8 comments on “Musicals: Star Performers and the Show

  1. I planned one of those “once in a lifetime” trips on Dec. 4th. Alfie did not perform that night, and as we had plane tickets home the next afternoon, it was a disappointment. However, I did get to see NYC at Christmas, and it was indeed magical. Having seen Les Mis 5-6 times in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, I must admit that I went to see the star. Not to be deterred, I went again in January when he was unable to perform because of illness. Most people would give up. I’m trying again this weekend and hoping one of the performances on Feb. 12-13 will be the one. Here’s hoping . . .

  2. I am relatively new to Broadway. Up till now, my experience had been community theatre, regional theatre, high school productions varying in quality, and a few trips to Boston. My first trip to “see a star” was to Les Mis to see Ramin Karimloo. He was not on the night we were there. The understudy, Aaron Walpole, did a fine job. I was disappointed, but I am one of those who could (and did) make plans to go again. It’s no small trip for us, an 8-hour drive plus the cost of hotels, meals, etc, but it’s far more doable than a flight across the water.
    Jane’s comments about what people say (“it ruined my trip”) are spot-on. I can’t imagine how that must feel to those who stepped up and into the role. In addition, the understudy may be the next star, and you’ll have seen them before they were famous. I didn’t see Kyle as Valjean, but I did see and meet him on his first night on Broadway, and it was clear even in his small role that he would have been a world-wide presence. I saw Joe Spieldenner as Javert, and had a nice conversation with him afterward. I’ll follow him around now; he’s terrific.
    I think people need to lose their sense of entitlement. As you say, the ticket pays for the show, not the star. If you want to see Alfie and no other, I’d suggest buying a ticket to a concert.

  3. I travelled from the UK absolutely to see Alfie in my favourite musical, was lucky enough to see him four times. Would i have been heartbroken if he was sick? Of course I would, but that wouldn’t mean I wouldn’t appreciate the understudy or the rest of that fabulous cast. As for being angry he was sick, I would be more concerned for his health and welfare than my disappointment. At the end of the day the show is Les Mis not Alfie Boe.

  4. Greetings from Florida
    I had wanted to see Alfie since the 25th Anniversary show. The DVD has been in my player and played continually. So when the announcement that he was coming to this side of the pond, my decision was made! I had already told hubby if he ever comes to the US I have to see him.
    So from my view, I traveled and planned on seeing Alfie! I made sure to check his travel/ and rest dates but 2 weeks before our trip he fell ill. Although he was back in time for my visit, I will tell you my thoughts of traveling to NY, hotel, tickets etc and then not seeing him would have been quite disappointing. It was one of the things on my bucket list.
    I totally understand people who did travel to see him and a last minute change was made and they missed the opportunity to see Alfie. But as you said his dates are posted well in advance. But a last minute illness cannot be helped.
    I guess depending on the show, I always see a show for the show. This is the only one that I booked based on the who was starring in it. Alfie should feel quite honored as I am sure I am not the only one. Cheers to you all and Merry Christmas from sunny Ft. Lauderdale. I love reading you blog.

    Sherri

  5. Sometimes I think fans forget that the objects of our affections are mere human! We expect to see them on demand, and if we book a ticket we certainly expect them to be there. No excuses! Great subject, by the way, Jane. A musical is made up of many parts and many people and some of the understudies are as talented as the stars. I’ve gone to see Les Mis many times for the show itself. It’s how I discovered Alfie in the first place, for goodness sake. And now it’s the thought of seeing Alfie in Les Mis that has driven us in droves across the Atlantic. And I’ve got to say that with or without a six pack, he is gloriously wonderful in the role. BUT we go in the “hope”, not the guarantee that Alfie will be in the show. As with all aspects of life, things can go wrong. And how can we blame the actor if he’s not well? But sometime people do. It’s an expensive disappointment after all. I guess we all need to remind ourselves just how amazing the whole show is and open ourselves to experiencing a new cast member, a new interpretation, and maybe, just maybe a future Alfie.

  6. Totally agree with you, Jane. I went to see Alfie in NYC in September and booked that month because I remember all the hand-wringing when he performed in London and was sick, so I thought I’d catch him early. Even still, he was sick the day before my show and the day after. I was just lucky. Broadway has to be an incredible grind and I am sure only those with iron constitutions endure it without getting sick often. Alfie is not one of those and being an opera singer, I’m sure he is even more careful of his voice. I would have been sad if we had wasted our money- a one night stay with plane fare cost us about $1000.00 but at the same time, I don’t think I would have been angry. People get sick and you can’t take it personally. If you can’t look at the experience philosophically, then you really should think hard about making plans. NYC should be the destination for most people and not just Alfie.

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