WORLDWIDE stage hit Les Miserables returns to Southampton for a three week run next month.

And Dean Chisnall, who performs the iconic role of Jean Valjean, is as excited as anyone.

He told the Daily Echo: "This is the dream role for anybody in musical theatre. It’s the pinnacle for any male performer and I just feel very lucky to do it, and to have done it for as long as I have. I’ve now played over 500 performances as Jean Valjean, and it still feels as magical as it did the first time I stepped on the stage. I pinch myself every day.

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"I do remember the first time I saw it. I’ve always been a fan, long before I even dreamt of having a career in theatre. I was in London on my own about the age of 18 and pootled off to get myself a single ticket to see Les Miserables at The Palace Theatre. I sat there and completely fell in love with the show."

Since Cameron Mackintosh first conceived this new production of Les Misérables in 2009 to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary, it has taken the world by storm.

With scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, the magnificent score of Les Misérables includes the songs I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Bring Him Home, One Day More, Master Of The House and many more. Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 52 countries and in 22 languages, Les Misérables is one of the world’s most popular musicals.

After 19 years as a prisoner, Jean Valjean is freed by Javert, the officer in charge of the prison workforce. Valjean promptly breaks parole but later uses money from stolen silver to reinvent himself as a mayor and factory owner. Javert vows to bring Valjean back to prison. Eight years later, Valjean becomes the guardian of a child named Cosette after her mother's death, but Javert's relentless pursuit means that peace will be a long time coming.

Les Miserables is performed at Mayflower Theatre from March 8 to 26.

Tickets from or 023 8071 1811.