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Tennessee Theatre’s ‘Showbiz Saturday’ offers adults and students in-depth look at Broadway smash ‘Les Misérables’

December 27, 2018

Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon “Les Misérables” is coming to Knoxville Jan 2.-6. For “Les Miz” fans both old and new, the Tennessee Theatre presents “Showbiz Saturday: Behind Les Misérables,” an in-depth look at the beloved play and its success.

Held Saturday, Jan. 5, at the East Tennessee History Center, two free sessions will be offered – one for adults and one for students in grades 7-12. The adult session, from 10-11 a.m., is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The student session, from 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m., is limited to 45 participants who must register in advance at The East Tennessee History Center, located at 601 S. Gay St., is directly across the street from the Tennessee Theatre.

Both sessions will be led by Dr. Kristin Stultz Pressley, a teaching artist and musical theatre historian also known as “Dr. Broadway.”

The company of LES MISÉRABLES performs “One Day More.” (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

“Based on one of the best-selling novels of all time, ‘Les Misérables’ is the world’s most popular and longest-running musical,” Tennessee Theatre Executive Director Becky Hancock said. “We’re thrilled to offer adoring fans and new audience members in Knoxville another experience with ‘Les Miz’ – a deep-dive look behind the production of this remarkable play from Victor Hugo’s 1862 epic novel to the stage, soundtrack and staying power of today.”

The epic and uplifting story of “Les Misérables” has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history. Along with the Oscar-winning movie version, it has now been seen by more than 130 million people in 44 countries and in 22 languages around the globe. “Les Misérables” is still the world’s most popular musical, breaking box office records everywhere in its 33rd year. Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s “Les Misérables” features glorious new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of author Victor Hugo.

“I Dreamed A Dream” -Mary Kate Moore as ‘Fantine’ in the new national tour of LES MISÉRABLES. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

About the story of “Les Misérables,” Hugo wrote: “I don’t know if it will be read by everyone, but it is meant for everyone.” Rich, poor, old or young, Hugo had something to say to every type of audience, but he was known to have a soft spot for students and the impact of minds at work. In the student session, Pressley will discuss the process through which “Les Misérables” transitioned from page to stage.

In the adult session, she will explore what makes the show a success, hailed by The New York Times as “thrilling, spectacular, and unforgettable.”

“Like Hugo’s novel, these sessions are meant for everyone, and they promise to be engaging and enlightening for even the greatest ‘Les Misérables’ fans,” Hancock said.

The new production of” Les Misérables” was conceived in 2009 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary, with record-breaking productions in the U.K., Australia, Korea, Japan, Spain, France, Manila, Singapore, São Paulo and Dubai. The North American Tour traveled across the U.S. for two years then played a five-month engagement in Toronto before returning to the Imperial Theatre on Broadway in March 2014 for over 1,000 performances. The new production is currently playing to sold out houses across North America, Mexico City and on tour in the U.K.

For more information about the Showbiz Saturday event and to register for the student session, visit  To learn more about the Tennessee Theatre and the Broadway series, as well as purchase tickets to  and other plays, visit

(From L) Joshua Grosso as ‘Marius,’ Paige Smallwood as ‘Éponine’ and Jillian Butler as ‘Cosette’ in the new national tour of LES MISÉRABLES. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

About the Tennessee Theatre
Located in the heart of downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee Theatre opened in 1928 as a movie palace. The Tennessee Theatre is the Official State Theatre of Tennessee and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Tennessee Theatre is the region’s leading performing arts facility with advanced technology, staging and lighting that draws top entertainment to the Knoxville area. The Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation is a nonprofit organization tasked with maintaining and preserving the historic theatre and ensuring diverse arts and cultural entertainment remains in downtown Knoxville. For more information, visit