales like the A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
And while the musical is massively popular across the world, it doesn't really hold true to all of Victor Hugo's novel. The plot is compressed to fit into one evening of theater, and as such, many characters lost traits which truly defined them.
Eponine, the unrequited lover of Marius, changed perhaps the most dramatically. In the novel, Eponine is physically disgusting, which allows Marius' disdain for her to make a bit more sense. But in the musical, Eponine is basically a way cooler version of Cosette, so we don't really understand why Marius fails to see her as more than a friend. The 2012 movie had the stunningly gorgeous and talented Samantha Barks play Eponine, which only added to the confusion. Additionally, everyone's favorite little revolutionary Gavroche is actually Eponine's brother, and another one of the villainous Thenardiers' children. This explains why he's so damn street smart, and perhaps makes his death in the second act even more tragic. His family never loved him, but the revolutionaries did.
I don't know about you, but I'm thrilled that BBC will be airing a brand new version of Les Miserables. While we saw a non-musical film version hit theaters in 1998, this will be the most faithful adaptation of the novel. And at the end of the day, I can't wait.