Les Miserables [Original Broadway Cast]

( 34 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Sarah Erlewine
Originally conceived as a simple recording production, Les Miserables evolved quickly into one of the premiere theater events of the 1980s. Theatrically on par with Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis is drawn from the Victor Hugo novel of the same name. The story chronicles the life of Jean Valjean, a simple Frenchman arrested as a youth for stealing a loaf of bread. After serving five years for that crime, as well as an additional 14 for attempted escape, Valjean is released on parole. Upon changing his name and eluding his parole officer, he becomes the surrogate father of a young girl and a Mayor as the French Revolution sets in. As the war rages, he finds that he cannot ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Sarah Erlewine
Originally conceived as a simple recording production, Les Miserables evolved quickly into one of the premiere theater events of the 1980s. Theatrically on par with Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis is drawn from the Victor Hugo novel of the same name. The story chronicles the life of Jean Valjean, a simple Frenchman arrested as a youth for stealing a loaf of bread. After serving five years for that crime, as well as an additional 14 for attempted escape, Valjean is released on parole. Upon changing his name and eluding his parole officer, he becomes the surrogate father of a young girl and a Mayor as the French Revolution sets in. As the war rages, he finds that he cannot change the man he is. Les Miserables is typical of theater in the '80s, with extravagant effects and large, full-cast numbers. The beautiful score is full of emotion and humor, including such memorable and noteworthy songs as "Look Down," "Do You Hear the People Sing?," "Bring Him Home," "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," and the ubiquitous "On My Own." The original Broadway cast recording contains some very fine performances, particularly by Colm Wilkinson as Valjean and Frances Ruffelle as Eponine, the waif. The vocals on this recording are heavy on character, making it an interesting and entertaining listen.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/1990
  • Label: Decca U.S.
  • UPC: 720642415122
  • Catalog Number: 24151
  • Sales rank: 7,164

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Original Broadway Cast Primary Artist, Indexed Contributor
Laurie Lewis Violin, Leader
Bishop Track Performer
Chain Gang Track Performer
Valjean Track Performer
Amanuel Vardi Viola
Jonathan Abramowitz Cello
Ross Allen Keyboards
Julien Barber Viola
Peter Boita Drums
Ariana Bronne Violin
Frederick Buldrini Violin
Katherine Cash Violin
Brent Forbes Bass
David Gale Trumpet
Jacqueline Giat Flute, Piccolo
Joanna Glushak Vocals
Allan Goldberg Cello
Peter Halling Cello
Michael Hinton Drums
Peter Hyde Trumpet
Jean Ingraham Violin
Howard Joines Percussion
Paul Kegg Cello
Brian Koonin Guitar
Jesse Levine Viola
Batia Lieberman Cello
Kevin Marcum Vocals
Tony McVey Percussion
Louann Montesi Violin
Harriet Orenstein English Horn, Oboe
Gene Orloff Violin
Suzanne Ornstein Violin
Jerry Peel French Horn
Marion Pinhiero Violin
Clay Ruede Cello
John Rojack Bass Trombone
Myra Segal Violin
Jeff Silverman Keyboards
Marti Sweet Violin
Mitsue Takayama Violin
Brooks Tillotson French Horn
Mitchell Weiss Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Mineko Yajima Violin
Harry Zaratzian Viola
Robert Zottola Trumpet
Jesse Corti Vocals
Judy Kuhn Vocals
Chris Lacey Flute, Piccolo
Emanuel Vardi Viola
Michael Ball Vocals
Frances Ruffelle Vocals
Joseph Kolinski Vocals
Eugene Orloff Violin
Anthony Crivello Vocals
Lindsey Horner Bass Guitar
Randy Graff Vocals
Dave Willetts Vocals
Colm Wilkinson Vocals
Keith Burns Vocals
Clive Carter Vocals
Caroline Marwood Oboe, Cor anglais
Andy Read Keyboards
Victor Slaymark Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Peter Washtell Synthesizer, Piano
Martin Koch Conductor
Ian Laws Guitar
Patrick A'Hearn Vocals
Ken Caswell Vocals
Ann Crumb Vocals
Zoe Hart Vocals
Duncan Hollowood Horn
Gary Huddlestone Vocals
Sally Mates Vocals
Craig Pinder Vocals
Caroline Quentin Vocals
Robert Billig Conductor
Siân Reeves Vocals
Roderick Tearle Trumpet
Brian Newman Horn
Richard Bureau Violin
David Hissey Trombone
Roger Allam Vocals
Alun Armstrong Vocals
Jackie Marks Vocals
Jill Martin Vocals
Aline Mowat Vocals
Cindy Benson Vocals
John B. Norman Vocals
Marius Track Performer
Ian Tucker Vocals
Marcie Shaw Vocals
Robin Williams Violin
Marcus Lovett Vocals
Norman Large Vocals
Susan Goodman Vocals
Michael Maguire Vocals
David Bryant Vocals
David Burt Vocals
Paul Leonard Vocals
Susan Jane Tanner Vocals
Ian Calvin Vocals
Donna Vivino Vocals
Peter Wright Trumpet
Technical Credits
John Cameron Programming, Orchestration
Sheridan Morley Liner Notes
Alain Boublil Librettist, Producer
Dave Hunt Engineer
Claude-Michel Schönberg Songwriter, Producer
Andy Read Director
Martin Koch Director
David Hunt Engineer
Herbert Kretzmer Lyricist
James Fenton Additional Music
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

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2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Spectacular Musical

    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. What Quast did that was truly impressive, at least to me, was that he took a character I never really liked, and made me love him. I was blown away by his rendition of "Stars" in the TAR, truly amazing. He fills the characters shoes perfectly, he sounds tough and intimidating, a truly complex and interesting character performed beautifully. *FANTINE* - This is a matter of taste. I prefer Patti LuPone's Fantine on the London recording, though all of the other Fantines are excellent as well. No matter which recording you end up with, you'll get a good Fantine. *THENARDIER* - London. Alun Armstrong plays Thenardier on both the London and Tenth Anniversary Recording, and he is spectacular. Yes, he does have a cockney accent, which is somewhat confusing since all of the characters are French, but he is still amazing. He performs Thenardier exactly as he should be, crooked, rude, conniving, and just a little bit skeevy. His renditions of "Master of the House" are just fun to listen to you can see why that song is such a crowd pleaser. *ENJOLRAS* - Broadway. Even though I don't think Michael Maguire is the perfect Enjolras as so many make him out to be, he is quite good. He performs on the TAR as well, though he was vocally less than perfect there. His Enjolras is tough and determined and convincing, though Craig Pinder on the London recording is very good as well, and I've never heard the CSR Enjolras. *COSETTE* - Tenth Anniversary Recording. Now don't get me wrong, I adore Rebecca Caine's Cosette on the London recording, but Judy Kuhn is just a better performer. Vocally I would say the two are equally impressive, but Kuhn really makes Cosette seem so much more real. She's equally as good on both the Broadway and the TAR, but I would give it to the TAR, simply because Cosette sings many of her songs with Marius, and the Marius on the Broadway version is awful. A final note, on the London recording In My Life and A Heart Full of Love are not only lyrically different (and In My Life is much shorter) but they are all one track, entitled "Love Montage" which includes a song not present on any other recording I have seen called &q

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    It Was A Great Nay Incredible Audio Experience

    I purchased this CD for a friend who was a great Broadway Musical Fan. Yet he had never heard Les Miserables. So I bought this for him and sadly he slowly died from cancer. Yet this CD brought him a measure of peace in his final days. It was a great nay incredible audio experience or my wife and I wouldn't each have our own copies of it in our cars!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    And the winner is....

    All of the commercially available recordings of Les Miserables have something great to offer, and which recording is best for you really depends on who your favorite characters are. For Valjean there are only two choices, Gary Morris on the CSR and Colm Wilkinson of all the others (OLC, OBC, and TAC). The more I listen to Colm Wilkinson, the more I appreciate Gary Morris simply because he's different. Morris is certainly not everyone's favorite, but he really does shine as the complete charater. His &quot Valjean's Soliloquy&quot is amazing, &quot Bring Him Home&quot is more subtley sung by Wilkinson, particularly on the TAC and the weight and power of Wilkinson's mature voice is a joy to hear on the TAC. I gotta say, though, I do like Gary Morris (Except for his &quot Who Am I?,&quot not his best...). There are other Valjeans out there, try to find Randall Keith singing &quot Bring Him Home,&quot you'll never hear a more tender and heart-felt rendion. Ruthie Henshall on the TAC is my absolute favorite Fantine. Her vulnerability and frailty is palpable. She sings &quot I Dreamed a Dream&quot with such sadness and desperation, you can't help but be moved. Ruthie's the best, but Patti Lupone on the OLC is also amazing. You really can't go wrong with either one. Randy Graff (OBC) is perhaps a little too strong for Fantine, and Debbie Byrne (CSR) seems to grate on many people's nerves, though I don't find her voice offensive. For Javert there is only one real choice: Philip Quast on the TAC. He also sings on the CSR, but his rich, powerful baritone is in full bloom on the TAC. Terrence Mann was very new to singing on the OBC, and while his voice has improved admirable over time, he just is not imposing enough for Javert. Roger Allam is just awful on the OLC. My favorite Cosette is Rebecca Caine on the OLC. Her wonderfully youthful tone is refreshing and innocent--perfect for the character. Judy Khun appears on the OBC and the TAC. Earlier is better for her. When the OBC recording was made, she had not yet tackled roles which required her to belt and on the TAC, we can hear the beginnings of strain in her vibrato and upper register. Tracy Shane (CSR) is also youthful sounding, but comes off sounding canned. Lea Salonga is the most finely sung Eponine on record. There is nothing lacking in her performance. Perhaps some would want a rougher-sounding Eponine, but not me! Francis Ruffelle sings on both the OBC and the OLC. London is the one to own, it's actually hard to believe this is the same person. On the OLC Ruffelle is vulnerable and engaging with just the right amount of edge to her voice. On the OBC she is harsh and seems to resort to shouting many of her lines, singing &quot On My Own&quot completely in her nose. The only recording on which Michael Ball does not appear as Marius is the OBC where David Bryant asumes the role. While Bryant isn't horrible, the youthful Ball on the OLC and CSR is the way to go. On the TAC he goes too far and while clearly enjoying himself and the atmosphere of the live recording, he also clearly enjoys the sond of his own voice more. Enjolras is a toss-up between Michael Maguire on the OBC (for the love of all that is holy not on the TAC!!!)and Anthony Warlow on the CSR. My vote is for Warlow. His voice is powerful, his technique secure and his tone capable of being both warm and heroic. David Burt is not worth hearing on the OLC. You can't go wrong with the Thenardiers on the TAC (Alun Armstrong and Jenny Galloway also appear on the OLC). The energy the give and receive to and from the audience is amazing. The CSR has the best orchestra, the TAC has the best emsemble and the OBC has the best orchestrations, though it's cool to hear the originals on the OLC. So that's it! Something for everyone on every single recording! Hope this helps make your decisions!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Les Misérables ne c'est pas Misérable du tout!

    I'm a sucker for big numbers and a rotating stage, so it is no surprise that I love this show! This original broadway cast recording is great and really captures the essence of the show. As someone who read the novel by Victor Hugo first, I was a little disappointed at some of the cuts and some of the artistic alterations, but I can understand the reasoning behind those choices and it still makes for a great story. Colm Wilkinson (Jean Valjean) has a ridiculously awesome voice and Frances Ruffelle (Eponine) is my favorite character to root for (even though you know what's going to happen). I really love the energy of the track "Plummet Attack" and the multi-layered company tracks like "At the End of the Day" and "One Day More." I was disappointed with the songs "In My Life" and "A Heart Full of Love" towards the end of the first act, thinking that they were a little cliché and boring, but I know that has little to do with Judy Kuhn's (Cosette) vocal performance and more to do with the compositions. Although the novel that this show is based on is one of my favorites ever and I'm probably biased, I think this album still stands up nearly 20 years later. Check it out!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    "Bring Him Home"

    For those fans of Jean Valjean's number "Bring Him Home", this is the CD. While the singer, Colm Wilkinson, also preforms on the London Cast as well as the Reunion, this recording is his best. Here his timing is perfect, his understanding is complete he nears vocal perfection. In the others he seems to rush, or move to slowly, his voice seems too weak or too heavy. But this, if you are willing to select on the basis of merely one song, as epic as it may be, this is the one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Wonderful Les Mis CD!

    This is a WONDERFUL CD, with the entire Broadway release of Les Mis. Out of all the Les Mis CDS, I believe that this one is truly the best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Samantha, I love the movie

    i like to listen to this album because it's great to sing along to. I like the song called "Look down."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Best Musical of All Time!

    OMG! I love this CD! I saw my high school's production of it freshman year and I cried because the story was so beautiful and about a year ago I bought the CD after listening to the clips and I annoyed everybody around me becuase I couldn't wait for it to be delivered. When I finally did get, it was all I ever listened to! A year later, I'm seventeen and am still listening to it. The music is phenomenal and the singers are even better. There isn't a more perfect man to play Jean Valjean than Colm Wilkinson. His voice really gets to you! I loved the music so much that I even decided to read the actual book! I just finished it a couple of days ago and now I can see how a great story turned into a great musical! I'm just sad that I never did get to see the musical because it closed down in the summer of 2003. I've seen many musicals and have heard many soundtracks, and I think that Les Miserables is by far the best musical ever!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Most Amazing Musical of All Time!!!

    Have just seen "Les Miserables" performed by local high school students and having it being so unbelievably amazing, I simply had to pick this up. It is breath-taking! Pick this up if you enjoy "mega-musicals".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    BEST CD EVER!!!!

    I've been a Les Mis addict for several years now and this CD was just what I needed. Nothing like going around and singing Les Mis all day long. If I don't have all the songs memorized yet I should. I guess my favorite song has to be One Day More. But all of this CD is so wonderful. It makes me want to see the Broadways show very badly. BUY THIS CD! You'll love it! But hey, isn't this cool? I'm also fifteen, and, like the person before me, I had to satisfy myself with the little clips for weeks before I could buy this cd. But it was worth every penny!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Amazing-so sad, so beautiful!

    This is, of course, a must see. I agree with the other 15 year old who wrote a review (I'm also 15)-you just can't stop listening-it's really impossible. I saw it like a year ago, and I didn't review it, but now I am. My mom mistakenly bought the Decca Highlights one, so I don't have the complete CD. I go to bn.com all the time, and comfort myself with listening to the clips-someday I'll accumulate all Broadway Cd's and LISTEN!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Les Mis Comparison

    As there are many Les Miserables albums out there, I've done a comparison of some ascepts of the three soundtracks that I own: the Original Broadway Cast (OBC), the Complete Symphonic Recordings (CSR), and the 10th Anniversary Concert (TAC). JEAN VALJEAN: Colm Wilkinson is by far a better Valjean than Garry Morris (CSR). Still, Morris is very good, it's just that anyone pales in comparison to Wilkinson as Valjean. Though Wilkinson is basically the same on OBC and TAC, I would say that he has a bit more emotion on TAC. JAVERT: TAC outstrips the other two soundtracks by far. Philip Quast shows much more emotion in TAC than CSR. His TAC version of "Javert's Suicide" is absolutely stunning. Terrence Mann in OBC is a decent Javert, also. FANTINE: In my opinion, Ruthie Henshall from TAC is the best Fantine. Her voice is very emotional but never strained (like Randy Graff in OBC.) However, Debbie Byrne in CSR is a HORRID Fantine. She has a pretty voice, but it is soft and weak and never changes. LITTLE COSETTE: All three Little Cosettes are very good. Marissa Dunlop in CSR has the cutest voice, whereas Hannah Chick in TAC sounds the most pathetic, whichever one you prefer. MME. THENARDIER: CSR and TAC tie in this one. Jenny Galloway of TAC is hilarious, whereas Gay Soper in CSR has a very good mean voice. Mme. Thenardir does not make much of an appearance in the OBC version. THENARDIER: My favorite Thenardier is the OBC one. His voice is humorous but not overdone. Alun Armtrong from TAC is fairly good, too. However,Barry James in CSR overdid his voice to the point that you can hardly understand him. GAVROCHE: Adam Searles in TAC is THE best Gavroche. His voice is so bubbly and he plays Gavroche with such enthusiasm. Ross McCall in CSR is pretty good, too, though a bit heavy on the Cockney. I detest the way Braden Denner mangles "Little People" in OBC. ENJORLAS: All three soundtracks have excellent Enjorlas. Michael Maguire in OBC wins by a only a bit. MARIUS: This is a tie between TAC and CSR. Michael Ball does an amazing job in both. David Bryant makes an OK-Marius, but he is emotionally and vocally weaker than Michael Ball. EPONINE: This one is difficult, all three actresses have a different interpretation to Eponine. Lea Salonga in TAC is an angry and strong Eponine (downside: her voice is almost too pretty and she'd be a better Cosette), Kaho Shimada in CSR plays her like she is a sad and frightened little girl (downside: she is a bit too soft sometimes), while Frances Ruffelle in OBC has heartbreak written all over in her scratchy tone (downside: sometimes her voice is a bit painful on high notes). COSETTE: Judy Kuhn is absolutely AMAZING in OBC. She does well in TAC, too, but her high C in "A Heart Full of Love" sounds a bit off. Tracy Shayne of CSR has a girlier-sounding voice than Judy Kuhn, but I find it annoying and shrill. OVERALL: My favorite Les Mis Soundtrack is the TAC because it does not contain a weak spot in the cast. CSR is good because they include a lot of material that you don't get to hear on other soundtracks. The OBC displays some of the TAC cast at their best. BOTTOM LINE: You can't go wrong getting either CD.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    favorite musical

    i absolutly love with this album. it is sooo awesome, unlike anything i've heard before. i first heard it when i was 12 and fell in love with the story and songs from day one. i am now 15 and still continue to listen to it. most of my friends think that i'm weird or dorky or whatever for listening to it but i just can't help it. i love everything about it. i'm even reading the book, which is whoa huge. i would recommend this to anyone up for a different sound other than what's playing on the radio today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    GHS's Production equal to broadway's

    Goshen High School (Indiana) has made a great effort and achieved it at making Les Mis a success!! Les Mis is a wonderful work of liturature as well as a great performance!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Les Miserables Review

    It is a wonderful soundtrack, especially the catchy beat of the overture! I am not an audiophile, but this CD has captured my attention. I have listened to it in school and I loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    C'est super!!!

    Frances Ruffelle est la vraie Eponine! Frances Rufelle is the real Eponine! If you've yet to hear an angel sing, voilà.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Wow

    This is excellent all the pieces i needed are all here for me to hear

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Uplifting, Wonderful, My FAVORITE!!!

    I've been listening to Les Miserables for, well, years. My grandparents played it to me when I was a baby (no, I'm not fibbing, I'm just 14) and I've loved it ever since. The characters are so easy to identify with.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A definite MUST!!!

    I abouslutly LOVE Les Mis! So do all my friends. But I lost it so now I'm ordering a new one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Not The Greatest!

    This cd is decent but there are better recordings of this show. On my personal opinion the cd was poorly cast. Young Cosette, Gavroche, Valjean, Enjolras, and Cosette are fine. But the rest I personally feel was very poorly cast. Go with the Tenth Anniversary cast. It is the best you'll find!

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews