The Boys’ Vought on Ice Song: How a Trio of Broadway Vets Came to Sing ‘Let’s Put the Christ Back in Christmas’

Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Boys Season 4, Episodes 1-3. Proceed at your own risk!

Tilda Swinton isn’t the only famous voice in The Boys Season 4: During the third episode, viewers were treated a musical number, “Let’s Put the Christ Back in Christmas,” featuring Vought on Ice skaters dressed as Homelander, Maeve and Jesus.

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But it was a trio of Broadway veterans, not supes, belting out the song: Tony Award nominee Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon) as Homelander, Tony Award nominee Shoshana Bean (Wicked, Hairspray) as Maeve and Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin, Hamilton) as Jesus.

The man behind the music and lyrics for “Let’s Put the Christ Back in Christmas” is Christopher Lennertz, who has written all of the original songs for The Boys, including Starlight’s ode to Translucent, “Never Truly Vanish” (for which he received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics), A-Train’s rap “Faster” and Crimson Countess’ “Chimps Don’t Cry.” Lennertz also worked on Supernatural, writing the music for “A Single Man Tear” and receiving an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Music for A Series for the pilot’s score.

When showrunner Eric Kripke brought the Vought on Ice idea to his frequent collaborator, Lennertz decided to go all out.

“He came to me when he was writing it, and he’s like, ‘I want to blow the doors off this one, and I want to get these Tony-winning Broadway superstars to record it.’ I was just like, ‘Hey, baby, go do your thing. If you can get them, I’ll find a way to pay for them,'” Kripke recalls. “He came back to me, and he said, ‘They’re all in,’ and, obviously, I was thrilled. It was just so fun to see just the size of that song and what it evolved into.”

Even though they’re both superhero musicals, the Vought on Ice number is not a knock at Marvel’s Rogers: The Musical, Kripke says.

“I would say it’s way more a dig at Disney on Ice,” he notes. “And the way that it’s lip-synced, but like just off a little bit, and the sparkly outfits. All of that was something we’d wanted to do for quite a while.”

Plus, “Chris Lennertz wrote the songs for Rogers: The Musical. So I would never, never go after my good old friend Chris Lennertz,” Kripke adds.

Read on as Lennertz shares his reaction to the finished production of “Let’s Put the Christ Back in Christmas” and reveals how he got that Broadway trio involved.

TVLINE | What sort of direction did Eric give you for this song number when he brought the idea to you?
Eric’s the best ever. He just sends me the script, and it just said, “Vought is trying to improve Homelander’s image by leaning into the conservative evangelist movement, and basically, it should be like Ice Capades or Disney on Ice, but it’s all about trying to cancel Christmas.” He said, “It’s ice skating,” so we figured out really early it should probably be that Disney Broadway style. I said, “Can we shoot for the stars? I want it to be sort of a trio between Homelander, Maeve and Jesus. Can we see if we can get some Broadway knockouts?” which we used some back channels [to get], and we ended up managing to get [them]. I wanted Shoshana and Andrew and James, and, literally, thank goodness, we got them all and, man, they blew us away! It was so great.

The Boys Vought on Ice
The Boys Vought on Ice

TVLINE | Did you just reach out to their reps? Or did you have any kind of previous relationships with the three of them?
I had a previous relationship with James because I’ve co-written a lot of stuff with Alan Menken [for ABC’s Galavant and the movie Sausage Party], and I had met James through that. And then I tried a bunch of ways to get to Andrew, including trying to get through Josh Gad, who I’ve done a couple of movies with and a charity thing. I found some back channels, finally got to Andrew that way. And then Shoshana was a recommendation. I’ve worked with a friend of hers out in LA who’s a producer, and I was like, “You gotta introduce me to Shoshana!” and so I managed to finally get to them. We were a little nervous, like, “Are you guys all going to be OK with being sort of offensive in a loving way, but pushing the boundaries of taste a little bit?” and all three of them were literally like, “Yes, let’s do it.” I kind of knew Andrew was great after Book of Mormon. But the other thing was [with] James, I’m like, “OK, so here’s the thing, you’re gonna play Jesus,” which is, obviously, a pretty big order already, and I need that big, booming voice. But then when he found out it was for The Boys, he’s a huge Boys fan, and he’s a huge comic book fan. So this was like a dream for him, which was amazing.

TVLINE | How difficult was it to tap into that Boys humor with the lyrics? Or did that come naturally for you?
I have to say it comes pretty naturally. I love satire. My dad was a poli sci professor for his whole career, and he used to teach a course on political humor. He always loved political tongue-in-cheek humor, things like the New Yorker cartoons where they sort of push the boundaries. So I sort of grew up with things like that. When it comes to comedy, I love that kind of comedy where you’re sort of poking fun but in a way that shows you really love the medium. I’m literally the hugest Christmas fan in the world. We celebrate half Christmas in my family. My family calls me Christmas Chris, or sometimes they call me Clark Griswold. I’m a huge Christmas a fan. So I love writing Christmas music. I’ve written Christmas songs before. And I’m a huge Broadway fan. So when Eric was like, “Hey, do you want to write this Christmas Broadway-ish kind of thing that’s also, like, funny and kind of, like, on the edge?” it was like a perfect assignment for me. And I’m such a huge fan of that South Park-y, Book of Mormon kind of humor that it really just fell right in.

The Boys Vought on Ice
The Boys Vought on Ice

TVLINE | How did this one compare to your past experiences writing songs for the show? Did this present any specific kind of challenges? Was this easier, more fun, more difficult?
It was probably one of the easiest ones to write in terms of words and style. It was one of the biggest undertakings after that to get it recorded and produced. We recorded Andrew in Abbey Road in London. We recorded James and Shoshana in New York. And then we recorded the orchestra in Nashville. So it was a big, giant undertaking. But it came pretty quickly once I got the general concept. Like I said, because it’s so in my wheelhouse, it’s sort of exactly what I would have asked for had they said, “What do you want to write?” and Kripke has a tendency to sort of do that a lot because we have a similar sense of humor, I think.

But I’ve loved all the songs for the show. I think this is probably our shining moment, at least for now. I think Kripke agrees. To be able to write something this epic, [where] you also have the best performers possible in the world performing it, and you’re making what I would consider to be humor based on social commentary that The Boys does so well… I feel like we’re really leaning into what The Boys humor is all about in such a way that we didn’t have to wonder what the tone was going to be because it’s exactly what we do on the show, and four years in, we kind of all know how it works. So we’re just looking, like, “What’s our next vehicle? Is it going to be a rap thing?’ Last year, it was boy bands and ‘Chimps Don’t Cry,’ and this year, it’s like, ‘All right, ice skating. Great, let’s do this!” And there might be some fun things coming up, too.

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TVLINE | When you saw it all put together for the first time, with the music, the voices and the skating, what was your reaction? And did you get to show it to Andrew, Shoshana and James?
I didn’t actually. I think they just saw it today for the first time, and I’ve already gotten texts from James and Andrew: “Holy s–t.” Yeah, they were blown away.

After I sent the song in and Eric approved it, I had a great conversation with our choreographer, Amy Wright, who’s done all the choreography for the show, and she’s like, “No, no, I’m going to go out of control with this, and I’m going to really lean into the nativity scene.” And so I’m like, “Oh, yeah, I get it.” I figured that meant mostly the set and then there were going to be actual human beings skating, wise men and whatever. And then I get the first cut back of this thing and about 10 or 15 seconds in, I’m like, “Wait a second, is the donkey skating?!” and I’m like, “Holy s–t, the donkey’s skating, and it’s got two people in it. It’s a two-person skating donkey!” I couldn’t believe how ridiculous and awesome that was. And I immediately texted Eric. I was like, “Dude, you got a two-person, skating f–king donkey! That is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!” and I literally cried tears of hilarity for like an hour. I couldn’t even work because I was just like laughing so hard because that was brilliant, and Jesus coming down from the rafters was pure gold.

TVLINE | I asked Eric if this was his dig at Marvel’s Rogers: The Musical, and he mentioned that you were involved in that. Is that true?
He was absolutely right about that. I wrote all of the new songs and co-wrote lyrics for the full Disney California Adventure version that premiered last summer. So I wrote six or five original new songs, in addition to the other songs that already existed, one being “Save the City,” which was from Hawkeye, that Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman wrote, and then “Star-Spangled Man,” which was Alan Menken and David Zippel, from the first Captain America. So then I wrote all the new songs for Rogers: The Musical. Apparently, I’m the guy who you’re supposed to call when you’re going to do a superhero musical. So I will be that guy, because I love superheroes and I love musicals, and that Venn diagram is very small. Usually, people who like one don’t like the other. I’m one of the few people who loves both. So I’m pretty happy to be the Broadway superhero guy, and I will take that title to my grave for the rest of my career, happily.

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