While not overly generous at 55 minutes, the highlights album of the 1987 original Broadway cast recording of Les Miserables
is intelligently selected and likely to prove satisfying to most fans. It includes the best-loved numbers of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's score, beautiful ballads ("Bring Him Home," "I Dreamed a Dream") and rousing anthems ("One Day More," "Do You Hear the People Sing?") alike, but eliminates some choral numbers ("Lovely Ladies"), redundancies ("Red and Black"), and connective tissue that propels the plot along ("Valjean Arrested," "Come to Me (Fantine's Death)"). Sure, a more perfect selection could have lasted longer than half of the two-disc set's 104 minutes by adding "At the End of the Day" and "In My Life," among others, but it's still a good representation on a convenient single disc. Of course, those who always want to re-create the theatrical experience will never be satisfied with a highlights album.
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