They looked elated as they flanked Michael Ball during their curtain call as the stage lights were once again switched on for the start of a six-week Christmas run.
The production welcomed a socially-distanced crowd back to the Sondheim Theatre for the first time since March 16 after Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden cleared the runway for arts venues to remain open for rehearsals during the lockdown.
Les Missed you! (L-R) Matt Lucas, Michael Ball and Alfie Boe joined their Les Misérables co-stars on the West End stage for the first time in almost nine months on Saturday
And the stars appeared to glide back into character with ease, with Michael playing Javert, Alfie taking on the role of Jean Valjean and Matt portraying Thénardier.
Actor Christopher Biggins, who was in attendance for opening night, paid tribute to theatre owner and producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh for his efforts in getting Les Mis back to the stage.
He wrote on Twitter: ‘What a night, Les Mis Opened SHAFTESBURY AVENUE again. Hooray. Cameron Mackintosh welcomed all of us back in a very emotional speech and the tears never stopped.
‘What a show, what a cast, what a night. The bestest night ever. Thank you Cameron xxxxxxx.’
Co-stars: As lockdown rules eased, they stood for a curtain call with co-stars (L-R) Amara Okereke, Rob Houchen, Shan Ako, Katy Secombe and Carrie Hope Fletcher
Elated: Michael and Alfie looked elated as they gazed at one another while being applauded
Bowing: Matt Lucas and Katy Secombe playfully bowed for the audience on their stage return
First time in a long time: The production welcomed a socially-distanced crowd back to the Sondheim Theatre for the first time since March 16
Theatres were among a swathe of businesses ordered shut as novel coronavirus infection rates started to rise during in the first wave in March.
However, while bars and dine-in restaurants started to enjoy something of a reprieve in the summer with their reopening, theatre doors remained shut.
Les Mis is not the only show returning for the festive period, with Pantoland at The London Palladium, starring Julian Clary and Nigel Havers, also set to play across December.
As the curtains finally lifted after several months, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber reflected on the ‘devastating effect’ the COVID-19 crisis has had on theatres during an appearance on Saturday’s Strictly Come Dancing.
The world-renowned composer, 72, took part in a special opening for the dance competition show which saw him visit the London Coliseum, before Bill Bailey took to the ballroom as the Phantom Of The Opera.
Clearing the runway: Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden had previously cleared the runway for arts venues to remain open for rehearsals during the lockdown
Happy to be back: Shan Ako and Carrie Hope Fletcher struggled to contain their joy onstage
Ordered shut: Theatres were among a swathe of businesses ordered shut as novel coronavirus infection rates started to rise during in the first wave in March
High praise: Christopher Biggins, who was in attendance for opening night, paid tribute to theatre owner Sir Cameron Mackintosh for his efforts in getting Les Mis back to the stage
He said: ‘COVID has had a devastating effect on theatre and live music, on any form of live entertainment, and our wonderful theatres which are such sources of joy and wonderment have been empty for months now.
‘We’re here at the London Coliseum, it’s home of the English National Opera, a fabulous, fabulous, building, a building that wants to be full of life. None of us can wait until theatre goes live again.’
Watching the celebrities put on a show in rehearsals, Andrew called Jamie Laing ‘a star’ while he claimed Bill was so good they had to ‘get you to the theatre when we get back again.’
He then went on: ‘I think Strictly is the perfect tonic for the country at all times, but I think right now Strictly paying tribute to musical theatre is absolutely what we, who have been working in this business for so long, it’s exactly what we want.
‘For one night only, musicals are back where they belong.’
Plays: Les Mis is not the only show returning for the festive period, with Pantoland at The London Palladium, starring Julian Clary and Nigel Havers, also set to play across December
Elegant costumes: (L-R) Amara Okereke and Katy Secombe each took bows for the audience in their elegant costumes
Christmas run: Les Misérables has opened for a six-week Christmas run following lockdown