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The stars of the 25th anniversary production of LES MISÉRABLES promote their new album at Dress Circle

John Owen-Jones, Earl Carpenter, Madalena Alberto, Gareth Gates and composer Claude-Michel Schönberg have signed copies of the 25th Anniversary 2010 Cast Recording on Friday 17th September at the popular musical theatre shop.

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On Friday 17 September at noon, dozens of LES MISÉRABLES fans lined up in front of the popular London´s show business and musical theatre shop Dress Circle, waiting for the stars of the acclaimed new 25th anniversary production of LES MISÉRABLES to sign copies of the new album of the show. Following a successful UK tour, this new production opened last tuesday at the Barbican Theatre (where the show originally premiered in 1985).

Located in the heart of London, Dress Circle is the only shop in the world specialized in musical theatre. Murray Allan, Dress Circle´s managing director, has explained to us that the shop supplies the widest possible selection of Musical Theatre related products from around the world, not just from Broadway and the West End: "We have 17 different versions of LES MISÉRABLES, among them the vienesse cast recording and two japanese cast recordings. We import from different countries in the world everything that have to do with theatre, not just Cds and Dvds, but books and merchandise as well".

Dress Circle organizes often in-store events and cd signings, like this one with the new LES MISÉRABLES album. Murray thinks that this is "the only way we can compete with Amazon. We often can’t compete by price but we can compete by offering signatures and meetings with casts".

Murray has assured us that in recent years there has been an increased interest towards musical theatre: "mainly because of the TV realities and because there are more pop stars who participate in musical theatre -like Gareth Gates-, that is happening more and more, which is good".

This Friday, the performers who have come to Dress Circle to sign copies of the new cd have been John Owen-Jones (Jean Valjean), Earl Carpenter (Javert), Madalena Alberto (Fantine) and Gareth Gates (Marius), accompanied by the composer of LES MISÉRABLES Claude-Michel Schönberg.

´LES MISERABLES Live! The 2010 Cast Album´ was released September 13. The album was recorded live in Manchester last January, at a performance from the tour that began in Cardiff on December 2009. This new production directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell was created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of LES MISÉRABLES. With the arrival of the production at Barbican, it´s the first time anywhere in the world that two productions of the same musical are playing in the same city.

After signing cds and taking photos with the fans for a full hour, John Owen-Jones, Earl Carpenter and Claude-Michel Schönberg have spend a few minutes with us to explain their experience in this new production.

John Owen-Jones has emphazised that the new album "it’s more exciting. As simple as that. There are brand new orchestrations but Claude-Michel fantastic tunes are still there, and it has also very exciting performances…". "And it’s live!", adds Schönberg. “Yes, so listening to it it’s like being in the theatre", concludes Owen-Jones.

The cast of LES MISÉRABLES began performances at the Barbican Theatre last Tuesday, September 13. The opening night of the show will be on September 23, and it will run for 22 performances only, until October 2. Earl Carpenter has remarked that "being at the Barbican has been scary more than anything. We´re going back to where all started. It’s also a tough theatre arts to sing in, cause it’s a playhouse, but it’s very exciting".

John Owen-Jones agrees with Carpenter about the meaning of performing LES MISÉRABLES at the Barbican: "You can feel the history there. I mean, I’m changing at the room that Colm Wilkinson changed… In fact, Claude-Michel and I were rehearsing the other day in the room where Claude-Michel wrote "Bring Him Home", so it is really exciting!".

LES MISÉRABLES composer Claude-Michel Schönberg is also thrilled about the fact that two productions of his work are playing in London at the same time: "I think it’s the first time this is happening in the history of musical theatre. You can see printed in the newspaper`Queen’s Theatre LES MISÉRABLES´ and `Barbican Theatre LES MISÉRABLES´! It never happened before".

Schönberg will visit Madrid next wednesday -"miércoles", as he himself has told us in Spanish- to present the Spanish cast that will perform the new production of LES MISERABLES at Lope de Vega Theatre from November 18.

After its run at the Barbican, the 25th anniversary tour production of LES MISÉRABLES will conclude after nearly a year touring the UK, having also visited Paris. A tour that, according to John Owen-Jones, "has been incredible, audiences have loved it everywhere we’ve gone. We also went to France and didn’t know how the reaction would be like, taking the show back to Paris, but they just went crazy. It has been amazing!". "It’s also nice to bring it home now", adds Earl Carpenter.

The fact that there are two very different productions of the same musical has led to inevitable comparisons, but John Owen-Jones thinks that "they are two very different animals. I mean, you can do two different productions of the same Shakespeare play and it’s the same thing, the quality of the piece itself shines through, so no matter how you do it. I think we´ve got a great show, but the original at the Queen´s is also a great show. In fact, the London cast came to see the show yesterday and they loved it".

The cast from the new production, the cast from the West End production, as well as several performers who have been part of the London cast of the show over the years will be at the monumental concert at the O2 Arena on October 3. This event will culminate the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of LES MISÉRABLES, a show that continues making history.

Gareth Gates, Madalena Alberto, Claude-Michel Schönberg, John Owen-Jones and Earl Carpenter at Dress Circle

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