It has just been announced Les Misérables, the longest running show currently on Broadway, will close on March 15, 2003 at the Imperial Theatre, three days after celebrating its 16th anniversary.

The second longest running show in Broadway history, Les Miz opened at the Broadway Theatre on March 12, 1987, following its success in London's West End (where the show continues to run, now in its 17th year). Based on Victor Hugo's novel, the epic musical tells the story of Jean Valjean, a convict who breaks his parole and eventually winds up in the middle of a revolution -- finding redemption, governing a town, and raising a daughter along the way. All the while, he is pursued by the implacable Inspector Javert.

"I never dreamed that a musical like Les Misérables could become one of the longest-running shows of all-time, and I am very grateful to American audiences for embracing such a different kind of musical in such an overwhelming way," said producer Cameron Mackintosh. "Though the show has always remained profitable except during those extraordinary recent times that affected the industry as a whole, I want Les Miz's first Broadway reign to conclude with the same kind of excitement and celebration that was enjoyed by my productions of Cats and Miss Saigon, with audiences once again fighting for tickets." To this end, the production is immediately establishing an "Au Revoir and Thank You Price Scale," bringing us back to 1987, when the top ticket price was $47.50. Tickets will now be offered at that price for Monday through Friday performances between October 3 and December 20; $25 rear mezzanine seats will also be available. In addition, from October 5 through November 16, there will be special weekend prices of $60 for seats in the orchestra and front mezz and $35 for the rear mezz.

"Although Broadway will be less 'miserable' for awhile," added Mackintosh in his announcement of Les Miz's closing, "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. Will I be sad when Les Miz ends its run? A little...but, after all, au revoir does not mean goodbye." Les Misérables plays Monday through Saturday evenings at 8pm, with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2pm. Call TeleCharge at 212-239-6200 or visit the website www.telecharge.com for tickets.