Thursday, 30 July 2015

London Makes Way for Prince Ali! Aladdin Comes to the West End!

Adam Jacobs & Courtney Reed as Aladdin & Jasmine, Photo by Deen Van Meer
It's finally official!  Disney's Aladdin is coming to London's West End next year!

Announced on the new site, Aladdin Auditions, Broadway's smash hit will open in London in summer 2016!  And if you're a singer or dancer then you could be part of the magic!  Open auditions are due to take place in August and September in London, Birmingham and Manchester to find the talented individuals who will bring this show to life!  If you think you have what it takes then make sure you go along, you never know, you could be making magic on a West End stage next summer!

I'm so excited and so happy right now! It's been rumoured for ages so it feels great to finally have it confirmed that this amazing show will be opening here next year!  Guess I'll be spending a lot of time in London next year!

Monday, 27 July 2015

1,000,000 Wishes

James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann
"You get a wish!  You get a wish!  You're going to ITALY!!  The Genie is here!"

Last week Disney's Aladdin was granting wishes both on stage and off as it welcomed it's one millionth guest!!



WOW!!  How about that?!  Talk about making magic!!

Last Chance to See Merwin Foard in Aladdin

Merwin Foard as Sultan in Aladdin
Sad news this week as Merwin Foard is leaving the cast of Broadway's Aladdin.

Merwin has been with the show since its pre-Broadway run in Toronto in 2013.  As standby for both Jafar and Sultan, Merwin has been at the New Amsterdam Theatre every night, ready to perform either role at a moment's notice.  Disney fans may recognise his voice from everything from Pocahontas to Broadway's The Little Mermaid to this year's Frozen Fever (and Aladdin fans will know him as the singing voice of Aladdin's father, Cassim, in Aladdin and the King of Thieves).

Last week he played Jafar for the final time and this week he will be bringing the Sultan to life from tomorrow night thru to his final bow on Saturday 1st August.  I was lucky enough to see Merwin as Sultan earlier this year and he gave a fantastic performance.  If you have the chance to see him this week then I'd really encourage you to go, you won't regret it.

If you've missed Merwin in Aladdin then he may soon be visiting a city near you in the US national tour of The Sound of Music (alongside another Disney favourite, Ashley Brown) where he will be playing Max Detweiler.  Please go along and show your support.

Merwin, I just want to wish you all the best for your final week and for the future.  Keep making magic!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Happy 4th Anniversary to 5th Avenue's Aladdin!

Adam Jacobs and James Monroe Iglehart in 5th Avenue's Pilot Production of Aladdin, Photo by Chris Bennion
Four years ago tonight Aladdin: The New Stage Musical officially opened at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre!

Looking back now it seems hard to believe that when the show premiered Broadway was just a dream in the hearts of fans and cast alike.  Whilst the show may have needed some creative magic to reach its full potential, Aladdin won the hearts of Seattle audiences who saw it for the diamond in the rough that it was.

Happy anniversary to the cast and creative team of Aladdin, past and present, and to everyone at The 5th Avenue for starting this amazing journey that proves wishes really do come true!


Aladdin played at The 5th Avenue Theatre 7-31 July 2011 and is currently making Disney magic at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre in New York where I can't wait to see it again!

Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed in 5th Avenue's Pilot Production of Aladdin, Photo by Mark Kitaoka

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Broadway News Round Up 38

Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed as Aladdin and Jasmine, Photo by Deen Van Meer
Hey everyone, sorry there was no update last week.  I had a vet emergency but happily all's well that ends well so it's back to the show this week!

But first a quick heads up!  Merwin Foard, who has been with Aladdin from the beginning of it's Broadway run and sung in many of your favourite Disney animated classics (including providing Cassim's singing voice in Aladdin and the King of Thieves) recently tweeted "Come see me at the New Amsterdam Theatre July 21-25. Might be your last chance ;)"  I was lucky enough to catch Merwin as the Sultan earlier this year and he's an excellent performer.  If you want to see him please make sure you take this chance!  Merwin, I wish you all the best for the future.  Thank you for being a wonderful Sultan and (I'm sure) a suitably evil and villainous Jafar.

Remember those special Playbill covers that Aladdin had?  Well now you can have them as a background on your tablet or smart phone!  Check them out right here!

Princess Jasmine herself, Courtney Reed, is featured in the latest Broadway Style Guide as she puts her friendship with The Lion King's Chantel Riley to the test in The BFF Game.  And make sure you catch the behind the scenes video right here on Courtney's Instagram.

Ever wondered what Genie might sing in the shower?  Me neither, but James Monroe Iglehart has the answer!

Aladdin's Daisy Hobbs talks with Backstage and the Acting Income podcast about being an actor, being an entrepreneur and the similarities between the two.

Broadway World reports that Aladdin's Dance Captain Michael Mindlin will be one of three alum returning to the Princeton Ballet School this summer to teach at the school's Summer Intensive course.

Aladdin's director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw certainly likes to keep busy!  Now he's re-teaming with Aladdin's writer/lyricist Chad Beguelin, along with his The Drowsey Chaperone writer Bob Martin, on the development of another new musical - Prom Musical.  Michael James Scott, who was one of Aladdin's original standbys and is currently starring in Nicholaw's Something Rotten!, is also taking part in the development lab.

If you want to help a good cause and get some great Aladdin Broadway goodies at the same time then make sure you check out the Bidding For Good auctions for the NYC Dance Alliance Foundation to help raise money for scholarships.  This is your chance to bid on the souvenir package that you can normally only get with VIP tickets and if you're a Disney Pin fan then you definitely want to check it out because this pin is different to the one you get in the fan pack (along with the CD and program) in the theatre.

Young theatre group the Roswell Showstoppers recently travelled to New York when the young performers and their families took in the sights and shows of the city, including a backstage tour of the New Amsterdam Theatre and a performance of Aladdin.  But it gets better - they were later joined by a cast member who taught them some numbers from the show!  It certainly sounds like the trip inspired the next generation of performers!

And, of course, the biggest news of last week was the cast of Aladdin going to Washington to perform at the White House for the Kids State Dinner!  I honestly expected one or two songs and that would be it but the cast actually performed for over 20 minutes!  If you missed it on Friday then you're in luck because someone recorded it and has put the whole thing on YouTube (thank you Maura!) so watch and enjoy!


 
You can also see the official White House photos from the event right here.
 
That's it for the Broadway cast of Aladdin but make sure you also check out this footage from the new Tokyo production of the show!
 

 
And finally, how long has it been since you saw Aladdin on the big screen?  In celebration of the film's upcoming Blu-Ray release D23 are offering fans the opportunity to vote on which cities will receive a big screen D23 screening.  You can cast your vote here!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Watch Aladdin Live from the White House!

The Cast of Aladdin, Photo by Deen Van Meer
In less than half an hour the cast of Broadway's Aladdin will be performing live at the White House for the Kids State Dinner and thanks to White House Live you can watch the magic as it happens!

This special once in a life time performance will take place at 12:45pm EDT and you can watch it right here or streamed below!


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Cast Album Update

We've know this was coming but now the first details have been released regarding the American Premiere Studio Recording of The Hunchback of Notre Dame!
 
"The American Premiere Studio Recording of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the only stage collaboration from two masters of the American musical, Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, will be released on Friday, November 20th.
 
This studio recording, the first ever of the acclaimed American stage score based on the Academy Award-nominated film, will feature a 25 piece orchestra, a choir of 32 and some of Broadway's most formidable talent: Michael Arden (Big River) as Quasimodo, Patrick Page (Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark) as Dom Claude Frollo, Ciara Renee (Pippin) as Esmeralda, Andrew Samonsky (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) as Captain Phoebus de Martin and Erik Liberman (Lovemusik) as Clopin Trouillefou.
 
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a dramatic retelling of the famous love story on a grand scale, with a lush, emotionally rich score.  The musical features a score by Alan Menken (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast) and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin)."
 
I am so happy right now!  I mean it was pretty much a given that the cast would return but it's nice to have it officially confirmed.
 
Disney is still keeping their brand name away from the production (you can see above Disney isn't mentioned at all in the product description and the logo just says "based on" the novel and the Disney film) and the CD is actually coming from Ghostlight/Sh-K-Boom Records instead of Walt Disney Records who usually handle Disney Theatrical's releases.  But that's perhaps the smart play for this piece, which is a lot heavier and features more adult themes than Disney's traditional productions.  Ultimately it's not important, what matters is that this fantastic cast and this incredible music is going to be preserved forever in a cast recording.  I sincerely hope that this CD contains, as much as possible, every single note from this magnificent production.