30 years since Les Misérables revolutionised Czech musical scene

This year marks exactly three decades since the first premiere of the famous musical Les Misérables (in Czech Bídníci) took place at Prague’s Vinohrady Theatre. The success of the show would lead to musicals becoming a mainstay on the Czech culture scene.

Les Misérables was the first superlative musical to take place in the country and was realised in large part thanks to the initiative of producer Adam Novák, who was living in Canada at the time. He contacted London-based producer Cameron Mackintosh and persuaded him that a new exciting market was opening up in Central Europe. Major figures on the Czech pop music scene were secured for the show and special props were brought in from Sweden.

The musical was a great success. It would change the Czech musical scene, bringing in similar shows such as Jesus Christ Superstar, or Dracula, to the country in the subsequent years. Today musicals are performed in theatres all across the country and many local musical stars have acquired celebrity status among the general population, regularly appearing in the tabloids.