It follows lead character Jean Valjean as he tries to make a life for himself while on the run from the law. He spent the last 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his nephew. While on parole he decides to start a new life and becomes a wealthy factory owner under an assumed name.
While under his employ, one of the factory girls, Fantine, is unjustly fired. She lives a life on the street, turning to prostitution to pay for her child who lives with an innkeeper and his wife. Valjean finds her, sends her to a hospital and promises to care for her child after her death.
He lives peacefully with young Cosette for years until Javert, a member of the law who has been hunting Valjean since his release, finds him. Valjean then struggles to either take Cosette on the run, or help connect her with her true love Marius.
In the midst of Valjean's life, the show also deals with the 1832 Rebellion in Paris and the oppression of the poor, as a group of idealistic students band together in revolution.
The all-music production contains a number of emotional, heart-wrenching songs including Do You Hear the People Sing?, I Dreamed a Dream, Castle on a Cloud, Bring Him Home and Stars. There is also comic relief provided by the pair of innkeepers.
Les Miserables debuted in London in 1985 and on Broadway in 1987. It was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won eight, including Best Musical.