After three years touring LES MISÉRABLES around Australia, Manila, Singapore and Dubai, Michael Cassel tells us why he believes it’s one of the greatest musicals ever made and how it’s managed to return more than 5500% to its original investors.
Q. When did you first see LES MISÉRABLES? And how many times have you now seen it?
A. I saw LES MISÉRABLES on my first trip to London. The story, the score, the staging – it blew me away. Having toured it around Australia, Manila, Singapore and Dubai over the last two years I’ve probably now seen it over 100 times. I never get sick of it.
Q. As a producer what do you love about LES MISÉRABLES?
A. It’s the story. It’s as relevant today as it was when Victor Hugo wrote the original novel over 150 years ago. The themes of love, loss, power and redemption combined with very powerful songs and characters create an emotional connection that is transformational. It has been an immense privilege to bring it to a new audience in Australia and Asia over the last two years. I think everyone should see it at least once (and maybe even 100 times) in their life.
Q. LES MISÉRABLES has been around for 30 years. For the investors that were involved from the beginning, what kind of return would they have logged so far?
A. Interestingly, Nick Allott, Managing Director of Cameron Mackintosh Limited, was recently quoted as saying that LES MIS in London represented a 5500% return on the investors’ original investment. That’s a phenomenal result!
Q. What do you love about Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s reworking of LES MISÉRABLES?
A. Cameron’s new production of LES MISÉRABLES tells the story in a whole new and important way. It’s for a new generation of theatregoers, with modernised staging, new orchestrations and reimagined scenery inspired by the original paintings of Victor Hugo, which allows the designers to bring the show to a vivid and more colourful life.
Q. When and how did Sir Cameron Mackintosh approach you to launch the recent run of LES MISÉRABLES in Australia and Asia?
A. The call from Cameron came in 2012 after I had just returned to Australia following a ten year tenure overseas with the Disney Theatrical Group. I quickly hopped on a plane to meet with Cameron and the rest, as they say, is history. That call was a major turning point – it allowed me to realise a long-held ambition of setting up my own business as an independent producer of musicals.
6. How long did it take you to say yes?
Less than a second! To work with the world’s most successful producer, and on a show like LES MISÉRABLES, one of the great musicals of all time, was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
7. How do you see LES MISÉRABLES continuing to evolve over the next twenty years?
Cameron is reimagining productions such as LES MISÉRABLES, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and MISS SAIGON for a new generation and I think that’s essential. As Cameron says, they shouldn’t become museum pieces.