Frances-Ruffelle

Despite a rule that any actor absent 30 minutes before curtain-up would be replaced by an understudy, she regularly arrived with only five minutes to spare. “The others would lie, say I was in the toilet. I never warmed up … I’d just cough and go on, and slap on my make-up and dirt as the show went on.”

Sometimes, after Éponine’s death, she would go shopping, returning for the curtain call. “Once between the matinee and the evening performance, I had my belly button pierced,” she said.

7

TODAY IN THEATRE HISTORY: In 1987, Jean Valjean begins his years of hiding from Javert as Les Misérables opens on Broadway. Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg based their book on the novel by Victor Hugo. Music is provided by Schonberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. Trevor Nunn stages. Colm Wilkinson and Terrence Mann star as the arch enemies. It will run for 6,680 performances, and for a time become the second longest running show in Broadway history.

For more on the original Broadway production of Les Misérables, including additional Playbill covers and a look inside the opening night Playbill, visit PlaybillVault.com.

6

Before I started on the West End, I actually did a duet ironically of “On My Own” with Frances Ruffelle who is the original Éponine. That was the first crazy experience of me going “What? That’s who I grew up listening to! Frances Ruffelle!” And then I did the Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Concert with Lea Salonga. She played Fantine in it, but she’s another very famous Éponine. She played her at the 10th Anniversary. So it’s kind of like a family of Éponines and what’s been lovely is that I’ve just been met with constant support. I remember when I got the role in the film and it was announced and Lea was announcing all over the internet how proud she was. I think having that support from the classic famous Éponines just makes you so proud to be a part of this character, this iconic theatrical role. Having that support is just incredible. It takes off the pressure. You’re flying the flag for Éponine the heart-broken heroine, you know?”
Samantha Barks

6

“Before I started on the West End, I actually did a duet ironically of “On My Own” with Frances Ruffelle who is the original Éponine. That was the first crazy experience of me going “What? That’s who I grew up listening to! Frances Ruffelle!” And then I did the Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Concert with Lea Salonga. She played Fantine in it, but she’s another very famous Éponine. She played her at the 10th Anniversary. So it’s kind of like a family of Éponines and what’s been lovely is that I’ve just been met with constant support. I remember when I got the role in the film and it was announced and Lea was announcing all over the internet how proud she was. I think having that support from the classic famous Éponines just makes you so proud to be a part of this character, this iconic theatrical role. Having that support is just incredible. It takes off the pressure. You’re flying the flag for Éponine the heart-broken heroine, you know?” Samantha Barks