The story

The musical by
Alain Boublil
Alain Boublil
Claude-Michel Schönberg
Claude Michel Schönberg

Based on a novel by Victor Hugo
LesMisérables Logo TM ©1986 CMOL

Prologue: 1815, Toulon

Jean Valjean, released on parole after 19 years on the chain gang, finds that the yellow ticket-of-leave he must, by law, display condemns him to be an outcast. Only the saintly Bishop of Digne treats him kindly and Valjean, embittered by years of hardship, repays him by stealing some silver.
Valjean is cought and brought back by the police and is astonished when the Bishop lies to the police to save him, also giving him two precious candlesticks.
Valjean decides to start his life anew.

1st Act: 1823, Montreuil-sur-mer

Eight years later Valjean, having broken his parole and changed his name to Monsieur Madeleine, has risen to become both a factory owner and Mayor of Montreuil-sur-mer. Javert, meanwhile promoted inspector, is working in Montreuil-sur-mer, too not able to identify Monsieur Madeleine as the parole-breaker Jean Valjean.
One of Valjean`s worker, Fantine, has a secret illegitimate child. When the other women discover this, they demand her dismissal. The foreman, whose advances she has rejected, throws her out.
Unable to pay for medicines for her daughter, Fantine sells her locket, her hair, and then joins the whores in selling herself. Utterly degraded by her new trade, she gets into a fight with a prospective customer and is about to be taken to prison by Javert when Monsieur Madeleine arrives and demands she be taken to hospital instead.

The mayor then rescues a man pinned down by a runnaway cart. Javert is reminded of the abnormal strength of convict 2-4-6-0-1 Jean Valjean, a man who broke his parole whom he has been tracking for years but who, he says, has just been recaptured. Valjean is unable to see an innocent man go to prison in his place. So he confesses to the court and Javert that he is prisoner 2-4-6-0-1.
Valjean escapes and goes to the hospital to swear to the dying Fantine that he will find and look after her daughter Cosette. Javert enters and tries to capture Jean Valjean who knocks out Javert and escapes again ...

1823, Montfermeil

Cosette has been lodged for five years with the Thénardiers who run an inn and ask her to work very hard while indulging their own daughter, Eponine. Valean arrives and pays F1500 to Thénardier to take Cosette away and takes her to Paris. But Javert is still hunting him ... Top

1833, Paris

Nine years have passed and there is great unrest because General Lamarque, the popular leader and only man left in the government who showed any feeling for the poor, died. The boy Gavroche is in his element mixing with the whores and beggars of the French capital. A street-gang led by the Thénardiers sets upon Jean Valjean and Cosette. Meanwhile Cosette and the student Marius see each other and both fall in love. Javert rescues Valjean and Cosette not recognising Valjean until he has made good his escape. Thénardiers daughter `Ponine is secretly in love with the student Marius who only thinks of Cosette ... .
In a small café some idealistic students meet to prepare for a revolution they are sure will erupt on Lamarques death and stream out into the streets to whip up popular support.
Although Valjean sees that Cosette is changing very quickly he refuses to tell her anything of his past. Marius finds Cosette with the help of the Eponine who prevents an attempt by her father`s gang to rob Valjean`s house. Valjean, convinced it was Javert who was lurking outside his house, tells Cosette that they have to prepare to flee the country. On the eve of revolution Enjolras, leader of the revolutionaries, Marius, Cosette, Valjean, Eponine and Javert see the situation from their different viewpoints.

2nd Act: One day later, the same place

The barricade is built. Marius notices Eponine who is dressed as a boy at the barricade. He sends her with a letter to Cosette. Javert, giving wrong informations to the students, is exposed by Gavroche as a police spy. In trying to return to the barricade `Ponine is shot and dies in Marius` embrace.
Now Valjean joins the students in search of Marius. He is given the chance to kill Javert (!) but instead of taking his revenge he lets him go.
In the following night Valjean prays to God to save Marius from the onslaught which is to come. The following day the rebels including their leader Enjolras are killed.
The unconscious Marius is carried into the sewers by Valjean. There Valjean meets Thénardier, who is robbing the corpses of the rebels, he emerges into the the light only to meet Javert ones more. He pleads for time to deliver the young man to hospital.
Javert decides to let him go. But his unbanding principles of justice having been shattered by Valjean`s own mercy. So he kills himselfs by throwing himself into the swollen River Seine.

Unaware of the identity of his rescuer, Marius recovers in Cosette`s care. Valjean confesses the truth of his past to Marius and insists after the young couple are married, he must go away rather than taint the sanctity and safety of their union. At their wedding the Thénardiers try to blackmail Marius. Monsieur Thénardier maintains that Cosette`s father is a murderer and as proof produces a ring which he stole from the corpes in the sewers the night the barricades fell.
Marius recognises his own ring and realises it was Valjean who rescued him that night.

The end of the 2nd act

Epilogue: 1833, Paris

Marius and Cosette go to Valjean where Cosette learns for the first time of her own history before the old man dies, joining the spirits of Fantine, Eponine and all those who died fighting for their rights. Top

written by
Roman Reichelt

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