Acclaimed director Thom Southerland (Ragtime, Titanic, Grey Gardens) is to direct the world premiere of a major new musical about the inventor of Braille, the language for the blind. 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. It will run at Charing Cross Theatre from Monday 10 April to Saturday 24 June 2017, with a press night on 24 April.
The 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 supported by the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
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 – will head the cast as Doctor Pignier.
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.
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.
Sébastien Lancrenon (original idea, French Book & Lyrics) 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. Sébastien left Radio Classique in order to focus on developing “The Braille Legacy” musical and now lives in London.
Jean-Baptiste Saudray (Music) studied piano from the age of five at the Schola Cantorum, where he won a number of awards. Jean-Baptiste has composed for and worked with various international artists, including Ray Charles, Jean-Michel Jarre, The Gypsy Kings and David Guetta.
Ranjit Bolt (English translation) 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 (Music Supervision & Orchestrations ) has a wealth of experience in musical supervision and orchestrations in both the West End and 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”.
Thom Southerland (Director) is Artistic Director at Charing Cross Theatre. His opening season of major musicals included the European première of Maury Yeston’s “Death Takes A Holiday”, the return of his acclaimed multi award-winning “Titanic” and “Ragtime” (nominated for a record 14 Off West End awards). He was longlisted Best Newcomer in the 2011 Evening Standard Awards for “Parade”. He was named Best Director at the 2011 The Offies for “Me And Juliet” at the Finborough. He directed “Allegro”, “Grey Gardens”, “Grand Hotel”, “Titanic”, “Victor/Victoria”, “Mack & Mabel” and “Parade” (Southwark Playhouse); “The Smallest Show on Earth” (Mercury Theatre, Colchester & tour); Jerry Herman’s “The Grand Tour” (Finborough); “The Mikado” (Charing Cross Theatre); “Daisy Pulls It Off”, Irving Berlin’s “Call Me Madam!” (Upstairs At The Gatehouse); the European première of “I Sing!”, “Divorce Me, Darling!”, “Annie Get Your Gun”, “The Pajama Game” and sold-out all-male adaptations of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “HMS Pinafore” and “The Mikado” (Union); “Noël and Gertie” (Cockpit); the European première of “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” (Landor); the European première of “State Fair” (Finborough & transfer to Trafalgar Studios).