Les Miserables has become A Tale of Two Cities with two very different productions of Les Miserables running at the same time. One on Broadway in New York City and the other at NJCU New Jersey City University in Jersey City, NJ.
Music Theatre International who licenses the rights to Les Miserables describes the production as having won over 100 international awards and seen by over 65 million people worldwide. So it is not surprising that there are multiple productions playing simultaneously. What is surprising is to have a major Broadway revival opening of the show concurrently with another college production in Jersey City, New Jersey – just a short train ride away.
Also what may appear surprising is that the logos are identical. In obtaining rights from Musical Theatre International producers can also secure a logo kit which allows them to use the copy written logos on posters, fliers and postcards. So New Jersey City University has been sending out postcards, like ones sent for theatre discounts, over the last few weeks.
Generally rights to major productions have a statute of limitation on radius. However, in this case the rights had been granted prior to the decision to bring the show to Broadway and outstanding licenses were allowed to be monitored and produced according to a Music Theatre International representative.
There have been multiple National Tours and hundreds of licenses that had gone out prior to the decision to reopen the show on Broadway. They will run out in 2015 but it is unlikely one will be seeing local productions granted from this point while the show is on Broadway.
The Broadway show opened on March 23rd, 2014 and the New Jersey University show opened on March 21st. The New Jersey City University Production will run only through March 30th . A short period when there might be some patrons buying tickets for New Jersey thinking it was for Broadway.
The Productions both have large casts and in fact the college production boasts 8 more musicians than the Broadway show. The director of the New Jersey University Les Miserables is quoted that ” it is the biggest undertaking in years”. It features students from voice and theatre departments, musicians from the music department as well as faculty and five children related to students and staff. The admission for this production is $12.
The Broadway production is currently at the Imperial Theatre and features Ramin Karimoo who has starred in many Andrew Lloyd Webber productions. It has video projections and a large cast of Equity actors, and is produced by the shows original producer Cameron Macintosh.
So, if you saw the traditional Les Miserable logo and thought only “what a great promotion- a $12 Broadway ticket.” If you take that ticket to the Imperial Theatre. Undoubtedly you will be re-directed to the nearest path train.
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