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A new musical inspired by the story of Louis Braille comes to Charing Cross Theatre

Jerome Pradon. Photo by Mathias Bord.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ACCLAIMED director Thom Southerland (Ragtime, Titanic, Grey Gardens) will direct the world première of a major new musical, The Braille Legacy, which runs at Charing Cross Theatre from Monday, April 10 to Saturday, June 24, 2017.

The Braille Legacy tells the thrilling, true, inspirational and epic story of Louis Braille, a young blind boy who wanted the same chance in life as those who see and ended up improving the lives of millions of blind people around the world.

This world première production is being announced on Wednesday, January 4, World Braille Day, which is celebrated annually on the birthday of Braille inventor, Louis Braille. It recognises the contributions he made in helping blind and visually impaired people to read and write. The word Braille is famous around the world and is the same in all languages.

The Braille Legacy is the story of a revolution and an heroic fight for independence, with the themes of difference, freedom, hope and love and the triumph of human values over adversity.

In Paris in the 19th century, blind people were victims of profound discrimination. Louis Braille, a bright young mind with a mad dream, arrives at the Royal Institute of Blind Youth, searching for the same chance as everyone else: to be free and independent. But he soon discovers that people and things aren’t always what they first seem. By sheer determination and courage he stumbles upon something revolutionary: a simple idea, a genius invention, a legacy.

Two hundred years ago, Louis Braille changed the world by inventing the tactile system of communication, the Braille alphabet, liberating the “People of the Night” and introducing literacy, knowledge and culture to a people who were otherwise trapped. It was their journey into the light.

Heading the cast will be Olivier Award nominated Jérôme Pradon, whose West End credits include the UK premiere of the musical Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown, Guillaume in Martin Guerre, The Man in Whistle Down the Wind, Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings musical, Chris in Miss Saigon and Javert in Les Misérables in London and Marius in Paris, as well as Judas in the Emmy-winning video of Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Braille Legacy has an original French book and lyrics by Sébastien Lancrenon, music by Jean-Baptiste Saudray, with an English translation by Ranjit Bolt. Music Supervision and Orchestrations are by Simon Lee.

Sébastien Lancrenon is a veteran in the world of classical music. He began his career as a professional solo singer at an early age. Until recently he was Director of Radio Classique (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy Group) in France. He left Radio Classique in order to focus on developing The Braille Legacy musical and now lives in London.

Jean-Baptiste Saudray studied piano from the age of five at the Schola Cantorum, where he won a number of awards. He has composed for and worked with various international artists, including Ray Charles, Jean-Michel Jarre, The Gypsy Kings and David Guetta.

Ranjit Bolt is one of Britain’s leading adaptors and translators. His work includes adaptations of classics such as Le Misanthrope and Tartuffe by Molière and various works by La Fontaine, Corneille, Scribe… and has been produced to great acclaim at the Old Vic, National Theatre and by the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2002, he was awarded an OBE for his services to literature as a translator.

Simon Lee has a wealth of experience in musical supervision and orchestrations in both the West End and on Broadway as well as in film, spending his career working closely with Andrew Lloyd Webber on musicals including Jesus Christ Superstar and the film, The Phantom of the Opera.

Produced by The Braille Legacy Ltd by arrangement with Colbert Entertainment Ltd, with Associate Producer Kayla Hain, The Braille Legacy will have set design by Tim Shortall, costume design by Jonathan Lipman and sound designer by Andrew Johnson.

The Braille Legacy is supported by the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

Tickets: Stalls £32.50; Balcony £22.50; Slips £17.50; Premium seats £39.50 – premium seats are best stalls locations, and include a programme and a glass of sparkling wine. To book, call the box office on 08444 930650 or visit www.charingcrosstheatre.co.uk/. A booking fee applies to phone and internet orders; no booking fee to personal callers.

Times: Monday – Saturday at 7:30pm; Wednesday matinees at 2:30pm; Saturday matinees at 3pm.

Also at Charing Cross Theatre and also directed by Thom Southerland: the European premiere of Death Takes A Holiday, starring Maxwell Caulfield, Zoë Doano and Chris Peluso (January 16 to March 4, 2017).