As the longest running musical in London’s West End, Les Miserables has delighted more than 70 million theatregoers.
But plans to “update” the production of Victor Hugo’s classic 19th Century tale and transform it into a touring show has enraged fans and actors from the original stage show which launched in 1985.
More than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling on Cameron Mackintosh, the hit theatre producer, not to change the popular production in any way.
The petition was set up after it emerged that the original production will close in the West End later this year, to be replaced by a new touring version.
It remains unclear how producers will look to change the show, other than it will go on tour.
The campaign began as Frances Ruffelle, who played Eponine in the original Les Miserables production, claimed nothing could ever compare with the original show, directed by John Caird and Sir Trevor Nunn.
In her tweet, the 53-year-old actress who is due to appear in a New York show, said: “Les Miserables was successful not just because of Hugo’s amazing story and gorgeous score… but mainly because of the incredible direction by John Caird and Trevor Nunn. Their staging on the revolve was staggeringly beautiful it took my breath away every time.. nothing else compares.”
The petition insists that London is the “only place” for the show, as well as predicting that any “new” version could not capture the “power or magic” which attracted people from around the world for more than 30 years.
The online petition, which last night had 2,100 signatures, said: “The iconic original London production of Les Miserables is to be retired this year and replaced with the ‘reimagined’ 25th anniversary version.
“London is the only place the original can be seen. In over 100 visits to Les Mis I have met many people time and time again who have flown to London from as far afield as the US, Japan, Korea etc just to see this version.”
It adds that the “reimagined” version
One signatory said: “The ‘new’ version does not have the power or magic that has kept audiences coming back for over 30 years … By all means keep the ‘reimagined’ one for tours but don’t replace the original.”