BWW Interview: Broadway & West End's Alfie Boe Talks 'Classic Quadrophenia', Michael Ball and Les Miz
Alfie Boe is best known for his internationally critically acclaimed performances as Jean Valjean in the musical Les Misérables, playing the role in the Queen's Theatre in London, the Les Misérables: 25th Anniversary Concert in October 2010, and in the Broadway revival. He has been playing the lead role in Finding Neverland on Broadway beginning March 29, 2016. As well, Boe shared a Tony Award with the other members of the ensemble cast of Baz Luhrmann's 2002 revival of La bohème in 2003. He has sold over one million albums in the U.K.
Alfie is currently on tour with The Who's Pete Townsend's Classic Quadrophenia tour, along with iconic musicians/singers Pete Townsend, Billy Idol, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and a full choir, orchestra and rock band. Tickets are currently available for Pete Townsend's Classic Quadrophenia here.
You've been on Broadway in Les Miz, Finding Neverland and Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme. Now you're singing behind a rock band, orchestra and choir with Pete Townshend for Classic Quadrophenia. How did this all come about?
Pete and Rachel are good friends of mine. When the project went ahead they asked if I would try out the Classical approach to Quadrophenia. So, I spent a full day singing it through and trying different things out. As it's initially a rock composition it has a very heavy classical structure but as a vocalist it's important to try and maintain both elements. So when singing, I approach it from a classical, technical angle but include the rock style and pronunciation. Seems to work I think, or maybe you should ask Pete and Rach if I'm doing it right!!!
How big of a Who fan were you before getting involved with Pete Townshend?
I was a huge Who fan as I played the drums and Keith Moon was a master in my book. Alongside John Entwistle's dancing bass lines it was the foundation of solid rock. I believe that Pete's writing is so classically structured that somewhere inside me it ignited a flame that gave me the confidence to pursue my belief in music and its similarities between genres. Roger Daltrey's got a good set of pipes on him too!!
Last year, you released a collaboration album with Michael Ball called Together. How did that idea come about?
Michael and I have been friends for over ten years and we've always talked about collaborating in some way at some point. Now seemed to be the right time for us both. Initially it started off as planning concerts together and then it developed into an album with my record label Decca. As with the Classic Quadrophenia, it's such a blessing to be working with good friends and Michael is definitely that to me.
Who are your musical influences?
Too many to mention. Artists from many different genres.
You've gotten to play the iconic role of Jean Valjean in the Les Miserables: 25th Anniversary Concert and in the Broadway revival. How important of a role is it to you and how did you feel getting to be asked to do the Anniversary Concert?
The role of Jean ValJean Changed my life. I wouldn't be performing the way I do if it wasn't for the chance I was given playing that role. Valjean remains with me all day every day.
What are you looking forward to most about touring with Classic Quadrophenia?
How has the opera world helped you in your career?
Immensely, by providing me with the tools to get through hopefully a long career and the knowledge of music to understand a wide range of styles.
In Classic Quadrophenia, you're singing alongside some iconic singers like Billy Idol and Eddie Vedder. How fun is that for you?
These guys rock and I hope I can hold my own along-side them. They inspire me throughout my performance and give so much support on and off stage.
What can fans expect with Classic Quadrophenia?
An evening of powerful music and performances from everyone. It's an amazing piece and has become its own entity as a well-structured classical interpretation.
What's next for you?
Photo Credit: www.alfieboe.com