* uncertain if sales are for London and Broadway casts or just one or the other
106 L, 117 B --
Singles/ Hit Songs:
Notes: “Upon These Stones (Building the Barricade)” was added to the Broadway version (both before and after “On My Own”) and the order of songs was slightly different. “Javert at the Barricade” was also added – in between “The Attack” and “A Little Fall of Rain.”
Les Misérables (cast album)
Claude-Michel Schönberg/ Alain Boublil / Herbert Kretzmer (composers)
Review: Les Misérables by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer” (Mackintosh), first opened in France on September 22, 1980, but really became a sensation after hitting London and Broadway. “On October 8, 1985 Les Misérables opened at the Barbican Theatre, London and musical theatre history was made…On March 12, 1987, the American version opened at the Broadway Theatre. Since then, Les Misérables…has travelled the globe and won many major awards throughout the world, including eight Tony awards, including Best Musical” (Mackintosh).
“Originally conceived as a simple recording production, Les Misérables 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” (Erlewine B). “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” (Horiuchi). “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 (Erlewine B).
“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” (Erlewine B) “beautiful ballads (Bring Him Home, I Dreamed a Dream) and rousing anthems (One Day More, Do You Hear the People Sing?)” (Horiuchi), as well as “ such memorable and noteworthy songs as Look Down, …Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, and the ubiquitous On My Own” (Erlewine B).
“The original London cast recording is considered by many to be superior to various other releases of Les Miz” (Erlewine L). It starred “Colm Wilkinson as the heroic Valjean and Frances Ruffelle as the despondent Eponine” (Erlewine B). They were “joined by Patti LuPone and Michael Ball” (Erlewine L).
Wilkinson and Ruffelle took their roles to Broadway, along with “Randy Graff (Fantine), Terrence Mann (Javert), David Bryant (Marius), Judy Kuhn (Cosette), Michael Maguire (Enjolras), and Leo Burmester and Jennifer Butt (the Thénardiers)” (Horiuchi). “The original Broadway cast recording contains some very fine performances, particularly by… Wilkinson…and… Ruffelle…The vocals on this recording are heavy on character, making it an interesting and entertaining listen” (Erlewine B).
“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” (Horiuchi).