Background on Les Misérables
Alain Boublil’s first musical, La Revolution Française in 1973, marked his transition from songwriting to musical theatre and the start of his collaboration with Claude-Michel Schöenberg with the hit album that became the first ever staged French musical. His idea of writing a musical version of Les Misérables brought them together again in 1978.
The acclaimed show was written over a two-year period and recorded as an album before its opening at the Palais de Sports in Paris in September 1980. In 1983 Mr. Boublil met Cameron Mackintosh which led to his first London production Abbacadabra (a musical fairy-tale set to ABBA music) and to working with Claude-Michel and directors and writers on the English language adaptation of Les Misérables.
The show has subsequently opened in 19 countries and 14 languages. Among the many awards Mr. Boublil has received were two Tony Awards in 1987 for Best Score and Best Book for the NY production and a 1988 Grammy for the Best Original Broadway Cast Recording which he co-produced with Claude-Michel Schöenberg. Miss Saigon opened on September 20, 1989 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London and on April 11, 1991 in NY. The show has also played in Tokyo and Toronto with future production scheduled for Sydney, Australia and Stuttgart, Germany. Mr. Boublil will maintain a close association with all the international productions of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon while working with Claude-Michel on the screenplays for motion picture versions of both musicals.
Claude-Michel Schönberg is a successful record producer and songwriter who began his collaboration with Alain Boublil in 1973, writing the very first French musical, La Revolution Française. Mr. Schönberg played the role of Louis XVI in that production and also co-produced the double-gold record album of the show. In 1974, he recorded an album, singing his own compositions and lyrics, which included the number one hit single Le Premier Pas. In 1980, after two years’ work on the score, Mr. Schönberg and Mr. Boublil’s musical Les Misérables opened in Paris, where it was seen by more than 1.5 million people. In 1983, Mr. Schönberg produced an opera album in Paris with Julia Migenes Johnson and the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. Following work on the London production of Les Misérables (the 3rd longest running musical in British theatre history), Mr. Schönberg co-produced the double-platinum London cast album and became involved in casting all the major overseas productions of the show, including the American, Japanese and Australian companies. He won two coveted Tony Awards, for Best Score and Book, for the Broadway production of Les Misérables and a Grammy Award for the Best Original Cast Recording, which he co-produced with Alain Boublil.
He also worked closely on the symphonic recording of the show. His score for Miss Saigon, again written in collaboration with Alain Boublil, repeated the international success story of Les Misérables. Produced by Cameron Mackintosh and again bringing together many members of the creative team behind Les Misérables, Miss Saigon opened with huge success at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London in September 1989, in NY in April 1991, in Tokyo in May 1992 and in Chicago (the first national U.S. tour) in November 1992.
Herbert Kretzmer, born in South Africa, came to London in 1954, and has since pursued twin careers as a newspaperman and songwriter. He was a feature writer at the Daily Sketch and a profile writer at the Sunday Dispatch. He joined the Daily Express in 1960 and later became its drama critic, a post he held for 18 years. Since 1979 he has been writing TV criticism for the Daily Mail and has won, in this capacity, two national press awards. As a lyric writer he wrote weekly songs for BBC-TV’s That Was The Week That Was.
He won an Ivor Novello Award for the Peter Sellers/Sophia Loren comedy song Goodness Gracious Me. Other award-winning lyrics include two written for Charles Aznavour: Yesterday When I Was Young and the chart-topping She. Mr. Kretzmer wrote book and lyrics for the West End’s Our Man Crichton, which starred Kenneth More and Millicent Martin, and lyrics for the Theatre Royal Drury Lane’s The Four Musketeers. He also supplied lyrics for the Anthony Newly film Can Heironymous Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe And Find True Happiness? Tony Award, 1987, Best Score, Les Misérables.
Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world’s leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting schools as well as amateur and professional theatres from around the world the rights to perform the largest selection of great musicals from Broadway and beyond. MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these shows to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 60,000 theatrical organizations in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide.