Tuner to bow out in March

NEW YORK — Cameron Mackintosh has announced that “Les Miserables,” the second longest-running show in Broadway history, will put in its 6,612th and last performance on March 15, three days after its 16th anniversary on Broadway.

The producer opened Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s musical version of the Victor Hugo classic on March 12, 1987.

Brit legit era ending

The shuttering symbolizes the gradual ending of an era. Until recently, the so-called British invasion of original musicals produced by Cameron Mackintosh dominated Broadway.

But nothing is forever. Not even “Cats,” which closed in September 2000 after a record-setting 7,485 perfs. “Miss Saigon” called it quits the following January, with 4,097 perfs. “Les Miserables” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” which continues its run, round out the big quartet of Brit tuners that, only 10 years ago, produced nearly 40% of all Broadway receipts in any given week.

Quasi-operatic and serious in tone, the Big Mack shows have been recently upstaged B.O.-wise by the Disney musicals and new comic fare, such as “The Producers” and “Hairspray,” that feature sendup books and pastiche scores.

Last week, “Les Miserables” brought in receipts of $292,800 against its gross potential of $753,761 at the Imperial Theater.

Original tix price back

Always the consummate showman-salesman, Mackintosh is sending “Les Miz” out in 1987 style by reinstating the show’s original top ticket price of $47.50 for weekday performances this fall.

In a written statement, he explained, “I want ‘Les Miz’s’ first Broadway reign to conclude with … audiences once again fighting for tickets. I have also realized that I can’t have a crack at the Tony for best revival until I close the first production!”

For weekend perfs, the producer raises the $85 top ticket price to $100 for prime orchestra seats.

“Les Miserables” had its world premiere at the Royal Shakespeare Co.’s Barbican Theater in London on Oct. 8, 1985.

The original Broadway production, which cost $4.5 million to mount, has been seen by 9 million people and grossed over $390 million. The show won eight Tony Awards, including best musical of the 1986-87 season.

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