Fans of Les Miserables are cheering today at the news that singer Alfie Boe is in talks to play the role of Jean Valjean on Broadway. According to a story on The Hollywood Reporter's website, the Tony Award winner confirmed, "It's in the very early stages of talking about it really. The option might be there."
In 2010, Boe played Valjean in a celebrated appearance at the O2 Arena in London. The Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert was a huge success and changed the singer's life, literally. Before that, he'd been known primarily as an opera singer, England's best, in fact. He's sung for the Royal Family and has a long mantle full of awards at home for his amazing vocal abilities.
When the Fleetwood-reared Boe sang Bring Him Home, the audience rose and gave him a thunderous round of applause that went on and on, so much so that he broke character and blew them a kiss. Reports say it went for 4 1/2 minutes. Decca wasted no time signing Boe to a record deal, and now he sings his heart's delight, a mixture of rock, country, folk, musical theater, and classical Neapolitan tunes that send his fans' hearts soaring. On rare occasions, he throws in an aria.
After the O2 performance, Boe returned to the role of Valjean for five months at the Queen's Theater on the West End. The role was physically demanding, and the singer ended up with broken fingers and bad knees for a while. Had he not had a concert tour booked, he very well could have extended his successful stint in the production.
Rumors about the return of Les Miserables to Broadway have been going on for months, but this is the first indication for Boe's fans that he is being considered for the part. Many were disappointed that he wasn't cast in the new Les Mis movie that is slated to open on Christmas Day. Instead, the role went to Hugh Jackman, in spite of the fact that the show's creator, Cameron Mackintosh, highly backed Boe for the role.
Says Boe of Jackman's hiring, "I think Hugh Jackman will do a wonderful job, I have to say. I wish I could have been a part of it. I really do wish I had had the opportunit to take part. But I think Hugh will do a wonderful job. I wish him the best of luck. It's a wonderful character to play and the beauty of Jean Valjean is people bring something new to it, everyone who plays the character, brings something new to it. So he will bring something new to the role that I didn't."
He has said this before, and it is heartfelt. He truly believes every actor brings something new to a role, no matter what the role is.
While the talks move forward, Boe is keeping very busy. His autobiography, My Story, has spent the last three weeks on the UK's Best Seller list, and he has a new album, Storyteller, scheduled for release in November. That's right after he concludes a tour of America in October. He'll be performing across the country, from Virginia to California. In the past two weeks, he has participated in charity rock concerts performing to rave reviews with the likes of Brian May, Alice Cooper, Ian Paice, and Bruce Dickson. A rocker at heart, Boe is living his dream, leaving opera behind, at least for the moment. Having already dueted with one of his rock idols, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Boe would love to perform with some of his other heroes, like Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, and Bruce Springsteen.
There's another star he's longing to sing with, too, and that's Elmo. The Sesame Street muppet is high up on the list, thanks to Boe's daughter, Gracie, who is 4 1/2. She's eager for her daddy to sing with her favorite muppet. With his beautiful wife, American-born Sarah, Boe also has a 9 1/2 month old son, Alfie, named not after him, but after Boe's father, Alfred, who was responsible for tuning the singer into an enjoyment of all kinds of music with a record collection that ranged from Richard Tauber to Slim Whitman.
Boe is eager to do more musical theater and get into acting more deeply. His operatic and stage appearances in productions such as La Boheme for which he won a special Tony Award in 2003, La Traviata, and The Pearl Fishers prove he has the ability. The timing just needs to be right.
Fans are already planning trips to New York on the hopes that the powers that be behind the return of Les Miserables on Broadway make the right call and sign Boe to a nice, long run as Jean Valjean.
Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean in the finale of the O2 Anniversary Concert: