Published: 06:00, 07 January 2020
| Updated: 12:22, 07 January 2020
It's been wowing audiences for more than 30 years but the man behind the music of iconic musical Les Misérables says he hopes it will still be around in theatres in 50 years' time.
French musical theatre composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, who conceived the idea for the stage musical version of the Victor Hugo's story with Alain Boublil in 1978, was speaking as a new staging of the Cameron Mackintosh production is due to come to Canterbury later this year.
The 75-year-old said: "It won't be my problem in 50 years! But I hope and I wish that in 50 years there will be some form of production of Les Miserables still going.
"After having the 34th anniversary last year, I am very surprised by the mixed audience - we have very young people, middle aged and old people. I am always surprised by it. Why are they listening again and again?"
Set in 19th century Paris, the musical is a story of love, politics and justice, culminating in the 1832 Rebellion and includes songs from I Dreamed a Dream to On My Own and Do You Hear the People Sing?
It was also made into a movie - filmed at the Historic Dockyard Chatham in 2012, starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe - and the production coming to Canterbury will be inspired by this.
Despite the show's massive success - it is the second longest running West End show, and has been seen by more than 120 million people worldwide in 52 countries and 22 languages - he says he does not take personal credit for it.
"I am not proud of me. I am proud of the show," he said. "My principal lady she says 'I am doing this job because of you. I went to see the show when I was 13. When I saw it I decided what I wanted to do.'
The most gratifying part of my life is that I have changed people lives."
Though the original score is intact in the latest production, the orchestration has been adapted.
He said: "We wanted to get rid of all of those sounds of the music from 80s. You can always improve, but I would improve it for my own satisfaction."
The show comes to the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury from Friday, September 25 to Saturday, October 24.
And there's a chance Claude-Michel could well be in the audience. "I might just pop in and watch," he said. "I like to do that. I like to hear the tempo, the piano, that they deliver a show that they will imagine - the rest I am only there to appreciate the performers."
Marlowe chief executive, Deborah Shaw, said the show will be one of the biggest productions ever staged at the theatre.
To book tickets, visit marlowetheatre.com or by calling the box office on 01227 787787.
Read the full interview in the KM Group's What's On later this year.
More by this authorAngela Cole