With theatres getting set to re-open, the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre called upon the Irish public to vote for their favourite musical, and after counting thousands of votes the winner is none other than ‘Les Misérables’.
The touring production of the show was supposed to begin a run in The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in August 2020, but Coronavirus scuppered that, and it is yet to be re-scheduled. Full details of any new dates will be on the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Website.
You can check out the full list of the top 100 musicals on their Instagram page.
The full Top Five:
1. Les Misérables
The smash hit show, telling the story of former prisoner Jean Valjean, has been wowing audiences since 1985, and got the big-screen treatment in 2012.
Les Mis (as it’s affectionately known) set in pre revolutionary France, tells the story of former convict, Jean Valjean, ‘Prisoner 24601’, and Irish tenor, Colm Wilkinson, originated the role, first on the West End in 1985, and later on Broadway in 1987, setting the benchmark for all who followed, including John-Owen Jones, Alfie Boe, and even Hugh Jackman, who played the role in the film version in 2012, in which Wilkinson played The Bishop.
The musical, which is based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel of the same name, began life as a French-language concept album, and the first musical-stage adaptation of Les Misérables was presented in 1980. However, the production closed after three months, due to the expiry of the booking contract.
However, the version we know and love is down to producer, Cameron Mackintosh, who received a copy of the French concept album in 1983, and agreed to produce an English-language version of the show. To date, it has been seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 53 countries and 22 languages, proving that it’s not just Irish audiences it is popular with.
The origins story of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz is based on the Gregory Maguire book of the same name. It made a star of Idina Menzel, and remains one of the world’s most popular shows. Although there has been talk of a film version for years, nothing has come of it yet.
3. Mamma Mia
This musical, based on the music of ABBA, has proved a smash hit worldwide, and spawned not one, but two, films, proving that the Swedish foursome are still as popular as ever. Yes, the plot is ridiculous, as a woman decides to invite three men, who may be her father, to her wedding on a Greek Island, but the songs are insanely catchy. This pretty much set the benchmark for all other jukebox musicals.
4. The Phantom of the Opera
Gaston Leroux’s enduring story of the disfigured Phantom, in love with the young opera singer Christine, has enamoured audiences since it was first adapted into a film starring Lon Chaney in 1925. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version hit the West End in 1986, and had run consistently ever since, until CoVid forced it off stage last year. Producer Cameron Mackintosh recently revealed that a new version of the beloved show will be taking to the West End stage shortly, so hopefully it won’t be too long before Irish audiences can yet again enjoy the touring show.
5. The Lion King
The stage show of the Academy Award-winning Disney film is perfect family-fare, and has proved a massive hit with audiences worldwide. With songs by Tim Rice and Elton John (including the Oscar-winning Circle of Life) and massively colourful set and costumes, teamed with a heartwarming story, this has established itself as an enduring classic.