Broadway Bromance: Musical Stars Michael Ball and Alfie Boe on Their New Album and Why They'll Always Love 'Les Mis'
publish date: 2017-05-22
Michael Ball and Alfie Boe may trace their decade-long friendship to a London production of Kismet that Boe describes as “terrible,” but their parallel careers have been anything but. Ball, 54, nabbed Olivier Awards in 2008 and 2013 for playing Edna Turnblad in Hairspray and the titular role in Sweeney Todd on the West End, respectively, while Boe, 43, starred in Broadway’s Finding Neverland, succeeding Matthew Morrison and Tony Yazbeck as Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie last year.
So the pair's decision to team up for a musical project may be a logical one — it’s just a wonder it took so long. In 2016, the pair released Together, a 14-song collection of stage and screen classics, like “Over the Rainbow” and “Music of the Night.” The album’s highlight, however, is the “Les Misérables Suite,” a medley of “Bring Him Home,” “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” and “I Dreamed a Dream” that feels fitting, given that the show was a milestone for both actors: In 1985, Ball starred as Marius in the original London production, and Boe’s performance as Jean Valjean was immortalized on 2010’s Les Misérables: 25th Anniversary Concert album. (He went on to reprise the role in the hit Broadway revival five years later).
“We didn’t plan on it being this huge event that it’s turned into,” Ball tells of the album, over the phone. “It started with just a couple of one-off concerts in the U.K. and then it kind of snowballed into this amazing year we’ve had with the record. The stars were in alignment, and it all came together.” (Clearly, theater fans thought so, too: Together was a surprise chart-topper in the U.K. during the holiday season.)