I first heard of Alfie Boe when the casting was announced for the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Miserables in London. I subsequently saw Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean in the West End about a year later. When I learned Alfie Boe would be performing in the DC area this October, I was ecstatic and quickly snatched up a few tickets. Later, I learned that Alfie’s concert at the Birchmere sold out in about 7 hours. Wow!
To say I was excited for this concert would be an understatement. I had been hoping to see Alfie again and finally meet him since I saw him perform in London in September of 2011. When the concert started, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I presumed there would be more than simply musical theatre and opera songs, but I imagined he would sing some of both of those genres since that’s what he’s known for. During the first act, he did focus on musical theatre and opera. We heard “Bring Him Home,” “Being Alive,” and “Wheels of a Dream,” which are three of my favorites from his albums.
Most of the second act of the show focused on rock and roll music. Alfie encouraged audience members to dance, and as a fan sitting in the front row, I willingly obeyed. To my surprise, not many people got up to dance. During the start of the song, “Drift Away,” Alfie said, “I really hope you all will dance for this one.” Early on in the song, Alfie brought a girl on stage to dance with him. Then, Alfie started to come towards my end of the stage. Alfie’s eyes searched the crowd, and they eventually led to me! He reached out his hand, and I accepted it as I walked onto the stage with him. Quickly becoming a participant in Alfie’s show, I felt a great responsibility to honor this opportunity and make the most of it. Thus, I danced and demonstrated my enthusiasm and awe for Alfie’s performance. As Alfie neared the end of the song “Drift Away,” he suggested the audience sing along. Suddenly, Alfie turned to me and gave me an encouraging look while handing me the mike. Realizing he wanted me to sing, I obliged singing, “Give me the beat boys and free my soul. I wanna get lost in your rock ‘n’ roll and drift away.” Just like that, I had not only shared a stage with Alfie Boe, but I had sung with Alfie Boe in front of a sold-out crowd at a roughly 500-seat venue! That moment is what I will forever refer to as my professional stage debut. I never imagined I would get to share the stage with a performer of Alfie’s caliber, let alone a performer I appreciated, admired, and respected as much as Alfie. It was like my own version of a fairy-tale.
As the song came to a close, Alfie Boe acknowledged his “backup dancers” and invited us to stay on stage for his last song. I could not stop smiling as I danced with Alfie for another song. The experience was so much more than I ever expected. Having recently seen Wicked, all I could think was, “Did that really just happen?!” I had the pleasure of officially meeting Alfie after the show, and he mentioned I did a good job while onstage. I could have melted. Nearly three days later, I am still reeling and reveling in all the wonderful things that happened at Alfie’s concert, and I encourage anyone who has the chance to see Alfie Boe perform live to take advantage of it.