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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
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