Unusual or new lyrics are italicized for the sake of easy location. Lyrics in regular font are to provide some context within the song.
Prologue: Work Song
As with the OLC, the prologue begins with the tinkly beginning of At the End of the Day rather than the ominous beats of Look Down. Unlike the OLC, the cymbal roll that connects AtEotD with Look Down is left out, leaving a more ominous sounding single note.
Where “I know she’ll wait, I know that she’ll be true” happens, there’s an added verse right before, probably removed just to cut down on time.
Look down, look down, sweet Jesus doesn’t care.
I killed a man, he tried to steal my wife.
Look down, look down, she wasn’t worth your life.
I know she’ll wait, I know that she’ll be true!
Prologue: On Parole/The Bishop
Everything continues here much as we hear it on the OLC, including the slightly slower instrumentals, but when Valjean asks the Farmer for his pay, one of his fellow labourer’s has something a little different to say. (As opposed to “you broke the law, it’s there for people to see...”)
This handful of tin wouldn’t buy my sweat!
Do you believe a yellow ticket of leave
Allows a criminal like you to earn full screw?
Now every door is closed to me, another jail another key...
Then upon encountering the Innkeeper’s Wife...
My rooms are full, and I’ve no supper to spare,
I’d like to help you really, all I want is to be fair!
Prologue: What Have I Done, At the End of the Day, I Dreamed a Dream and Lovely Ladies
As far as I’m concerned, there’s no noticeable differences here, certainly not lyrically. In the second version of the Barbican preview for At the End of the Day, the Foreman flubs and sings “you’d be the cause I had no doubt, of any man trouble hereabout, you play a harlot in the morning and then a harlot in the night.” This sounds more like he just missed his lines than that it’s an actual difference as in the other preview he sings the line correctly as “You'd be the cause I had no doubt of any trouble hereabout, you play a virgin in the light but need no urgin' in the night.” Probably the first flub just threw him and he started making stuff up.
After Fantine’s initial encounter with Javert, the chorus decides to get in on the action. This addition is actually right off of the original French concept, where the chorus has a verse in the same place, singing:
“Qu’on emmene cette roulure, et qu’on la jette en prison
(May we take away this cheap hooker, and may we throw her in prison.)
Qu’elle s’y face une droiture et retrouve sa raison
(May she show uprightness there, and come to her senses.*)”
*Translation credit to Mme Bahorel.
Holy God, is there no mercy? If I go to jail, she’ll die!
Take this harlot now this minute, let there be a full report!
Let her go back in the morning, let her answer to the court!
Gentle Jesus, won’t you save me? Are there tears enough to cry?
It’s the same pathetic story: “Please, Monsieur, my child will die!”
I have heard such protestations every day for twenty years...
Where Javert usually protests with “But, Monsieur Mayor,” after Valjean’s “I will see it done!” doesn’t happen, but the second “But, Monsieur Mayor!” that follows Valjean’s repeated “I will see it done!” is there. This is true of both the 1985 Barbican recordings and the first of the “but, Monsieur Mayor!”s doesn’t seem to be added in until 1987 on Broadway.
The Runaway Cart
The Runaway Cart sequence here has some considerable differences, specifically highlighting the fact that Valjean has to do this by himself because no one will assist him. Unfortunately, these lyrics are only on the first of the two Barbican recordings and are somewhat difficult to make out. Square brackets denote those that are most difficult to be certain of.
Is there anyone here who will rescue the man?
Who will help me to shoulder the weight of the cart?
I will pay any man! [Thirty louis d’or more!*]
I will do it myself if there’s no one that will!
We can’t let him die like that down in the street!
Can you all watch him die and do nothing at all?
Don’t approach me, Monsieur Mayor!
[The cart’s not gonna be holding!
Not my poor mother would care if I should die!*]
Don’t go near him, Monsieur Mayor!
[Totally unidentifable garble.]
Leave him alone!
Valjean lifts the cart.
Monsieur le Mayor, I have no words...
*Lyrics suggested by Trompe-la-Mort
There’s one other noticeable difference, which is that Javert says “mark upon his skin” rather than “brand upon his skin.” This may be a flub or an actual lyric change, but by the next 1985 Barbican recording, it’s been changed to “brand.”
Who Am I?
Here after his shouted “2-4-6-0-1!” Colm also shouts “You know where to find me!” He doesn’t do this in the other 1985 Barbican recording, but he does do it (with less volume) in a later 1986 recording done at the Palace Theatre.
Come to Me and The Confrontation
No changes from what we’re used to.
Castle on a Cloud
To go along with the original version on the French concept, there’s an additional verse at the top of Castle on a Cloud, which matches the French lyrics pretty closely.
Ils vont venir bientôt, et je n'ai pas fini
(They will come soon and I am not done)
de laver, de brosser, de cirer le parquet
(Mopping, scrubbing, and polishing the floor)
et puis sans un répit j'irai servir aussi
(And then, without a rest, I will go serve as well)
pourtant, elle me battra quand même
(Yet she will beat me all the same)
je sais mais je pris l'habitude
(I know, but I am used to it)
et ça me fait moins mal que ma solitude.
(And it is no worse than my loneliness.*)
*Translation credit to Mme Bahorel.
They’ll come back any minute,
And I’m nowhere near finished
Sweeping and scrubbing and polishing the floor!
It’s the same every day, oh please!
Don’t let Madame hit me again!
I should be used to it, but then --
I know a place where nobody has to work too hard!
And where I won’t be lonely again!
There is a castle on a cloud...
Interestingly, she still says “oh help, I think I hear them now! And I’m nowhere near finished sweeping and scrubbing and polishing the floors!” Which is... exactly what she had already said. Obvious cut is obvious. There’s also one other unusual line here:
How stupid the things that we do,
Like mother like daughter, now, that's what I say!
The line is difficult to make out as such in the Barbican preview, but is very obvious in the other 1985 Barbican recording as well as a 1986 recording from the Palace. It doesn’t seem to be changed to “scum of the street” until the Broadway production in 1987.
Master of the House
The intro here sounds like it’s extended by about two bars and matches the Original French Concept. I’ve seen some people comment that it’s missing the entire “my band of soaks” verse, but my recording of the 1985 Barbican Preview seems to have it intact, whereas the other 1985 Barbican is missing it. (Though it sounds like a cut in the audio.)
The Well/The Bargain
The Well Scene got moved around a lot in the early years, this is what we go to directly from Master of the House; notice the repeating Castle on a Cloud. The other 1985 Barbican recording has this version of the Well Scene as well, but by 1986 at the Palace Theatre it’s been replaced entirely by the lalalalala’s.
There is a castle on a cloud,
I like to go there in my sleep.
Aren’t any floors for me to sweep...
Don’t be afraid of me, my dear,
Tell me your name and have no fear,
How cold it grows when the sun has set...
I’m not afraid.
Monsieur, my name’s Cosette.
Nor will you be afraid again,
I come to take you from this place,
There is a better world, you’ll see.
Give me your hand, and walk with me.
VALJEAN and YOUNG COSETTE
La lalalalala la la!
The Waltz of Treachery
Probably because of the placement of the Well Scene, there’s no “come Cosette, come my dear” bit at the end of the Waltz. Instead the waltz is played through twice, followed by the lead-in that usually accompanies Valjean’s Soliloquy and Javert’s Suicide.
Yep, Stars happens before Look Down. The lyrics that happen here pretty much match the OLC lyrics, which have since been tweaked somewhat, but since they’re on the OLC, I won’t bother with them.
At this point, rather than introduce Marius and Enjolras, it’s Combeferre and Feuilly who come out to address the people. There’s some subtle changes to what they say and how the lines are broken up, as well as an added Beggars’ verse in the middle. For Feuilly’s verse, the music turns incredibly fishy and goes against the melody that he’s singing and generally sounds terrible. Neither the music change nor the beggar verse made it onto the OLC, but both are included as late as the 1986 change to the Palace Theatre.
As for the leaders of the land,
As for the swells who run this show,
Only one man and that’s Lamarque,
Speaks for the people here below.
Starving for a meal, scrambling for a job,
Biting into anything and finding not a crumb,
Not a crumb, not a crumb, not a crumb, not a crumb.
Lamarque is ill and fading fast, won’t last the week out, so they say,
With all the anger in the land, how long before the judgement day,
Before we cut the fat ones down to size?
Before the barricades arise?
And lastly, a subtle difference in Gavroche’s lines;
Watch out for old Thenardier,
All of his family’s on the take.
There’s several sizable chunks of changed lyrics here as well as a couple that are missing and were added in later. To begin with;
Everyone here, you know your place;
Brujon, Babet, Claquesous!
You, Montparnasse, watch for the p’lice!
With Éponine, take care,
You’ve got all the hash, I’ve got all the cash.
Here come the students from our street,
One of them is a peculiar gent.
Our Éponine would kiss his feet,
She never showed a scrap of sense.
From here, the lyrics continue on as normal between Marius and Éponine, but they stop just after “you’ll be in trouble here, it’s not your concern, you’ll be in the clear.” Rather than have Marius continue on with “who is this man?” they both remain silent as the music changes for Marius to bump into Cosette and there’s also no “I didn’t see you there, forgive me.” The lyrics pick back up presumably when Cosette and Valjean draw closer to Thenardier.
How d’ya do? Spare a sou?
God will see all the good that you do.
Look, m’sieur, lost a leg!
Hero of Waterloo now has to beg!
Wait a bit, know that face...
The Robbery ends with Javert’s arrival as normal, but then Gavroche’s little addendum is played here in response to Javert clearing the street rather than immediately following Stars.
Éponine’s Errand starts off more or less intact, but there’s a couple lyrical differences here.
That cop, he’d like to jump us, but he ain’t smart, not he.
Did you see that lovely girl?
That lovely two-a-penny thing?
Éponine, find her for me...
Éponine! Do this for me, but careful how you go,
Your father mustn’t know, he’ll strike another blow.
‘Ponine, I’m lost until she’s found!
The ABC Cafe/Red and Black, Lamarque is Dead and Do You Hear the People Sing?
All three remain pretty much completely intact and identical to later versions. Joly’s “Marius, what’s wrong with you today?” is mirrored on the OLC and Gavroche shouts “Listen, everyone! It’s General Lamarque – he’s dead!” instead of the later “General Lamarque is dead!”
I Saw Him Once
Aside from having been dropped from the production completely by the time it opened on Broadway, I Saw Him Once begins a little differently here in the preview than on the OLC.
How strange, how curious, how secret and how vain!
This change, till now I’d seen myself as rather plain!
What has happened to you, Cosette?
Why, you don’t even know his name.
And was he really there, and does he feel the same?
I saw him once...
In My Life
The intro here is different and Valjean comes in much sooner as Cosette’s opening chunks of the song aren’t present. Off the top, it begins with,
Dearest papa, can I tell him of this?
How can I tell him the things that I feel?
How could he understand?
Followed by Valjean’s immediate entrance rather than the bulk of In My Life.
Dear Cosette, you’re such a lonely child...
Instead of Cosette’s usual response to Valjean’s “there are words that are better unheard, better unsaid,” she says something new that’s almost completely unidentifiable here that at least contains “come into my life” and perhaps something about “full of fear” and “a wall” ending with “in my life, I’m no longer afraid and I yearn for the truth that you know.”
A Heart Full of Love
A Heart Full of Love features some of the most altered (and insipid) lyrics thus far.
My name is Marius Pontmercy.
And mine's Cosette.
Cosette, your name is like a song.
My song is you.
Is it true?
Yes, it's true!
A heart full of love!
According to Rebecca Caine's original libretto, these "original" lyrics weren't in fact the original. Prior to the preview they had been:
Marius: "I saw you waiting in the square."
Cosette: "And you were there."
Marius: "At your feet."
Cosette: "At your call."
Which frankly makes very little sense, though "at your feet; at your call" makes a reappearance later in the show. (With better context to support those lines.)
The Attack on the Rue Plumet
The intro here features a longer verse for Montparnasse,
You remember, he’s the bloke who got away the other day,
Got a number on his chest, perhaps a fortune put away.
Took off like a guilty man, why would he want to disappear?
So we’re gonna do him right, this time no one will interfere.
Oh Lord, somebody help me!
Around the part where Éponine screams, the lyrics are changed and very difficult to make out, both on the Preview recording and the other 1985 Barbican recording. In place of “well I told you I’d do it, I told you I’d do it,” Éponine sings something else and is answered by Thenardier. Hard to make out and be certain of lyrics are in square brackets.
[I have a wolf for my parent,*]
And he doesn't scare me!
Listen to me,
[What do we do with the slut?*] [There will be two this time?*]
There will be something for all,
It could be brilliantly won,
You will have your share!
*Lyrics suggested by Rachel.
One Day More
Features no noticeable differences from the OLC aside from this slight inversion of Marius and Cosette’s lines,
One more day with him not caring
MARIUS and COSETTE
Will I ever love so true?
What a life I might have known
MARIUS and COSETTE
I was born to be with you!