Re-creating their roles from the London production, Colm Wilkinson plays the heroic Valjean and Frances Ruffelle is the despondent Eponine. Randy Graff (Fantine), Terrence Mann (Javert), David Bryant (Marius), Judy Kuhn (Cosette), Michael Maguire (Enjolras), and Leo Burmester and Jennifer Butt (the Thénardiers) fill out the cast. --David Horiuchi
The first time I saw Les Mis was at a small local high school. It was pretty bad, for the most part, but the musicians as well as some of the actors redeemed the performance. Valjean was excellent, Thernardier was pretty good, but most of all, the musicians in the performance performed quite well. The premise of a MUSICAL is for it to BE musical, and have good quality instrumental music as well as good quality acting... ideally. This recording has one of the above...
I was looking forward to getting this version, but when I actually got it, I started listening to the songs and was rather disappointed. I can sit down at my computer and probably write an arrangement to accompany the performance of Les Mis in cheap quality MIDI and have it sound better than this.
For example, in tracks 5 and 8, the background part has some kind of guitar or something or other and it just sounds absolutely terrible. I Dreamed a Dream is generally considered to be one of the better songs in the entire musical, and it's a shame that it has to get virtually ruined with this kind of tacky synthetic sound... But this happens to many of the songs.
Three stars for the effort, for it being Les Mis, and for the singing being decent. I just think it's terrible when a great musical has to have such a terrible, tacky sounding 'orchestral' accompaniment.