Susan Boyle’s impact

Call it the Susan Boyle effect. It’s been 22 years since Les Miserables took Broadway by storm, but the musical seems to once again be a hot ticket thanks to the frumpy Scottish church volunteer’s jaw-dropping rendition of I Dreamed a Dream on Britain’s Got Talent.

Susan Boyle

TORONTO — Call it the Susan Boyle effect.

It’s been 22 years since Les Miserables took Broadway by storm, but the musical seems to once again be a hot ticket thanks to the frumpy Scottish church volunteer’s jaw-dropping rendition of I Dreamed a Dream on Britain’s Got Talent.

Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre Company says daily ticket sales for its upcoming production of Les Miz have tripled in recent days and the show’s soundtrack, first released in 1985, is a hot item on iTunes.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the album with the original London cast was No. 21 on the Top 100 album downloads on iTunes in Canada, where I Dreamed a Dream was also No. 79 on the list of most downloaded singles.

On Amazon.com, the soundtrack ranked No. 38 in the bestsellers in music category.

“We’re getting strong anecdotal evidence that (Boyle) has actually had an effect on our sales,” Howard Jang, executive director of the Arts Club Theatre Company, said Tuesday from Vancouver.

Arts Club is mounting the revered musical, based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo and set in 19th century France, from May 14 to July 19.

With the Vancouver Canucks doing well in the NHL playoffs and many in the city spending their time glued to the TV, Jang had been bracing for slower sales.

Then came Boyle, a dowdy 47-year-old unemployed choir member who lives alone with her cat Pebbles in Blackburn, one of Scotland’s poorest regions, and devoted much of her adult life to caring for her mother.

Audience members and judges on the U.K. reality show, which aired April 11, cast a skeptical eye when she walked onstage but burst into applause upon hearing her first dulcet note.

Since the video clip of the spunky singer on the show hit YouTube last week, it’s netted millions of hits and a flood of celebrities have admitted her story made them cry.

Jang said box office phone lines have been clogged with calls from patrons who say Boyle’s story has sparked an interest in their “Les Miz” show.

“People started to call up and say, ‘I just watched this’ or ‘I just heard about this’ or ‘I was moved by this and I forgot how much I love that production’ or ’I love that song and I really want to see it,”’ said Jang, who has coined Boyle “a playoffs buster.”

“They actually want to talk about how they feel about this woman and . . . her story,” he added.

Sara-Jeanne Hosie, the actress who will sing I Dreamed a Dream in the role of Fantine in the Vancouver production, has also been fielding calls from friends and colleagues about Boyle’s performance, noted Jang.

Le Capitol de Quebec theatre in Quebec City is set to present Les Miserables for the second year in a row, entirely in French, starting June 17.

A spokeswoman for the theatre says they haven’t felt the Boyle effect yet.

Just Posted

Rachel Notley is coming to Red Deer

Speaking at campaign office

UPDATED: Economy and health care expected to be hot election topics

Premier Rachel Notley makes announcement on Tuesday morning

Calgary woman convicted in son’s strep death seeking full parole

CALGARY — A woman convicted in her son’s death after she failed… Continue reading

Canadian women earn significantly less in pay, bonuses and profit sharing: study

TORONTO — Canadian women are paid 25 per cent less than men… Continue reading

UK’s May asks EU to delay Brexit until June 30

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May formally asked the European Union on… Continue reading

Canadian pair fifth after short program at figure skating worlds

SAITAMA, Japan — Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are fifth after… Continue reading

Director Kim Nguyen tackles financial ‘madness’ in ‘The Hummingbird Project’

TORONTO — As Quebec filmmaker Kim Nguyen tells it, “The Hummingbird Project”… Continue reading

What Disney gets as its $71.3B buy of Fox assets closes

It’s finally complete. Disney closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment… Continue reading

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Want to help bees? Plant flowering herbs

Herbs are among the most useful plants in nature. They can tantalize… Continue reading

UN: Gene editing for human reproduction is ‘irresponsible’

GENEVA — A panel convened by the World Health Organization said it… Continue reading

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Most Read