We’re far (super duper far) from an expert on musical theater—but we’ve written about Les Mis for NYLON, so that should count for something, right? After listening to the soundtrack every day for the last one million years (approx), we thought we’d share our picks for the top versions of our six favorite songs—our Les Mis mixtape/video. We welcome votes for other choices (and links! So we can listen to it all day tomorrow, too.) Our list features loads of Nick Jonas and Russell (JUST KIDDING.)
At top: One Day More: This is our favorite song, of all the productions, of all the times this musical has been played, ever, and it’s for a million reasons, but none moreso than when Michael Ball (the revival cast Marius) looks around and sings, “My place is here—I fight with you!” He’s fighting for art, people. (Well, probably for musical theater, but we’ll it expand it to art.) And everyone looks like they are having the best time and Colm Wilkinson hugs Ramin and the whole thing just sob.
Bring Him Home: Jeff Leyton. To be honest, though, we totally love this version of Ramin Karimloo’s, which gets all boom-y in the middle (like we said, musical theater experts):
Speaking of Valjean, we grew up with Colm Wilkinson as ours, and so he will forever remain, Alfie Boe or no. This is his Who Am I.
On My Own: We love Samantha Barks’ version, we love of course Lea Salonga’s version, but these days we can’t stop listening to this French-language version of it. Fun fact: “On My Own” was the only song created for the English-language version of the play, and was later added to the French original. We’ve gotten as close as we can to killing “On My Own,” so we love having this to listen to, since we can only understand about 25% of it.
A Little Fall of Rain: Lea Salonga and (a much younger) Michael Ball, obviously
Stars: We know everyone says that Philip Quast was the best Javert ever:
…but we cannot get enough of this. (MUST PAY THE PRICE.)
Which leaves Norm Lewis for the suicide:
Even if he shouts a bit.
I say this as someone who has hated the character of Marius in every single instance (including the book), until seeing Eddie Redmayne play him. Ah! Can’t help it. That whole “And I can hear them now” part? It’s like the ghosts are crowding out his voice. ERgh love it.
As for I Dreamed a Dream, we prefer the version we sing in the car. Second to that, Ruthie Henshall:
And it’s embarrassing, but we totally love the Anne Hathaway version:
By the way, here’s Ruthie Henshall singing Maybe This Time, which is amazing: