John Owen Jones

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Tuesday 1 March saw the first night of John Owen-Jones as Jean Valjean in Broadway’s Les Mis.  As with the first nights of the previous incumbents of the role, our intrepid New York reporter, Roberta Kappus was there and I’m thrilled to bring you her review:

Years of experience on the stage were in evidence  as John Owen-Jones took over the role of Jean Valjean on Broadway. From an unrepentant convict to a dying old man, John Owen-Jones gave a masterful performance conveying  feelings and emotions flawlessly.  By a shrug of a shoulder or an added inflection on a word John changed the focus of a scene. From the beginning his skills were apparent.

On his first day of freedom when Valjean drinks from a stream you can see and feel  his sensation of release and satisfaction at the cool taste of the water. He pauses and savours both the freedom and the water and lets you feel it with him.  Most impressive was Who Am I.  John doesn’t just struggle with the question of turning himself in as another has been mistakenly identified as JVJ but  conveys the life and death consequences of his decision and includes the audience in the process. The closest I could come to this portrayal was seeing JVJ as an attorney who strongly believes in his client’s case and the audience is his jury. He strides back and forth across the front of the stage facing the audience, stretching out his arms as though to embrace the audience. It is very effective and as an audience member you feel involved.

Another striking element in his performance is the aging of JVJ. This starts almost at the beginning when he rescues the man from the runaway cart. It is not an easy task and John is winded and out of breath following the rescue. It continues through his first scene in Paris where he is no longer strong enough to fend off the thugs. In his scenes at home with Cosette his shoulders are rounded and his stride is no longer as strong and sure as in the beginning. The aging continues through his final scene when he is truly a feeble, old man. After the show I went back and read the interview with John on this blog (click here). John described his interpretation of the aging exactly as he acted it. It was masterful and no doubt came from John’s years of experience.

Les Mis is a show that is sung throughout and John does not disappoint. I almost feel as though I do not have to say anything about his singing since he is so well known through his albums and YouTube. He was excellent and his singing appeared to be effortless. Throughout he changed the impact of a line in a song by an added inflection on a word. His Bring Him Home was not only sung but also acted. His hands were clasped in prayer as he pleaded with God. He directed God’s gaze to Marius as though God was a presence on the stage.  The acting definitely strengthened the emotional impact of the song.

I have been fortunate enough to see three Jean Valjeans over the last few months – Ramin Karimloo, Alfie Boe and John Owen-Jones. Each brings his own interpretation to the role and emphasises his strengths. Each makes Les Mis his own story and each has been worth seeing.  If you have the chance, you should see John Owen-Jones in the role.

Yet another fabulous review, Roberta – thank you.  As it has been your privilege to see these three performers, it has been my pleasure and privilege to publish such gifted reviews from you.

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So, with news of Alfie’s next move (I understand the final agreements are being ironed out this week) in our minds, today it’s time to think about Les Mis.  There are just a handful of performances left to catch Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean, so it’s competition time!

The prize is a signed Les Mis playbill, a Les Mis programme (featuring Alfie), a New York City Guide featuring Alfie on the cover and a signed photo.  I’ll even throw in a stick of Classic Quadrophenia rock!

To be in with a chance of winning all you need to do is answer the following question:

How many productions of Les Mis has Alfie Boe appeared in?

Competition now closed

To be in with a chance of winning you will need to be subscribed to this blog – so do it now!

A winner will be picked at random on Saturday 27 February – good luck!

alfie les mis

To help you think, here is the next Broadway Jean Valjean, John Owen-Jones (thanks to Linda for sharing):

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The end of the Club 24601 series is upon us and this week we feature the current London Jean Valjean, and the one who gave me the title, Peter Lockyer.  Although Lockyer was the first JVJ I spoke to, I left him until last in order to bookend with the current Broadway JVJ, Alfie Boe (Boe was our very first featured Club 24601 interviewee but the last to actually be interviewed!).  It just seemed apt.

Lockyer, it turns out, has considerable history with Les Mis but not on these shores.  His first Les Mis role was Marius in the 10th anniversary Broadway production and he also took this role when the show premiered in China – Colm Wilkinson was JVJ.  Roll forward a further ten years and Lockyer was directing an amateur production of Les Mis in Hawaii and there was considerable difficulty in not only casting but also retaining, an actor in the starring role so Lockyer took up the challenge.  Thus it was in an amateur production that he first played JVJ.  Shortly after this, Lockyer was approached by the Les Mis team with a view to playing JVJ on the 25th anniversary US tour and possibly in Toronto.  As we know, Toronto didn’t happen (the role went to Ramin Karimloo) but he was cast in the 25th anniversary tour and played in over fifty cities all over the USA.  The tour finished, life went on and then Cameron Mackintosh asked Lockyer to sing for him on Broadway – the audience also included Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil, both of whom Lockyer had known and worked with in Miss Saigon amongst other projects.  He was then offered the part in London and is now well into his second year as JVJ.  Recently, Lockyer sang with John Owen-Jones, Geronimo Rauch and Colm Wilkinson at the 30th anniversary gala performance:

Locker says that the role of JVJ is “the best role in musical theatre – it goes through so much of life, everything is there on the stage”.  However, the iconic nature of the role and the music means that it can be quite daunting to think about.  To combat this, Lockyer tries to empty his mind of everything but JVJ before he steps on stage in order that the audience “only sees the story, not Peter Lockyer playing the role”.    Along with everyone else interviewed, Lockyer enthuses about the incredible score and how it has the power to move people just as much today as it did when it first opened.  In Lockyer’s words, “you can’t hear the opening chords of the show and not feel something”.

Aside from the comment about the role being too daunting if you thought about it too much, there is nothing that Lockyer dislikes about the show.  He also found it difficult to choose a favourite moment, plumping instead for all the little moments on stage such as Drink with Me for being part of the ensemble and the epilogue because it is so moving.

Thank you to all the Club 24601 participants – I’ve really enjoyed this series of interviews and listening to all the various versions of Bring Him Home.  Yes, I do have a favourite (after Alfie of course!) but I’m not going to tell you yet!  Please do leave a comment though to tell me your favourite.

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Today sees the seventh interview with the members of a very exclusive club, Club 24601 – those who have played the iconic role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.  Most have played the role in London or Broadway, one in Belgium and one in Australia but today’s interviewee, Geronimo Rauch, started his Les Mis career in Madrid.

The Spanish production was different to London (it was the 25th anniversary production) and Rauch played the role for two years before being invited to take the part in the Queens Theatre.  It wasn’t quite so simple as that however, as Cameron Macintosh wanted to hear Rauch’s English; a phone audition duly ensued and it must have gone well as he then came to London.  You won’t be surprised to hear that aside from the production differences, the main problem for Rauch in London was getting to grips with the language.  He says “I had to erase my thoughts from the Spanish version but it was easier than I thought to start again”.

One of the things Rauch says he enjoyed me most about the role was “the incredible music.  It’s so demanding, you show all your acting and singing skills.  You go from an angry prisoner to an old, sad, dying man.  It’s a beautiful journey”.   Although there are some amazing good points about the role, all the interviewees including Rauch have said that it’s incredibly hard when you’re tired with the role demanding everything, vocally, physically and emotionally.  Having said that, Rauch provided one of the most memorable quotes about the role, saying “at least we don’t have to dance”.  A dancing JVJ – can you imagine???

Asking similar questions of all the JVJ’s I spoke to, you’re bound to get some similarities of answers and the most similarities came when I asked what was their favourite song to sing.  All chose Bring Him Home without hesitation but Rauch was among those who also chose one of the most dramatic scenes of the show, the soliloquy.  Along with Alfie, Dave Willetts, Peter Karrie and Dan Koek, Rauch chose this for the vocal and acting challenge.  As for his favourite song by another character, Rauch found it hard to pin a choice down, choosing Fantine and Eponine’s songs and then going on to mention all of Javert’s songs too.

Upon leaving Les Mis, Rauch joined that band of actors who have also played the title role in Phantom of the Opera and only relinquished that role recently, to an old JVJ and Phantom, John Owen-Jones.  After three and half years, Rauch was hoping to return to Spain and record a new album, although at the time of interview, he wouldn’t say what sort of music he hoped to record!

Club 24601 will be back next week with the Australian JVJ, Simon Gleeson.

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Fourth in our series of Club 24601 interviews is our earliest Jean Valjean so far, Peter Karrie.  As well as JVJ, Peter is most associated with the title role of Phantom of the Opera, a distinction he shares with three other JVJ interviewees (John Owen-Jones, Geronimo Rauch and Dave Willetts).  He is also the second Welshman in succession to feature in our Club 24601, following John Owen-Jones last week.

Peter first played JVJ from 1986 for three years and returned twice more.  He first got the role after auditioning whilst appearing in the first national tour of Evita.  The musical director of the show went to see Rebecca Storm in Liverpool (where Evita was at the time) with a view to casting her as Fantine.  Upon seeing Peter in Evita, he also asked him to audition and he duly did, around the piano in the foyer of a Liverpool hotel.  He then repeated the process on the stage of the Palace theatre in London and was cast a week later.  During all this time he had not met Cameron Mackintosh and when  he did finally meet him, on his opening night, it was a rather unfortunate meeting to say the least.  After the show, Peter was in his dressing room with his family when there was a knock at the door and this man stood there telling Peter how much he had enjoyed the show and invited him to dinner.  Peter politely declined…only finding out the next day that the man was Cameron!

As the most experienced JVJ in this series of interviews, I asked Peter how his approach changed each time he revisited the role.  He said that it was like “slipping back into a pair of old slippers because I got on so well with the role”.  When he first took on the role and was in rehearsals, the role just wouldn’t click; something just wasn’t right until one day he found the inspiration.  After a particularly bad journey, in the rain, Peter said that “he walked into rehearsals trudging along” and that’s when he realised that the key to his portrayal would be a heavy footed trudge, “walking as if he was pulling a truck behind him”.  That was the key to Valjean’s character.

Obviously, with such a long run as JVJ, there would be many other cast changes and new actors to work closely with.  One actor who really sparked with Peter was Philip Quast, who in Peter’s words was “the best Javert I ever worked with”, although if you had been present in their first ever rehearsal, you might be forgiven for wondering how it would turn out.  Peter described to me how after a while in the role he had his own way of doing things and Quast came in and made it abundantly clear that he had his own ideas about the relationship between the two characters which led to some interesting rehearsal moments but some fabulous moments for the production.  The confrontation in the sewer, where Javert eventually stands to one side to let JVJ and Marius pass, was one such moment: in rehearsal, Quast was adamant that Peter would have to force his way past, whereas Peter was equally adamant that it was not right for the character and the story.  Quast eventually came round to Peter’s way of thinking and Javert continued to move aside at the vital moment.

In common with all the actors I interviewed, Peter mentioned the amazing score as the best thing about the role; it was challenging both musically and as an actor, “a very satisfying role”. This is reflected in his choice of favourite song, which (apart from the obligatory Bring Him Home) is the soliloquy.  Peter said that “musically, dramatically, everything was in that song”.  He went on to say that the role was “always emotional.  I never cried during the show even though I could hear the audience sobbing, crying but at the end of the show I would burst into tears, every time.”

Given that Peter is our longest serving JVJ, I couldn’t resist the temptation to ask about any disasters or funny moments that occurred in the show and he obligingly told me about “one Javert who made me corpse”.  After one cart scene, just before JVJ launches into Who Am I?, the Javert in question, turned his back in the audience, clicked his heels together and was supposed to then make his exit.  He did make his exit but not before he said (knowing full well that only Peter could hear him) “if you don’t have that cart moved, I’ll have it clamped”.  Peter said he laughed so much he had to feign a coughing fit and ran off stage to compose himself!

Lastly, Peter’s favourite song by another character was Empty Chairs and Empty Tables as it’s a “very poignant, very emotive song”.

Here is Peter singing in Les Mis Medley from 2011:

Club 24601 returns next week with an original cast member, Dave Willetts.

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Week three of the Club 24601 Jean Valjean series and this week’s focus is the youngest JVJ, John Owen-Jones.  (Try writing lots of JOJ as JVJ and see how hard it is!)  As well as being the youngest JVJ, John also played the role in the 25th anniversary touring production of Les Mis (he is the JVJ featured in the cast recording) and on Broadway.  In addition, he of course formed one quarter of the Valjean Quartet along with Alfie Boe, Colm Wilkinson and Simon Bowman at the 25th concert.  Also, very memorably and obviously unexpectedly, John was called up on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in April 2013 to sing Bring Him Home with Alfie  – what a great moment that was for the audience!

In a previous interview, I asked John if he had plans to work with Alfie again after that night and he said that he’d had no plans to work with him then either!

He is currently playing the title role in Phantom of the Opera in the West End and is tremendously good (I saw him just over a week ago).  In the course of the interview, I asked if he would ever be tempted back to Broadway and his answer was in the affirmative, saying “I would quite like to have a crack at Phantom in the Majestic one day”.

Back to Les Mis and as he is the youngest person to play JVJ, I wanted to know what was different about the way he approached the role when he was older? John said “Well, I had a more rounded outlook on life and more life experience to draw on when I was older. I had two children in the intervening years and suffered some loss in my family and had grown up a lot. I therefore was naturally able to give the character more depth and I like to think my approach to interpreting the role was more mature than when I was 26”.  The natural next question was about the differences in playing the role in the West End, on Broadway and the touring company.  It turned out that there were considerable differences – the touring version (now the Broadway show) was re-imagined from the ground up and John was given a lot of freedom to inject ideas into the show.  Some of the new bits of staging – the hint of Valjean meeting with Petit Gervais in the prologue (a very important part of Valjean’s story in the book), the chain in the hospital fight, the bishop returning at the end of the show – all came from ideas he had in rehearsal.  John says that one idea was rejected (no beard and a shaved head – can’t think why John!).  John went on to say that “these of course all informed how I approached the role. I also worked hard to age my voice and physicality as the show moves along and tried to make Valjean rougher vocally in the beginning.”  Of course I then wanted to know if he would play the role again if asked? The answer was “yes of course but I think the time would have to be right for me to do it again and I’m not quite ready at the moment.”

Throughout the interviews with the JVJ’s there has been a consistent theme of how amazing it is to sing such an incredible score night after night and John is no exception.  When asked about the best aspect of the role, he said “when you are 100% on top of it playing the role can feel like flying”; conversely, the best part is also the worst, “sometimes the role is like climbing a mountain every night if you aren’t feeling physically or vocally up to it.”  As Geronimo Rauch memorably said, at least they don’t have to dance!

Unsurprisingly, along with most of the other JVJ’s, John chose Bring Him Home as his favourite song as a singer, and uniquely in these interviews, Who Am I as an actor.  Oneof his most memorable JVJ moments concerned a rehearsal of Bring Him Home with Claude Michel Schoenberg: John said “I was rehearsing Bring Him Home with Claude-Michel in a room backstage at the Barbican. We were running through the song when he suddenly stopped playing the piano and looked slowly around the room with a quizzical look on his face. Then he looked at me and said in that wonderful French accent of his: “Wait…zis room…it is where I wrote zis song!”  What a fabulous memory to have!  I was also interested in which non JVJ songs our JVJ’s liked (or wish they could sing in the show) and John’s choice was Fantine’s I Dreamed A Dream, saying “I think it’s the best song in the show”.

As mentioned earlier, John is currently playing the Phantom in the West End and he will shortly (this week) be appearing at Bryn Terfel’s 50th birthday celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall and in Broadway to the Bay in Cardiff (click here).   His latest album, Rise, is available here:

JOJ Rise

I had the great pleasure of reviewing it earlier this year – click here to read.

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On the eve of the 30th anniversary of Les Miserables in London, let’s take a look at 26 highlights and facts from Alfie to Miz!

A is for Alfie Boe of course! Alfie played the role in the West End for six months, having first taken the role at the 25th anniversary concert, and is now Jean Valjean on Broadway

B is for bread.  JVJ is jailed for stealing a loaf of bread but the onstage bread was once responsible for almost choking Dan Koek! Whilst pretending to eat the bishops’s bread, a crumb went up Koek’s nose and lodged at the back of his throat…and stayed there for the whole of the soliloquy!

C is for Carrie Hope Fletcher. London’s current Eponine, is the younger sister of McBusted’s Tom Fletcher…who appeared with Alfie at the Royal Festival Hall on the Bring Him Home tour

D is for Do You Hear the People Sing? We can and we can’t imagine ever stopping!

E  is for Eponine, brilliant character – surely, I can’t be the only one rooting for her over Cosette in Marius’ affections?

F is for Frances Ruffelle, original Eponine, winner of a Tony award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and mum of singer Eliza Doolittle

G is for Grantaire, a glorious character who spends most of his time onstage in an alcoholic glaze

H is for Hans Peter Janssen, the only Belgian actor to play JVJ in London

I is for I Dreamed a Dream, iconic song from Fantine, memorably performed by Lea Salonga at the 25th anniversary concert.  Went into the entertainment stratosphere with Susan Boyle’s Britain’s Got Talent audition

J is for John Owen-Jones, the youngest Jean Valjean (he was 26).  He most memorable Les Mis moment came in rehearsal with Claude-Michel Schonberg for the 25th anniversary tour.  John says “I was rehearsing Bring Him Home with Claude-Michel in a room backstage at the Barbican. We were running through the song when he suddenly stopped playing the piano and looked slowly around the room with a quizzical look on his face. Then he looked at me and said in that wonderful French accent of his: “Wait…zis room…it is where I wrote zis song!”

K is for Karrie, Peter who played JVJ for three years from 1986.  In a recent interview he told me that he worked with one Javert who made him corpse one day at the end of the cart scene: “he clicked his heels together and turned to walk off, his microphone was already off, and he said so only I could hear, if you don’t have that cart moved, I’ll have it clamped!  I laughed so much I had to feign a coughing fit and run off stage quickly!

L is for Lea Salonga who played Eponine in the 10th anniversary concert and Fantine in the 25th anniversary

M is for Mackintosh, Cameron, the producer of Les Mis as well as many more musicals around the world

N is for Norm Lewis, picked as his favourite Javert by Alfie Boe in his Club 24601 interview with thoughtsofjustafan

O is for One Day More – best ending to a first act in musical theatre bar none (the combination of Michael Ball and Ramin Karimloo is superb here):

P is for Peter Lockyer, current London JVJ –  first played JVJ whilst directing an amateur production in Hawaii

Q is for the Queen’s Theatre, home to the London production

R is for revolving stage, no longer in evidence in the Broadway show.  Dave Willetts remembers several shows in the early days where the stage stopped revolving at awkward moments, notably at the end of the barricade scene when all the dead actors had to get up and walk off stage in the full glare of the lights!

S is for the Soliloquy, favourite song of several of the Club 24601 JVJ’s

T is for Thenardier – a villain we love to love

U is for understudies – Dave Willetts understudied for Colm Wilkinson before taking over the lead when Wilkinson originated the role on Broadway

V is for Valjean, one of the most iconic roles in modern musicals and the Valjean Quartet from the 25th anniversary:

W is for writers, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer

X is for Enjolras’ xylophone vest at the barricades (trust me, it’s real) – big thanks to Debbie Bannigan for telling me!

Y is for young performers – Little Eponine, Little Cosette and Gavroche

Z is for Miz which is the twitter spelling for the Broadway production

 

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The time has come, the day is here and Les Miserables is shortly to celebrate its 30th anniversary.  This also means thirty years of Jean Valjean and a considerable number of actors who have portrayed one of the most challenging roles in modern musical theatre.  Some have played the role for a short time, some played the role for a number of years and I spoke to some of the more notable names (mainly in the London production) over the past few months to get a feel for what it’s like to play such an iconic role.

In no particular order, thank you to Alfie Boe, Peter Lockyer (the current London JVJ gave me the title to this piece: Club 24601, a very exclusive club), Geronimo Rauch, John Owen-Jones, Simon Gleeson (currently in the Australian production and to lead the Manila show in 2016), Hans Peter Janssen, Peter Karrie, Dave Willetts and Dan Koek for being so generous with their time.    The role is famously challenging in all sorts of ways and something I was interested in was how the actors changed their interpretation of the role as their run got longer or in some cases, when they returned at a later date.  For John Owen-Jones, being the youngest ever JVJ at 26 meant that the emotional challenges of the role took on new meaning when he returned a few years later.  He says “I had a more rounded outlook on life and more life experience to draw on when I was older. I had two children in the intervening years and suffered some loss in my family and had grown up a lot. I therefore was naturally able to give the character more depth and I like to think my approach to interpreting the role was more mature than when I was 26”.  Hans Peter Janssen, who played the role in London from 2000 – 2003 agrees with John: “I matured in my portrayal…especially in my understanding of JVJ as an older man”.  In contrast, Geronimo Rauch who had previously played the role in Spain said the biggest difference for him in returning to the role was the language; a phone audition with Cameron Mackintosh to see if his English was good enough obviously did the trick as he then got the London job.

This piece has been some time in the works and when I interviewed Alfie, he had yet to start on Broadway.  As we know by now, Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean in New York has been a runaway success but Alfie’s focus back in July was on the production as whole.  He explained that “the main difference is that the production is completely different, it’s not the same show I performed in the West End.  Although the music is the same, the structure of the show, the choreography of it is different.  I’m so excited to embrace the new direction of the role”.  Alfie also mentioned that “although I’m a little more known than I was back then, I’m not focused on that.  I’m just focused on doing the job, doing it properly, performing each show I’m in to the highest standard”.  Judging from the reviews so far, Alfie, you’re certainly doing that!

Peter Lockyer said that JVJ is the “best role in musical theatre” as it “goes through so much of life; everything is there on stage” and again, this is reflected in the experiences of the other actors.  When asked about the best thing about playing JVJ, every single interviewee cited the emotional, vocal and physical challenge to do the part justice.  Simon Gleeson mentioned “sharing the scope of the the story with an audience” and Peter Karrie (1986 for three years) said that he found the role “very satisfying as an actor and a singer”, something that was repeated by all the interviewees.  Another common link is the music – all the actors mentioned the joy and privilege of being able to sing such an amazing score night after night.  Of course, that incredible score can also be one of the downsides to the role; John Owen-Jones compared it to “climbing a mountain if you’re not 100%” and Dan Koek (2013-2014) said that the “pressure to always be amazing is hard, especially if you’re tired”.  The last word on this goes to Geronimo though, who when asked what the worst thing about the show was answered that it was very demanding but “at least we don’t have to dance as well”.  That really would be something to see, a dancing JVJ!

Thirty years of Jean Valjean, one of the most iconic roles in musical theatre, has given us some wonderful musical moments –  all the Valjean’s interviewed mentioned the incredible score as the high point of their time in the show and I wanted to pinpoint their favourite songs: would they all choose differently?  Without exception, Bring Him Home cropped up, but as a given; no one who performs the role would say anything else I suspect.  However, several of the Valjean’s (Alfie, Dan Koek, Dave Willetts, Peter Karrie and Geronimo Rauch) also chose the same second favourite, the Soliloquy.  As Dave Willetts (1985-6 as understudy and then took over from Colm Wilkinson) says, this song shows “the journey of the character of Valjean” and in Alfie’s words, it shows “what Valjean has become and what he has come from, a chance to show the anxiety, fear and passion of the character”.  John Owen-Jones chose Bring Him Home as a singer and Who Am I as an actor whilst Peter Lockyer named the Epilogue as one of his favourite moments.  Alfie also mentioned the emotional intensity of the Epilogue but I got the feeling he would have named all his songs as his favourite!

Six months ago, when I started researching and interviewing this piece I had a good idea of how I wanted it to turn out.  I thought that there would be enough material for an interesting look at the different portrayals of Jean Valjean over the years but I never thought there would be so much material that I couldn’t use it all!  Several hours of interviews meant that there was enough material to publish this piece five times over, so I’ve decided to publish each interview in full, starting with Alfie himself, on a weekly basis.  If you want a sneak preview of Alfie’s interview, make sure you’re a subscriber – you get it ahead of everyone else so check your emails shortly for the password.

Tomorrow we get to hear if we got lucky and won tickets for the 30th anniversary gala – come and tell us if you won!

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Yes, you read that right – Alfie Boe will appear at the 30th anniversary performance of Les Mis in London on 8 October.  You may not be all that surprised at this news as Alfie’s Broadway dates were so recently changed.  Other famous Jean Valjean’s will also be appearing including the very first one, Colm Wilkinson and more recently, Geronimo Rauch and John Owen-Jones.  Frances Ruffelle and Roger Allam have also been announced.

The best news for fans is that there will be a large number of tickets available in a mobile lottery and charity auction – the money raised will be donated to Save the Children’s Syria Children’s Appeal.

Cameron Macintosh said “Having already had so many requests to attend this very special anniversary performance, we know we could sell this performance many times over. We are limited by the capacity of the Queen’s Theatre and the number of invited guests who have been involved over the 30 year history, but we wanted to make over 40% of the house available to fans. The only fair way we can get these tickets out to the fans is through a lottery. Everyone involved in Les Misérables also wanted to take the opportunity to raise as much money as they can through the distribution of tickets towards the Save the Children Syria Children’s Appeal.”

The mobile lottery will be live online from 12 noon on Friday 25 September and can be found by clicking on www.lesmis.com/30 – if you enter, good luck!

Let’s remind ourselves of the 25th anniversary concert:

If you’re lucky and get tickets come back and let us know!

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The summer concerts are over and Alfie is in the US to start rehearsals for Broadway’s Les Mis.  Ramin Karimloo will be a hard act to follow but I’m sure Alfie will do us proud – look out for the first night review in September.

Now, in case us Alfie Boe fans are likely to be ever so slightly down in the mouth and suffering from post Alfie concert syndrome, here’s a little something to keep you entertained.  Back in March, I asked you what your top Alfie moments were and you responded enthusiastically as always.  My top Alfie moments included meeting Alfie and hearing him sing Addio Signi di Gloria at Classic FM Live – click here to see the rest.

So, in no particular order, your top ten fan moments are:

  • Nancy Webb meeting Alfie at the Utah concert in March this year and getting a photo.
  • Pauline Partridge meeting Alfie unexpectedly outside the Blackpool Opera House and getting a photo.
  • Marie meeting Alfie (again unexpectedly) in the bar of the Radisson Hotel, Glasgow after the Scottish Proms in the Park, 2013.
  • Alfie giving his drumsticks to Linda W on the Bring Him Home tour 2011.
  • The red carpet of the Classic Brits 2013 – Alfie bypassed the waiting press and came straight over to see The Two Linda’s and me.  Later that evening he tweeted a photo of the 40th birthday card we had given him.
  • Cecelia meeting Alfie outside the stage door of the Royal Albert Hall on the Storyteller tour and getting a photo (thanks to Nikki Lewis) – two actually as she spoiled the first one by giving Alfie a peck on the cheek!
  • Pat, Janet and Cecelia seeing Alfie at breakfast the day the Azura cruise departed.
  • Bring Him Home with John Owen-Jones at the Royal Albert Hall.

  • Love reign O’er Me live for the first time.

  • That show stopping moment when Alfie sang with the Jean Valjean Quartet at the Les Mis 25th anniversary concert – aka the moment most of us were Boed.

You picked some amazing top Alfie moments – again got goosebumps when watching the 25th anniversary video.  Other than that, the top moments show how generous Alfie has been when meeting fans – at the Royal Albert Hall on the Storyteller tour, Alfie was actually in the car on the way home when he stopped and got out to sign autographs and have photos.

If you have any more fan memories you’d like to share, please leave a comment – we’d love to see them.

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