Finding Neverland

All posts tagged Finding Neverland

Less than a month to go until American fans get the chance to see Alfie Boe and Michael Ball live in concert for one night only! The UK’s biggest selling artists of 2016, who scored the Christmas number one album no less, are appearing at the New York City Center on May 23 for one night only – tickets are still available, albeit going fast, so click here to ensure you don’t miss out.  Introduce a friend to the music of Ball and Boe – get two tickets and you get a copy of Together thrown in!

The duo have many US fans and are thrilled to have the opportunity to perform songs from Together – who knows, they might sing something that features on the next album! Alfie in particular, has ‘test driven’ a number of songs before recording in recent years.

So why New York you might ask.  One answer might be that both Michael and Alfie have appeared on Broadway and are well known by audiences there; furthermore, their chart topping album, Together, was recorded there last year. Alfie first appeared on Broadway way back in 2002 as Rodolfo in Baz Luhrman’s La Boheme; at the time, an operatic career beckoned and was duly embarked upon for the next few years before the life changing 25th anniversary concert of Les Mis came along.  It was Les Mis that brought Alfie back to Broadway in 2015, taking over from fellow Les Mis 25th star Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean for a five month run – he handed over to John Owen-Jones who was part of the Valjean quartet at Les Mis 25.  Following on from that, Alfie went into a short stint in Finding Neverland.

Michael’s first Broadway role was in 1990 when he originated Alex in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love (he also originated the role in London).   Then came a break of fifteen years whilst concert, TV and UK based theatre work took precedence although when he did return, in 2005, it was to two productions in quick succession – the first was for New York City Opera, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience.  The role that took him back to a Broadway musical was Count Fosco in The Woman in White, again for Andrew Lloyd Webber.

For two such amazing voices, the set list for this concert could be endless, such is the variety of their repertoire but I would suggest that two songs guaranteed to make the final list are their most famous songs and ones that have been sung at almost every concert the pair have ever given: Bring Him Home and Love Changes Everything.

Bring Him Home as part of Les Mis Medley  – first night of the UK tour 2016:

Love Changes Everything:

If you’re looking to make the concert that extra bit more special, VIP meet and greet tickets are available too – click here.

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Thank you to everyone who entered the competition to win the signed Finding Neverland playbills – the winners are:

Akiko Yonezawa

Pat Watterson

Jo Cassidy

Please send your address details via the contact me page and I’ll get them sent out!

The question that all three answered correctly was:

Which actors played JM Barrie before Alfie Boe?

The answer I was looking for was Matthew Morrison and Tony Yazbeck although I also accepted answers that included Jeremy Jordan and Julian Ovenden.

In case you missed it, Alfie appeared on Kathie Lee and Hoda’s segment of the Today Show on Monday, singing the title track from Finding Neverland (click on Alfie to see):

alfie today show stronger

Amazing last note!  But I have one gripe; guitarist Craig’s beard was in much better shape than Alfie’s – perhaps I’ll have to add him to the beard line up on Darwin, Alfie Boe, His Beard and Me.

Alfie’s a busy boy this week as he’s of course appearing in the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations where he’ll be singing A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square – wonder if he’ll have a second song too?

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It’s our birthday! Two years old today  – woohoo!  It’s been a fabulous year, interviewing Alfie, interviewing several of the former and current Jean Valjean actors and of course, becoming the Official Alfie Boe Fan Blog at the end of February.

To celebrate, I’ve got a new competition for you!  Up for grabs are three signed Finding Neverland playbills.  All you have to do is be a subscriber to this blog and answer the following question:

Winners will be picked on Friday 6 May – good luck!

Thank you for reading and sharing this blogging journey with me – wouldn’t be the same without you.  Thank you for all your comments, I love reading them all so keep them coming!

This is one of my favourite videos from the last twelve months, what’s yours?

We don’t get to hear that very often these days, after being a staple of Alfie’s earlier Bring Him Home tour.

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He made the shortlist!  Just a couple of days ago we voted in the nominations round of the Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards.  Alfie was nominated as Favourite Replacement for both Les Mis and Finding Neverland and he made the shortlist for Les Mis.  Voting is now open to choose the winner so click here and vote!  You can also vote for Les Mis as Favourite Long Running Show if you want.

This video from MoTab is now getting on for 2 million views!

It’s been quite a week for Alfie: announced for the Memorial Day concert on 29 May, making the shortlist for the Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards and it was also announced that he’ll be appearing on the Kathie Lee and Hoda segment of the Today Show on 9 May.  If you remember, Alfie sang Bring Him Home on this show in November 2015 and fans were hopeful that a return appearance would be called for.

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Yes, the news is out that Alfie will return to the Memorial Day Concert for 2016!  He joins Renee Fleming and Colin Powell amongst others for the Washington DC event to be held on 29 May.  As we know, Alfie holds a special place in his heart for the armed forces and is a regular at the UK’s Festival of Remembrance; this will be his second appearance at the equivalent US concert.  Let’s take a look at his previous appearance in 2013:

The question is: will he reprise Bring Him Home or  sing something else entirely?  I’d like to hear him sing again with Renee Fleming  as a throwback to their duet at the Diamond Jubilee of 2012 but who knows?

This comes hot on the heels of Alfie being nominated as Favourite Replacement for either Les Mis or Finding Neverland in the Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards – click here to vote but hurry as it closes on 29 April!  This is just to pick the nominations though so hopefully Alfie will get through to the actual awards.

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The line up of for the Queen’s 90th birthday celebration concert has been announced today and it includes Alfie!  Sharp eyed fans who noticed that Alfie’s current performance schedule for Finding Neverland shows a gap between 11 – 18 May won’t be surprised.  The concert will be broadcast live on 15 May – it will be hosted by Ant and Dec so we may yet get to see Alf and Dec on the same screen!  Alfie said he was “honoured to be involved in the celebrations of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II birthday celebration concert at Windsor Castle”.

Alfie seems to be a firm favourite with the Royal Family and has performed for them many times before but perhaps the most famous is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 (thanks to Nikki for sharing):

I wonder what he’ll sing?

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Ever since news broke that Alfie Boe would play JM Barrie in Broadway’s Finding Neverland, expectations from fans have been sky high,  So, with Alfie’s opening night this week, our fabulous regular New York reviewer, Roberta, went along to not only the first night, but the following day’s matinee as well.  This is her review of the two performances.

Alfie Boe not only flew from Les Miz to Neverland as the headlines read but soared. The role of J. M. Barrie could have been written for Alfie. His youthful exuberance when playing with Peter and his brothers in the park or at the dining room table (great scene) and his caring and tenderness towards their mother exemplify qualities we have all associated with Alfie.

As was expected Alfie’s singing was extraordinary. I had seen this show last year with Matthew Morrison and thought the score was rather bland. I am not sure how he did it but Alfie breathed new life into these songs. They became vital and colourful and you left the theatre humming them.  The most impressive and surprising thing about Alfie’s performance in his new role was his mastery of the very complex choreography which dominates act 1.  Anyone thinking Alfie has moved into an easier, less exhausting role in Neverland (which included me) from Les Miz is mistaken.  Alfie jumps on and off benches, twirls around lamp posts, chases children through a park, is turned upside down and leaps over a park bench landing on his feet all in perfect time to the music on a stage filled with other performers. It is truly amazing to watch him do all this with such pinpoint accuracy while sometimes singing at the same time.   All this comes in the first act and Alfie seemed much more relaxed in act 2, developing a nice relationship with Laura Michelle Kelly’s character, Sylvia.  The audience even applauded when Barrie and Sylvia finally kiss, although I have to note that they did the same when Matthew Morrison was in the role.

A month ago almost to the day I had watched Alfie as a dying, old man utter the words “to love another person is to see the face of God”.  Last night I saw Alfie as an imaginative author creating Peter Pan and becoming the father of four orphan boys.  To me this is a truly remarkable transformation and a testimony to Alfie’s skills and abilities.  He is truly brilliant in both roles.

Thanks for that great review Roberta, as ever you made me feel as if I was there watching.

FN 1st night

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Bereft.  That’s the word I’m using to explain how I feel today when I realise that there are no more Alfie Boe’s Opera Heroes to look forward to on Monday evenings.  Last night saw the final episode, and featured, to my mind, the best voice of the three, Enrico Caruso.  The programme on Maria Callas moved me more but that was due in part to the emotional connection with my father, rather than the voice itself.

Of the three singers, Caruso’s was the story I was least familiar with and Alfie fans may well have felt that there are some easy comparisons between the two singers’ early lives.  Caruso seems to have had more difficulties with women than Alfie though!

I feel that the arias chosen really complimented both his career and voice.  In many cases, they were very familiar from listening to Alfie’s own recordings. For me personally, it was a treat to hear so much about the productions Caruso appeared in, rather than focusing just on the recordings, magnificent though they are.  Hearing Puccini’s reaction to Caruso singing Che Gelida Manina was a little gem although that moment was nothing compared to the even better gem about Nellie Melba’s hot sausage in La Boheme!  Like Alfie, I so hope that was a true story (thanks to Annie for sharing the video):

I found Alfie’s comment on Caruso’s recording of Over There interesting as well although I’m afraid all I could hear over the tune was Alfie’s fellow tenor Wynne Evans and Go Compare.  Sorry!  My favourite track from the programme was Recondita Armonia:

Overall, Alfie on opera has been great and I’m sure that he has many more favourites than the three featured; he always seems to choose a different favourite when asked in interviews.  Let’s hope that another series might be on the cards at a later date.  It has also been refreshing to hear operatic arias on Radio 2 rather than their usual home of Radio 3, which tends to come across as rather elitist and snobbish about opera.  A channel for the opera purists is how I think of it and of course that is what it is and should be as there are precious few radio channels available that air operas in full.  If full operas are not your cup of tea but you do like tenors and sopranos singing certain arias, having them presented knowledgeably and enthusiastically on Radio 2 by a tenor who ‘sings a bit’ is a great introduction and will hopefully mean a few more people enjoying this wonderful music.

If you have enjoyed listening to Alfie’s opera heroes and want to explore Alfie’s own classical recordings in more depth, click here to find Alfie’s full discography.  In the meantime, here is Alfie’s version of A Vucchella which beats Caruso hands down (and I know I’m not the only one to think this way):

Alfie Boe’s Opera Heroes are still available (worldwide) on BBC iPlayer – click here.

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A week on from the question How well do you know Alfie Boe? and it’s time to see how you did.

  1. Which role will Alfie shortly take over on Broadway?                                                                                                      JM Barrie in Finding Neverland
  2. Who did Alfie pick as his favourite Javert in an interview with thoughtsofjustafan last year?                            Norm Lewis and Earl Carpenter (click here for the interview)
  3. How many brothers and sisters does Alfie have and what are their names?                                                                 8: Anne, Joseph, John, Pauline, Michael, Fran, Teresa, Maria
  4. What are the names of the two alternate Rodolfo’s in Baz Luhrman’s La Boheme?                                             David Miller and Jesus Garcia
  5. What is the name of Alfie’s management company?                                                                                                  Vector
  6. Name the support acts for Alfie’s three headline tours (Bring Him Home, Storyteller and Serenata).          Laura Wright (if you relied on the tour DVD for this answer you may have got it wrong!), Emilia Mitiku and Sol3 Mio
  7. Alfie won Glyndebourne’s Christie prize – what was the role?                                                                                 Albert Herring
  8. In which opera house was Alfie’s last operatic role?                                                                                                   Coliseum (ENO)
  9. And which opera was he performing in?                                                                                                                            The Mikado
  10. What was the name of the new song that Alfie revealed at Leeds in 2015?                                                          Against the Tide

If you got 10 you’re an Alfie Boe mastermind champion

If you got 6+, you’re a strong contender

If you got 3-5, call yourself a fan?

Less than 4 and you’re probably scratching your head and saying Alfie who?

So, how did you do?  Come and tell us if you got 10 out of 10!

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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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