As long as there are ignorance and poverty on Earth, books such as this one may not be useless.
Those words have held true. The book was published in 1862— over a 150 years ago—and it was a breakout hit that still hasn’t lost its popularity nor its relevance.
Image Via Manybooks
This might have something to do with the musical. Heck, maybe it has everything to do with the musical, but to test that theory out is PBS, who is coming in at full swing.
PBS’ adaption of Les Miserables isn’t a musical, but instead an in-depth look at the classic story about poverty, desperation, and redemption. Forbes writes that the screenwriter, Andrew Davies, who is known for his adaptions such as Pride and Prejudice (1995 TV series) and War & Peace (2016 TV series), “preserves Hugo’s intricate plotting, striking historical vignettes, powerful themes and evocative characterizations”.
The television series is set to be a six-part adaptation of the famous story. Here, we follow fugitive Jean Valjean, played here by Dominic West (James ‘Jimmy’ McNulty on The Wire) who is relentlessly followed by Inspector Javert, played here by David Oyelowo, who infamously took on the role of Dr. King in Selma.
Image Via Time Magazine
The rest of the cast includes Lilly Collins, who played Collins Tuohy in The Blind Side and more recently led Netflix film To the Bone will be Fantine, a young woman forced into prostitution.
Image Via Variety
Adeel Akhtar, who played Naveed in The Big Stick, will be devious and devious Thénardier.
Image Via Radio Times
Olivia Colman, who plays Queen Elizabeth II on Season 4 of The Crown and just won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in The FavoriteI, will be devious and cruel Madame Thénardier.
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Ellie Bamber, who played Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, will be Cosette, the daughter of Fantine and the adopted daughter of Valjean. Josh O’Connor, plays Prince Charles on Season 4 of The Crown, will be Marius, Cosette’s young lover.
“Lilly [Collins] was saying the other day that, you know, in one song lyric, in one line, she has a whole episode. You know, what happened to her? Where did she come from? Who did she fall in love with, how did he treat her? How did she end up a prostitute on the street? And we get to see all that. And so I think that anyone who loved the musical would really love this.”
A greater understanding of characters I already love? That’s got my ear, so I’ll tune in.
2017’s Playwright of the Year Kate Hamill’s adaptation of the two-centuries-old novel Pride and Prejudice is set to run on the Syracuse Stage from March 20 – April 7, 2019.
Image Via Biography
A little history:
A comedy of manners in Britain’s Regency era, the novel charts the emotional development of Elizabeth Bennet, known as Lizzy, whose family faces a financial crisis. Her mother urges her to marry any man who can provide for her and right on her porch are two men: Mr. Bingley, who’s rich, and Mr. Darcy, who Elizabeth falls head over heels for, in spite of the fact that he isn’t considered socially ‘proper’. Meanwhile, Mr. Darcy is afraid to marry Elizabeth because she belongs to a different social class—despite the fact he’s madly in love with her.
In the end, both Elizabeth and Darcy learn to disregard the social pressure to marry wealthy people and instead marry for love. With over 20 million copies sold, this literary classic has literally been in the public consciousness for centuries.
So there’s a lot riding against the new stage adaptation, but again, Kate Hamill has written it. Oh yeah, she won her 2017 award after receiving praise for her adaptation of the William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1847-1848 serial novel Vanity Fair for stage from bothThe New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Image Via Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
Even more, The Daily Orange writes that “Hamill views her process as a collaboration between the author and herself. She said she ensures her pieces are unique from the original, while still having the key moments those familiar with the novel will recognize.” Not surprising, seeing as this version is set to have musical numbers, including at least one scene with disco music.
Plus this new adaptation will not only be directed by Hamill’s fiancé, Jason O’Connell, but Kate Hamill will have a dual role: Lydia Bennet, the youngest of the Bennet sisters, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Darcy’s aunt.
Image Via The New York Times
Furthermore, this isn’t the first adaption of Pride and Prejudice Kate Hamill has created. In 2017, Kate Hamill and Jason O’Connell starred as the main character at the premiere of Hamill’s adaptation. Don’t think this will be just a remake of that version, though, because O’Connell told in an addressed to The Daily Orangethat, “…the actors I’ve cast now need the freedom to bring their own talents and energies to these characters, and not feel that they need to replicate my and Kate’s earlier performances.”
With that said, this new adaptation might be something to see.