The news is official! Alfie Boe’s post Les Mis Show is Finding Neverland and he will start on March 29th, taking over from Tony Yazbeck.
Producer Harvey Weinstein said “… who better to take over the role than Alfie Boe? Known for his exquisite tenor voice, he’s also a superb actor whom we’re thrilled to have as part of the family.”
Director Diane Paulus went on to say “It is very exciting that our next J.M. Barrie will be Alfie Boe, whose breadth of experience and enormous musical talents I know will make him a thrilling Barrie. I can’t wait to work with Alfie and to welcome him to our company at the Lunt-Fontanne.”
Alfie himself said “I can’t wait to join this wonderful show and cast. I’m so excited. Just a little disappointed I’m not Tinkerbell” – glad to see the sense of humour is still intact!
So, how do we feel about Alfie taking on the role of JM Barrie in this new musical? When the rumours first surfaced this week, there were a fair amount of tweeters suggesting that while Alfie has a wonderful voice, he’s not right for the part. Looking closer at these tweets, it seems that most of the concern revolved around Alfie’s age as the previous performers in the role have been younger; add in the casting of a younger Sylvia and you can see why the comments were made.
However, what if the casting of a actor who is the same age as Barrie when he wrote about Peter Pan were to redefine the role? To answer this question, I turned to Angry Baby Music’s Flo Bannigan, who recently chose Finding Neverland as one of her Top Ten Shows of 2016. This is what she had to say:
Alfie is currently the same age as JM Barrie when he first wrote about Peter Pan so he is the perfect choice for the role. So far, younger actors have been cast but having someone older might mean a change of emphasis on the way the relationships are played out. The main relationship centres around that of Barrie and Sylvia but I’m intrigued to see how Alfie’s portrayal brings out Barrie’s relationship to the children – many reviews of him in Les Mis have specifically mentioned the authenticity of Alfie’s relationship with little Cosette. Different actors bring different aspects to the same character, no actor wants to take on a new role and play it exactly the same as all the others who went before.
When Alfie stepped onto the stage at the O2, he transformed the role of Jean Valjean forever. This was underlined when he stepped forward during the Valjean quartet – there was a definite sense of the baton having passed and a new style of JVJ was born from a different genre of performing arts. Before that, if you had asked ardent Les Mis fans whether JVJ could be played by an opera singer who wasn’t big and full of muscles they would probably have said no. That all changed after the 25th anniversary concert. Why shouldn’t he do the same for JM Barrie in Finding Neverland?
Thanks Flo. So, as Alfie so successfully redefined one of the most iconic roles in modern musical theatre, what if he could do the same for a new musical like Finding Neverland? How amazing would that be!
In the meantime, have you entered the Alfie Boe Les Mis Goodie Bag competition yet? Click here – good luck!
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