Monday, September 22, 1980

Sept. 22, 1980: Les Misérables opened in France

First posted August 11, 2008. Last updated September 4, 2018.

Les Misérables (cast/soundtrack)

Claude-Michel Schönberg/ Alain Boublil / Herbert Kretzmer (composers)

Opened in France: Sept. 22, 1980

Opened in London: October 8, 1985

Opened on Broadway: March 12, 1987

London Cast Album Charted: April 11, 1987

Broadway Cast Album Charted: June 20, 1987

Highlights Soundtrack Released: Dec. 21, 2012

Deluxe Soundtrack Released: January 25, 2013


Sales (in millions):
US: 4.0 B, 1.0 L, 0.53 S
UK: 0.45 B
IFPI: --
World (estimated): 7.2 B+L+S


Peak:
US: 117 B, 106 L, 11-S
UK: 14-S
Canada: 2 S
Australia: 3 S

L London cast recording
B Broadway cast recording
B soundtrack

Quotable: “One of the premiere theater events of the 1980s” – Sarah Erlewine, All Music Guide


Genre: show tunes


Album Tracks – London Cast Album:

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
  9. Confrontation
  10. Castle on a Cloud
  11. Master of the House
  12. Thénardier Waltz
  13. Stars
  14. Look Down
  15. Little People
  16. Red and Black
  17. Do You Hear the People Sing?

Disc 1:

  1. I Saw Him Once
  2. In My Life
  3. A Heart Full of Love
  4. Plumet Attack
  5. One Day More!
  6. On My Own
  7. The Attack
  8. A Little Fall of Rain
  9. Drink with Me
  10. Bring Him Home
  11. Dog Eats Dog
  12. Javert’s Suicide: Solilquy
  13. Turning
  14. Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
  15. Wedding Chorale
  16. Beggars at the Feast
  17. Finale

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.”


Album Tracks – Soundtrack:

  1. Look Down (Convicts, Javert, Valjean) H,D
  2. The Bishop (Bishop of Digne) H,D
  3. Valjean's Soliloquy (Valjean) H,D
  4. At the End of the Day (Poor, Foreman, Workers, Factory Women, Fantine, Valjean) H,D
  5. The Runaway Cart (Valjean, Javert)
  6. The Docks (Lovely Ladies) (Sailors, Old Woman, Fantine, Crone, Whores, Pimp, Toothman) D
  7. I Dreamed a Dream (Fantine) H,D
  8. Fantine's Arrest (Bamatabois, Fantine, Javert, Valjean) D
  9. Who Am I? (Valjean) D
  10. Fantine's Death (Fantine, Valjean) D
  11. The Confrontation (Javert, Valjean) H,D
  12. Castle on a Cloud (Young Cosette, Mme. Thénardier) H,D
  13. Master of the House (Thénardier, Mme. Thénardier, Inn Patrons) H,D
  14. The Well Scene (Valjean, Young Cosette) D
  15. The Bargain (Valjean, Thénardier, Mme. Thénardier) D
  16. The Thénardier Waltz of Treachery (Thénardier, Valjean, Mme. Thénardier, Young Cosette) D
  17. Suddenly (Valjean) H,D
  18. The Convent (Valjean) D
  19. Stars (Javert) D
  20. Paris/Look Down (Gavroche, Beggars, Enjolras, Marius, Students) D
  21. The Robbery (Thénardier, Mme. Thénardier, Éponine, Valjean) D
  22. Javert's Intervention (Javert, Thénardier) D
  23. Éponine's Errand (Éponine, Marius)
  24. ABC Café/Red and Black (Students, Enjolras, Marius, Grantaire, Gavroche) H,D
  25. In My Life (Cosette, Valjean, Marius, Éponine) D
  26. A Heart Full of Love (Marius, Cosette, Éponine) H,D
  27. The Attack on Rue Plumet (Thénardier, Thieves, Éponine, Valjean)
  28. On My Own (Éponine) H,D
  29. One Day More (Valjean, Marius, Cosette, Éponine, Enjolras, Javert, Thénardier, Mme. Thénardier, Cast) H,D
  30. Do You Hear the People Sing? (Enjolras, Marius, Students, Beggars) D
  31. Building the Barricade (Upon These Stones) (Enjolras, Javert, Gavroche, Students) D
  32. Javert's Arrival (Javert, Enjolras) D
  33. Little People (Gavroche, Students, Enjolras, Javert) D
  34. A Little Fall of Rain (Éponine, Marius) D
  35. Night of Anguish (Enjolras, Marius, Valjean, Javert, Students)
  36. Drink With Me (Grantaire, Marius, Gavroche, Students) H,D
  37. Bring Him Home (Valjean) H,D
  38. Dawn of Anguish (Enjolras, Marius, Gavroche, Students) D
  39. The Second Attack (Death of Gavroche) (Gavroche, Enjolras, Students, Army Officer) D
  40. The Sewers (Valjean, Javert) D
  41. Javert's Suicide (Javert) H,D
  42. Turning (Parisian women) D
  43. Empty Chairs at Empty Tables (Marius) H,D
  44. A Heart Full of Love [Reprise] (Marius, Cosette, Valjean, Gillenormand) D
  45. Valjean's Confession (Valjean, Marius) D
  46. Suddenly [Reprise] (Marius, Cosette) D
  47. Wedding Chorale (Chorus, Marius, Thérnardier, Mme. Thérnardier) D
  48. Beggars at the Feast (Thénardier, Mme. Thénardier) D
  49. Valjean's Death (Valjean, Fantine, Cosette, Marius, Bishop of Digne) H,D
  50. Do You Hear the People Sing? [Reprise] / Epilogue (cast) H,D
H on the highlights edition soundtrack
D on the deluxe edition soundtrack

Notes: The film contains every song from the original stage musical with the exception of "I Saw Him Once" and "Dog Eats Dog", although many songs have been partially or extensively cut. "The Attack on Rue Plumet" and "Little People" were especially shortened. In addition, the Bishop sings with Fantine during "Valjean's Death" instead of Eponine, as was in the stage musical. "Stars" was also moved to before "Look Down", which echoes the original 1985 London production. The lyrics of some songs were also changed to suit the changes in setting or narrative to the stage musical. In addition to the cuts, a new song, "Suddenly" was added, new music was composed for the battle scenes, and the order of several songs changed from the stage musical. Several major pieces, primarily as "Who Am I?", "Stars", and the two "Soliloquy" pieces are performed in a different key than most recordings. WK-S

Review:

Les Misérables first opened in France, but really became a sensation after its debuts in London (Barbican Theatre, October 8, 1985) and on Broadway (Broadway Theatre, March 12, 1987). CM It went on to win eight Tony awards, including Best Musical.

The story drew on “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.” DH “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.” SE-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” SE-B “beautiful ballads (Bring Him Home, I Dreamed a Dream) and rousing anthems (One Day More, Do You Hear the People Sing?),” DH as well as “such memorable and noteworthy songs as Look Down, …Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, and the ubiquitous On My Own.” SE-B

“The original London cast recording is considered by many to be superior to various other releases of Les Miz.” SE-L They were “joined by Patti LuPone and Michael Ball.” SE-L Wilkinson and Ruffelle took their roles to Broadway. “The original Broadway cast recording contains some very fine performances, particularly by… [Colm] Wilkinson…and… [Frances] Ruffelle,” SE-B who worked on the London and Broadway productions as “the heroic Valjean and…the despondent Eponine” SE-B respectively.

The effort to turn the production into a movie musical “was mired in ‘development hell’ for over ten years, as the rights were passed on to several major studios, and various directors and actors considered.” WK-S In 2012, it was finally turned into a film starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Russel Crowe. It won Golden Globes for Best Musical or Comedy, Best Actor (Jackman), and Best Supporting Actress (Hathaway). It received eight Academy Award nominations, including for Best Picture and Best Actor, and won Best Supporting Actress for Hathaway. WK-S


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