Alain Boublil, who, with composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, penned the score for Les Miz, told the New York Post, "I think of Edith Piaf. . . Piaf was a small woman who looked like nothing. And then she opened her mouth, and this beautiful sound came out."
Boublil added, "You expect nothing and then [Boyle] opens her mouth and you get three or four of the most exciting moments I have ever seen on television. Act I: She arrives and everyone is laughing at her. Act II: She bowls them over. Act III: Everyone is out of their seats. . . .You cannot plan any of that. My wife was crying when she saw it. Even the most cynical people I know have been moved."
Boublil also explained the genesis of the Act One show-stopper to the New York daily: "I remember I was in a car driving in the north of France and was working on this song about Fantine. Her descent into hell — she loses everything: her money, her daughter — takes up several chapters. I had to encapsulate 50 pages of the novel into a three-minute song. So I decided rather than to list all the happiness, I would go inside her head — 'I Dreamt of a Different Life' was the original title. And that is how the lyric was born." Herbert Kretzmer helped shape the lyric to the version audiences now know.
Boyle, an unmarried 47-year-old woman from Scotland, became an overnight sensation following her emotional performance of Les Misérables' "I Dreamed a Dream" on the U.K. weekly ITV Channel TV show "Britain's Got Talent." That performance has now been viewed by millions around the world via YouTube. Boublil and Schonberg also penned the scores for Miss Saigon, Martin Guerre and The Pirate Queen.