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Ratings and reviews for Les Miserables (1987 Original Broadway Cast)

Ratings and reviews for Les Miserables (1987 Original Broadway Cast)
based on 222 rating(s)
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Buy this item from Amazon.com
Price: $35.98 $28.18 (23% off)
Trade In Value: $4.30
Artist(s): Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Frances Rufelle, Colm Wilkinson
Release Date: 5/11/1987
Theatrical Release Date: 1/20/1989
Binding: Audio CD
Format: Cast Recording
Region Code: 1
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Number of Discs: 1
Studio: Decca Broadway
Manufacturer: Decca Broadway
Product Group: Music
Genre: Soundtrack
Sales Rank: 13735
Description: CD
UPC: 720642415122

Reviews 1 to 10 of 222
Pageof 23
amazon logo My thoughts
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. Bryant isn't as bad as some people say, but he does little more than sing the notes.

Enjolras) BROADWAY! David Burt on the London recording does a very good job. His voice is light but pleasant, and he is able to sound sufficiently heroic. But Michael Maguire on the Broadway recording is in a different league all together. His entrance in "One Day More" is spine-tingling, as is his opening in "Do You Hear the People Sing?" Neither of these singers come even close to matching Anthony Warlow's Enjolras on the Complete Symphonic Recording, though.

Thenardier) LONDON. There is nothing wrong with Leo Burmester on the Broadway recording. Alun Armstrong, however, does better at conveying the sinister aspect of the rogue innkeeper. And his excellent Cockney accent doesn't hurt either.

Eponine) BROADWAY. Frances Ruffelle sings Eponine on both recordings. Her voice is more refined on the London recording, but she sounds more urgent and exciting on the Broadway. She is excellent on both of them, though.

Cosette) LONDON. There isn't much difference between the way London's Rebecca Caine and Broadway's Judy Kuhn sing Cosette. In fact, Judy Kuhn might be a hair better. What set's the London version in front of the Broadway version is that Cosette gets her own song on the London. Her solo, "I saw him once", makes Cosette's character just a little less shallow.

Well, there you have it. The Original Broadway Cast is in my opinion not quite as good as the London Cast, but both recordings are very good. Ultimately, you will have to chose for yourself which (if either) to get.

287 of 297 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo The music was ok, the lyrics could use soap
I first heard some of the music to Les Miserables at a concert I recently went to, and I was so impressed that I bought the cd a few days later to hear the rest of the songs. As it turns out, the concert songs were edited...these were not. If you can excuse songs devoted entirely to conversations between prostitutes and their customers, frequent "mild" bad words, quite a few inappropriate references, and a complete disregard for God's name....then you'll probably like this cd. As to the music-well, there are a few songs that are pretty, and others that are "inspiring" (especially "Look Down" and "Do You Hear the People Sing?")and then there are some that consist entirely of nearly spoken words set awkwardly to music. I know I sound like I'm beating the cd up-I just don't want anyone else to spend $20+ on this cd just to find that its not really appropriate, and shelve it as I have done.
5 of 49 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo A must-have for amazon customers!
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.

36 of 37 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Get the 10th anniversary version
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).
32 of 33 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo The worst Eponine!
This and all the other recordings are good. If "On My Own" and all other songs sung by the character Eponine are among your favorites, however, skip this (and the 1985 version) and get either the complete symphonic version or the tenth anniversary concert recording -- Kaho Shimada's 'sad' and Lea Salonga's 'dejected' interpretations (and their GREATgreat voices) are MUCH, MUCH better than shrieky Frances Ruffele's.
31 of 33 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Not the best cast, but still outstanding
Great performances all around (Colm Wilkinson and Michael Ball, who both did the London and Broadway recordings, and Judy Kuhn, who does Cosette here). Terence Mann and Randy Graff are good, but Philip Quast and Patty LuPonne, both from the London version, are better. Similarly, Frances Rufelle doesn't hold a candle to Lea Salonga, who tops Frances' performances with her more emotionally intense and more vocally precise rendition of Eponine's numbers (am not surprised that the majority of viewers prefer Ms. Salonga for the role, now that they have a choice).

The tempo in this version is much faster than London's and I like it better this way.

31 of 32 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Excellent, but...
if your money allows you to buy only one, get the 10th Anniversary Concert CD. Not only is it more lively (well, it IS live), it also has the BEST cast (no nasal and whiny Eponine, etc.)
30 of 32 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Very good...
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.
29 of 30 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Excellent, but...
get the 10th Anniversary recording: that has the BEST cast ver assembled for his great musical!
28 of 30 people found this review helpful.
amazon logo Fantastic!
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.
29 of 29 people found this review helpful.

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