Broadway's bidding adieu to Les Misérables.

The long-running musical adaptation of Victor Hugo's epic novel--it's packed with 19th century French street people, thieves and revolutionaries--lays down arms March 15.

At its final curtain call, the show will have run for 16 years at New York's Imperial Theater, completing 6,612 performances and going down in the record books as Broadway's second-longest show. (Cats is No. 1.)

"I never dreamed that a musical like Les Misérables could become one of the longest-running shows of all time," producer Cameron Mackintosh said Wednesday in a statement. "I am very grateful to American audiences for embracing such a different kind of musical in such an overwhelming way."

The show was a consistent money-maker, he said, "except during those extraordinary recent times that affected the industry as a whole." (Translation: Except those tricky months after September 11, 2001.)

Hinting at the revivals to come, showman Mackintosh said he wanted Les Miz's "first Broadway reign" to end with audiences clamoring for tickets. To ensure demand, prices will revert to their original 1987 fees, at least for weekday performances through December 20. After that? Get ready for 2002-style sticker shock.

As in Hugo's novel, Les Miz the musical is the grim story of Inspector Javert's relentless pursuit of bread-thief Jean Valjean through the dark streets of 19th century France. Unlike Hugo's novel, Les Miz the musical is chockfull of catchy tunes, including "On My Own" and the perhaps too-catchy "Master of the House."

The show, written by Alain Boublil with music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, premiered at London's Royal Shakespeare Company's Barbican Theatre in October 1985. Its Broadway edition bowed on March 12, 1987.

The Great White Way production--tagged Best Musical, per the 1987 Tony Awards--has gone on to gross more than $390 million. Worldwide, the show has raked in $1.8 billion from more than 50 productions.

The end of Les Miz on Broadway, however, does not mean the end of Les Miz on stage.

"The show will continue to live on around the world in a variety of incarnations, including tours, international stadium concerts, regional productions and, most importantly, performed by hundreds of schools," Mackintosh said. "Au revoir does not mean goodbye."

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