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Elaine Paige presents the award to Sir Cameron Mackintosh

Les Mis is the biz - Les Misérables is the nation's most popular musical

Les Misérables has been declared the nation's most popular musical by listeners to BBC Radio 2.


Elaine Paige asked listeners to her Radio 2 show to nominate their favourite musical.


More than 400,000 votes were cast with Les Misérables scooping nearly half (41%) of the total vote.


Six months ago listeners were given a short-list of 50 musicals which included The Sound Of Music, Grease and Cats - none of which made the final top 10.


Elaine Paige ran down the results of the top ten Essential Musicals in her Radio 2 show today (Elaine Paige On Sunday, 1.00-2.30pm).


The results:

1. Les Misérables

2. Phantom Of The Opera

3. Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

4. The King And I

5. Sunset Boulevard

6. Evita

7. Chess

8. The Rocky Horror Show

9. Follies

10. Hair


Elaine presented Les Misérables producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh with an award.


She said: "I'd like to congratulate Cameron - as producer of Les Misérables - and on behalf of all the listeners to Radio 2, to present him with an award for the nation's most popular musical. Twenty years on it's still an essential musical."


Sir Cameron said: "I'm completely knocked out, particularly getting it from Elaine.


"It's amazing, and when I heard that we'd won it, I couldn't quite believe it because several of my other shows, which I also adore, were also in the running.


"And for Les Mis to have won nearly half the votes out of the 400,000 is fantastic.


"I'm so grateful to all the listeners of Radio 2 and the millions of people all over this country that keep coming to see the show, which next year will become the longest running musical ever, and will take over the record from Cats, our other show."


Lewis Carnie, Head of Live Music and Events at Radio 2, says: "The diversity in the final top 10 reflects the broad spectrum of listeners to Elaine's show - their interest in musical theatre ranges from Sondheim to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lloyd Webber to Benny and Bjorn.


"It's no surprise that five of the shows that made it into the top 10 all featured Elaine (Chess, Evita, Hair, The King and I and Sunset Boulevard) as she continues to be the 'first lady' of the West End.


"Radio 2 is the home of musical theatre and the fact that there were 400,000 votes is phenomenal - it shows the passion that listeners have for musical theatre."


Facts about Les Misérables


Les Mis first opened in 1985


It has been seen by over 53 million people worldwide and is one of the world's most popular musicals


It has been staged in 38 countries


It has been staged in 21 different languages


It is currently running at the Queen's Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London


There have been 31 cast recordings


The video of the 10th Anniversary Royal Albert Hall Gala Concert is one of the best-selling musical videos ever in the UK


There are more than 1,000 productions of the Les Misérables Schools Edition scheduled or being performed by more than 100,000 school children in the United States and the UK, making it the most successful musical ever produced in schools


Les Misérables became the first full-scale Western musical to play in China in the English language


The Cameron Mackintosh/Royal Shakespeare Company production of Les Mis by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg is based on the novel by Victor Hugo.


Lyrics are by Herbert Kretzmer and music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, with original text by Alain Boublil and additional material by James Fenton.


It is adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird.


Elaine Paige On Sunday, BBC Radio 2, 1.00-2.30pm



Category: Radio 2
Date: 31.07.2005
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