SYNOPSIS: Les Misérables tells the epic story of Jean Valjean, an escaped prisoner being pursued by the implacable Inspector Javert in France in the thirty years leading up to the French Revolution. Valjean becomes the protector of Cosette, the orphaned daughter of Fantine. As the student rebellions swirl around them, Cosette falls in love with student leader Marius, Javert pursues Valjean, and Valjean finds himself drawn to the barricades as violence erupts all around them.
LANGUAGE: There is a small amount of profane and bawdy language, principally in the two musical numbers “Lovely Ladies” and “Master of the House.”
SMOKING AND DRINKING: One song is titled “Drink With Me,” so there will certainly be drinking.
SEX: Fantine is forced into prostitution to get money to care for her child Cosette, whom she has left in the care of the Thénardiers. “Lovely Ladies” is sung by prostitutes to their customers; the lyrics and staging are sexually suggestive. “Master of the House” contains bawdy sexual innuendo as well, but is a comic number.
VIOLENCE: During the student rebellion on the barricades, most of those fighting are killed. Javert, spared by Valjean, commits suicide by throwing himself in the river.
FOR WHICH AUDIENCES?: Les Misérables is a towering musical based on a major novel of world literature. The dark elements of the musical—the sexual content and violence—are redeemed by the story’s overarching vision of grace and redemption. Les Misérables is suitable for most general audiences, including children aged 10 and older. Extremely conservative audience members may be put off by the sexual innuendo of “Lovely Ladies” and “Master of the House,” and children under ten should only attend at a parent’s discretion.
RATING: If it were a movie, Les Misérables would be rated “PG-13.”
This production is sponsored by:
Richard K. and Shirley S. Hemingway Foundation
The Ray, Quinney and Nebeker Foundation
The S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation