Last week my wife and I caught a concert by Alex Boye, a hot commodity in Utah music circles these days. James Brown was long considered “the hardest-working man in show business,” but after seeing Boye, I think he wins the title.
He’s a triple-threat performer — he can act, sing and dance. And he blends musical styles in a stunning way.
Rumor has it he’s the reincarnation of Sammy Davis Jr.
America may or may not have talent, but on the NBC show where he performed recently, Alex Boye proved he does.
And watching him work in Logan gave me a crazy idea.
What if he recorded and released “I Believe,” the powerhouse anthem from “The Book of Mormon” musical?
I know it sounds strange, but let me explain. Boye is one of the few people who could make it work.
In the musical, “I Believe” is sung by Elder Price. And he belts it out of the park:
I believe that the Lord, God, created the universe.
I believe that he sent his only Son to die for my sins.
Then comes what the audience hears as a punch line:
And I believe that ancient Jews built boats and sailed to America.
At that point, the people in the great and spacious building of the theater laugh long and hard at the hapless elder singing his heart out onstage.
Because the song needles the Mormons, it doesn’t work outside the context of the show. Unlike “Memory” from “Cats” or “Bring Him Home” from "Les Miserables," the song “I Believe” can’t stand on its own because it derides a religion.
But what if a performer like Boye turned the tables? What if he sang the song straight up, as an anthem of his faith?
Lines like “I believe the Garden of Eden is in Jackson County Missouri” wouldn’t be sung for smiles. They’d be sung in earnest, as testimony. And if Boye recorded the song before an audience of church members, the jeers of the Broadway crowd could give way to the cheers of believers.
"The Book of Mormon" musical as a whole is profane and irreverent. And in "I Believe," there are lines that are insensitive and not put in proper context. Those, of course, would have to be tweaked. But clever people could work out all the bugs.
And I think the song’s writers would play along. They’ve already made more money than Nebuchadnezzar from the show. I’m betting they’d like to see a new twist and court a new audience.
Singing “I Believe” would be a bold move for Boye. But then, he’s made his bones by being bold.
Singers are always looking for a hit. Mormons are looking for some worthy way to use the popularity of “The Book of Mormon” musical in a positive way. And I imagine the creators of the show are looking for ways to keep their creation fresh.
And I’d get credit for coming up with idea.
As far as I can tell, that makes it a win-win-win and win situation.
Somebody out there who knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows Alex, let him know.
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