Les Misérables, the hottest ticket in Broadway, an unlikely hit about the French revolution which opened to immense critical and popular acclaim. Colm Wilkinson was the only actor to transfer from the Westend to New York playing the iconic Jean Valjean.
Colm Wilkinson started his life in music playing in several Irish bands and touring the cabaret scene across the country. Enjoying the theatrical side of singing he was drawn to musical theater and was cast as Judas Iscariot in the Dublin production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar; a role he went on to reprise in London and on the British national tour.
In 1978, he represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest with "Born to Sing", but felt he had reached a certain plateau as a performer in Ireland and looked across the pond to London's Westend.
He played the role of the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera at the Sydmonton workshop and was offered the role for the show's debut on the West End, but instead chose to play Jean Valjean in Les Misérables.
The London production of Les Misérables opened in October 1985, and transferred to Broadway in March 1987. He won the Helen Hayes Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and the Theatre World Award for his performance; he was nominated for the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
Produced by Brendan Balfe. ( First broadcast on the 29 October 1987)