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Les Miserables (1987 Original Broadway Cast) [Cast Recording]

Alain Boublil , Claude-Michel Schonberg , Frances Rufelle , Colm Wilkinson Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (353 customer reviews)

Price: $27.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Les Miserables (1987 Original Broadway Cast) + The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast) + Wicked (2003 Original Broadway Cast)
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Product Details

  • Performer: Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Frances Rufelle, Colm Wilkinson
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Decca Broadway
  • ASIN: B000000OQI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (353 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,266 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Overture/Work Song
2. Valjean Arrested/Valjean Forgiven
3. What Have I Done?
4. At the End of the Day
5. I Dreamed a Dream
6. Lovely Ladies
7. Who Am I?
8. Come to Me (Fantine's Death)
9. Confrontation
10. Castle on a Cloud
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. In My Life
2. A Heart Full of Love
3. Plumet Attack
4. One Day More
5. Upon These Stones (Building the Barricade)
6. On My Own
7. Upon These Stones (At the Barricade)
8. Javert at the Barricade/Little People
9. The First Attack
10. A Little Fall of Rain
See all 31 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

After Les Misérables became a huge hit in London, it moved to Broadway, bringing along two stars from the London production, Colm Wilkinson as the heroic Valjean and Frances Ruffelle as the despondent Eponine. Filling out this 1987 cast are Randy Graff (Fantine), Terrence Mann (Javert), David Bryant (Marius), Judy Kuhn (Cosette), Michael Maguire (Enjolras), and Leo Burmester and Jennifer Butt (the Thénardiers). Whether you prefer the London cast or this one just might depend on which one you heard first, though minor revisions to the show since its London debut make the Broadway version more familiar to current audiences. In fact, the 10th anniversary concert might have the best overall cast of the lot, while the three-disc symphonic recording is a must for completists.

Regardless of cast, Les Misérables has become a sensation. Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's score is filled with beautiful ballads ("Bring Him Home," "I Dreamed a Dream") and rousing anthems ("One Day More," "Do You Hear the People Sing?"), and Victor Hugo's classic novel of a student uprising in early-19th-century France provides a compelling story line that continues to thrill audiences all over the world. --David Horiuchi

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
393 of 406 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My thoughts June 27, 2000
Format:Audio CD
The Original London Cast and Original Broadway Cast recordings were the first English recordings of Les Misérables. Each has it's strengths and weaknesses. For instance:
The Conducting) LONDON is best. The conducting is slower in the London version. Some listeners think that this sacrifices dramatic tension, but the slower speed brings out a hundred details that you never hear on other recordings.
Sound Quality) BROADWAY is best. The London recording has very good sound, but Broadway's sound is more sharp and focused.
Jean Valjean) TIE. Colm Wilkinson sings the role of Valjean on both recordings. His voice is a bit unsteady, but his acting is perfect. And he is IMMEASURABLY better on these two recordings than he was at the Tenth Anniversary Concert.
Javert) LONDON. Roger Allam has a strong, clear voice, and uses it well in Javert's solos. Terrance Mann has more trouble with his solos, but manages to pull through in the rest of the Broadway recording. Both of them are decent actors, but neither of them can touch Philip Quast, who will always be THE Javert.
Fantine) LONDON. Patti LuPone is one of the few Fantine's who sings the role instead of wailing it. And she does more than just sing it. If LuPone's "I Dreamed a Dream" doesn't bring you close to tears, you have a stone heart. Randy Graff on the Broadway recording leaves a lot to be desired, but isn't nearly as bad as Ruthie Henshall in the Tenth Anniversary Concert.
Marius) LONDON! Michael Ball was the first and the definitive Marius. His singing and acting are great, and he makes a potentially sentimental character believable and even likeable. Nowhere does David Bryant on the Broadway recording come close to matching him.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for amazon customers! February 12, 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Les Miserables is one of the greatest musicals of all time, so this is a must-have for theater lovers.
The actors in this cast are all good (Colm Wilkinson, Terrence Mann, etc.), though it is understandable that comparisons are inevitable, especially since different actors have played the roles in different recordings. I, too, have preferences. For the role of Marius, I prefer Michael Ball -- to me, he is 'it'. For the role of Cosette, it's Judy Kuhn. And for the controversial role of Eponine, I prefer Lea Salonga. Why? For the simple reason that based on what all the Eponine players have shown, not only is she the best singer (miles apart from Frances and Kaho), she's also the best actress. (Not a surprise. Prior to doing the anniversary concert recording, Lea Had played the role on Broadway and on the West End to rave critical reviews.) Lea's Eponine is more intense, has more depth, and is more felt. She's also more effective in getting the audience to empathize with her. Frances does a great job, of course, and has been recognized for it -- good for her! -- but Lea gives the role more than just character; she gives it PRESENCE. In the past, people took the role of Eponine for granted -- everything was all about Valjean and Javert, sometimes extending to Marius and Cossette. With Lea joining the cast, people have actually started noticing Eponine. Lea Salonga has given the character the recognition it deserves.
Orchestration-wise, I prefer this version over the London recording. The faster beat makes the movements more exciting.
Overall, this is an excellent recording and one that you should definitely get. But don't forget the anniversary concert set (it has the best cast -- the "dream cast" indeed) and the complete symphonic version (which has all the music and songs) --they're the most important Les Miserables recordings.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! January 22, 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
If you can get only one copy, however, the 10th Anniversary Concert version is the one you should get. With the best cast and a very lively recording (plus a special number with Valjeans from different countries singing in their respective languages), the TAC version remains as the most memorable recording of this wonderful musical.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get the 10th anniversary version February 10, 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Very lively performances. Best cast. And yes, interestingly, in response to the debates one role seems to have generated: NO whiny voice playing Eponine (who, as one reviewer has noted, wouldn't have gotten the part had the actor in the 10th anniversary recording been old enough back then to audition for the role).
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good... February 4, 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Except for some actors, like Frances Ruffele with the whiny and annoyingly squeeky voice. As many reviewers have pointed out, it's wisest to get the 10th Anniversary Recording. THAT recording has the best cast.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-have! February 10, 2004
By phil
Format:Audio CD
The second of four major (English) recordings. Certain numbers have been deleted and the tempo is faster. Great performances.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spectacular Musical June 30, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I've been a huge fan of Les Misérables for many years now, and while I do not own every version, I do have both the Original London and Broadway Recordings, and I have heard selections from the Complete Symphonic Recording (CSR) and the Tenth Anniversary Recording (TAR). Before I break it down by character, let me just say that any recording of Les Misérables is worth your money, even the highlight recordings are enjoyable.

Orchestrations - London. The Broadway recording is fuller and clearer, however, it is also a lot more rushed. Now, for certain songs like "One Day More", that works, but at other times it can be a problem. The orchestrations on London seem more refined, they're slower and you have to opportunity to catch more and experience it better.

Jean Valjean - London. Colm Wilkinson is the definitive Valjean, and plays him on all of the recordings with the exception of the Complete Symphonic Recording. On Broadway he is rushed too much, he speaks quickly, and tends to say every word like it is its own sentence; it ruined "What Have I Done?" for me. What makes Wilkinson the best Valjean, while he is good in the TAR, is exemplified in the London recording. He is a wonderful actor, and appropriately conveys every emotion needed for such a complicated character. His voice is full and powerful, and he hits some truly high and difficult notes with such perfection that he makes it seem easy.

Javert - Tenth Anniversary Recording. Philip Quast is by far the best Javert, without any questions. He performs Javert in both the CSR and the TAR tremendously. While the Javert from London, Roger Allam, is quite good, he leaves a lot to be desired, and I have a strong dislike for Terrance Mann's performance on Broadway, it felt weak.
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