Alfie Boe From the US to the UK: New PBS Special, CD, and Role in Mr. Selfridge Drama


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Singer/actor Alfie Boe has had a busy July, traveling back and forth from the United States to his native Britain.

Starting August 3rd, PBS stations nationwide are airing the special, “Alfie Boe - Storyteller At The Royal Albert Hall.” The musical event was recorded April 8 and April 9 at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London, England. In association with the special, the British tenor is releasing a DVD of the concert that also includes an interview with him on stage at the RAH. While it is expected that the DVD will be offered as some part of a pledge gift by PBS, it was also just announced that the concert is now available for pre-order through Amazon UK and will be released there on December 2.

Airdates across the land are still being set for what is Boe's second PBS special. The first, “Alfie Boe Live,” was recorded at the Royal Festival Hall in December 2011. While it was devoted extensively to musical showtunes, Boe's newest effort is based on his CD called “Storyteller” that was released in the UK last November and which will be released in the United States on August 6. Boe has already filmed segments for the PBS national airing, something he did after singing his signature song, “Bring Him Home,” on the West Lawn of the US Capitol during the annual Memorial Day Concert. In addition, the singer was in California in early July to work on preparations for the US CD release.

That July trip also had Boe performing with some legendary studio musicians, including Booker T. Jones and Leland Sklar. One song that is known to have been recorded was “Keep Me in Your Heart” that had previously been done by the late Warren Zevon. Following Zevon's death from cancer in September 2003, the tune was nominated for Song of the Year by the Grammys. It is anticipated that this song is part of Boe's next CD. His manager, Neil Ferris, did reveal on Facebook that Boe was recording for “what potentially is a brand new album” while in Los Angeles. Also just announced is that a still unnamed CD (presumed to be the one recorded in California during July) will be released in the UK on November 4, 2013. The US date of release will no doubt lag behind and be sometime in 2014, but most Alfie Boe devotees will order it in advance through Amazon UK as many already have.


Boe's time in the US was followed up this week by the exciting news that he was filming a guest appearance in the UK's popular 1900's costume drama, Mr. Selfridge, that stars Jeremy Piven, Katherine Kelly, Frances O’Connor, and Amanda Abbington. The episode will air in 2014, midway through its second season. He plays Richard Chapman, a friend of Kelly's character, Lady Mae Loxley. A song is bound to be part of the hour since Chapman is also a tenor and is asked by Lady Mae to perform at a charity benefit. In addition, Lady Mae's marriage is apparently on the rocks, and Chapman offers her some warmth and comfort while in town.

Prior to filming, Boe was quoted in ITV's press release as saying, “I’m a huge fan of Mr Selfridge and am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the series. I’m looking forward to seeing the set and meeting the cast.” Via Twitter, he said on July 17, “Just had an amazing first day on set with Katherine Kelly, she's got a great voice” and followed that up the next day with, “Great day on set of Mr Selfridge, the cast and crew are amazing and all, so lovely. Thanks to them all.”

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The cast seems to be happy to have Boe on board as well. Abbington tweeted on the 18th, “@AlfieBoe so lovely to meet you today. See you tomorrow for more insane clapping and maniacal smiling! From me. Obviously...x.” Meanwhile, actress Lynn Hayter added a tweet of her own, saying "@AlfieBoe an absolute honour to be on the same set as you today, what a privilege to hear & see you sing live, incredible! Thank you Sir."

Boe loves acting and has always wanted to get his foot in the door. Coming from an operatic background, he has a number of performances under his belt, including multiple portrayals of Rudolfo in La Boheme as well as other classics, such as La Traviata and The Pearl Fishers. Americans may remember him best, however, from his triumphant performance as Jean Valjean in the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert that played in theaters globally from the O2 Arena in London back in October 2010. He was given an audition for the Tom Hooper Les Miserables film, but was quoted as saying he felt like they'd already decided on Hugh Jackman by that time.

The singer has often expressed his love of costumes and period pieces and has said he would love to appear on the UK's well known Downtown Abbey series that airs in America over PBS stations. He did record two songs for the show, "If You Were the Only Girl (In the World)" and "Roses of Picardy" that also appear on the official show soundtrack.

Kate Lewis, Mr. Selfridge's Executive Producer, stated in the press release, “As soon as we introduced the character of Richard Chapman we knew Alfie Boe would be the perfect person to play him. We were delighted when he accepted the role.”

With filming of Mr. Selfridge completed, Boe returned to Los Angeles on July 20th. Though the exact purpose of the return is not yet clear, most suspect he could be doing more work on the new album as well as continuing to prep for the US Storyteller CD release next month.

Also on tap for Boe in August is a video chat on Spreecast August 13 and a sold-out concert in New York City at Joe's Pub two days later.