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Trivia / Les Misérables

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The novel

The musical adaptation

  • The melody of "Bring Him Home" is inspired by a passage in "The Humming Chorus" in Madame Butterfly (appropriately enough, that song is played while Butterfly waits and prays all night for her husband to return home).

  • All-Star Cast:
    • The entire point of the 10th Anniversary Concert, which didn't have a principal cast member who wasn't a Broadway and/or West End luminary and/or have a major role in the show at some point including Colm Wilkinson, Philip Quast, Michael Ball, Lea Salonga, Ruthie Henshall, Michael Maguire, and Judy Kuhn.
    • The 25th Anniversary Concert followed suit; even Nick Jonas, more famous as a pop singer, had at one point played Gavroche on Broadway.
  • Colbert Bump:
    • "I Dreamed a Dream" received major publicity after Susan Boyle's famous performance on Britain's Got Talent.
    • "On My Own" and "I Dreamed a Dream" have both been featured on Glee.
  • Fan Nickname: The Friends of the ABC are called the "Barricade Boys". Retroactively applied to the novel too.
  • Life Imitates Art: French citizens submitted a serious petition to have "Do You Hear The People Sing?", the martial revolutionary song (quoted) that you are most likely to remember from the musical, nominated as a second National Anthem of France, alongside La Marseillaise.
    • "Do You Hear The People Sing?" has also been used in connection with the Occupy Movement and other protest movements.
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  • Referenced by...: Canadian figure skater Roman Sadovsky performed to Les Misérables soundtrack for his long program during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 competitive seasons.
  • Romance on the Set: Actors Jason Forbach and Joseph Spieldenner met while playing Feuilly and Grantaire on the 25th anniversary US tour. Forbach soon took over as Enjolras, and the two played the famously Ho Yay-tastic pair until the tour ended in 2013, and got engaged at the end of that year.
  • Star-Making Role: This show made Michael Ball and Frances Ruffelle household names, and turned Rebecca Caine into a darling of the theatre world. And while it wasn't his only massive role, his turn as Valjean etched Colm Wilkinson into the marble of the zeitgeist for generations.
  • Tough Act to Follow: How do you ensure that this trope never applies to you? By writing a musical so good, so famous, and so beloved that its mere existence allows you to write whatever else you damn well please. This is that musical. (In Schonberg and Boublil's case, "whatever else you damn well please" was Miss Saigon, a critical and popular smash hit still known and beloved by most musical theatre fans. Go figure.)

Other adaptations

  • Adaptation Overdosed: Over 60 movies, a musical, at least 5 different stage plays, about a dozen audiobooks, three comic books (one of them with the Duck family!), some anime, a spectacle son et lumière and two computer games (a point-and-click-adventure of the same name and the extremely weird beat-'em-up Arm Joe).
  • Adaptation Sequence: The '52 movie calls itself a remake of the '35 movie. Then they made a radio play out of the '52 movie.
  • Cast the Expert: According to the DVD booklet, the extras who played the convicts in the 1935 movie were recruited from a nearby prison.
  • Disowned Adaptation: Victor Hugo's heirs went to court against François Ceresa's sequels. They lost.
  • Fanon:
    • Especially with first names of characters that never get one in the novel.
      • One fanfic writer started calling Enjolras "Marcelin" and this has become the most often used first name for him.
      • Another common first name for Enjolras is Julien, while Grantaire is often given a name starting with "R" because of his nickname.
      • Javert is often said to simply not having been given a first name. A popular joke also is that his first name is "Inspector".
      • Another common joke is that everyone is called Jean.
    • Characters misremembering Valjean's name will always think he's called "Jacques Valjacques".
    • The novel mentions that Javert's mother is a fortune teller; in fanon, she (and thus also Javert) is Roma.
      • Actually, it says Javert had une inexprimable haine pour cette race de bohèmes dont il était ("an inexplicable hatred for that race of bohèmes of which he was one"). Bohèmes could be "bohemians", as in tramps/vagabonds, but really bohemiens would be better for that purpose; bohèmes almost certainly means "gypsies."
      • Susan Kay's novel Phantom (which as the title would suggest is a The Phantom of the Opera spin-off giving the character a back story as well as a first-person narrative of events) includes a minor character named Javert, who runs a freak show carnival Erik temporarily joins as a youth.
    • It's difficult to find a Les Amis-centric modern AU fic where Jehan Prouvaire isn't genderqueer.
  • Older Than They Think: A Les Miserables stage adaptation called The Barricade opened in 1878.
  • Spin-Off: There is a book called Cosette written by Laura Kalpakian.
  • Stillborn Franchise: One very early Japanese adaptation had to be abandoned after only two of the planned four parts were made.


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