Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Disney's Aladdin Officially Opens in London!

Trevor Dion Nicholas as Genie, Photo by Deen van Meer
Wow!!  I can't believe it!  Tonight is the night that Disney's Aladdin officially opens in London!!!

It was a long road to Broadway but since then it's been a whirlwind of success as Aladdin has received the fastest international rollout of any Disney Theatrical production and become the first Disney musical to transfer from Broadway to the West End since The Lion King!

I am over the moon to be in the audience tonight and can't wait to see how far this incredible cast has come since previews started a few weeks ago.  I'll be the guy in the Grand Circle jumping to his feet the moment 'Friend Like Me' ends but something tells me that won't narrow it down!

There's nothing else I can say now except good luck to everyone at the Prince Edward Theatre tonight, on stage and off.  This is your moment, you've worked hard to get here, now relax and enjoy it and your passion and energy will shine on stage.  Let's make some magic!

Dean John-Wilson & Jade Ewen as Aladdin & Jasmine, Photo by Deen van Meer

Thursday, 9 June 2016

First Look at London's Aladdin!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words but in this case I think it's 1001! (ok bad joke, sorry!)

Here's our first official look at the new West End production of Disney's Aladdin!

Trevor Dion Nicholas as Genie and the cast of Aladdin, Photo by Deen van Meer

The cast of Aladdin perform Arabian Nights, Photo by Deen van Meer

Jade Ewen as Princess Jasmine with Michelle C Hopewell, Sadie-Jean Shirley & Marsha Songcome, Photo by Deen van Meer

Jade Ewen as Princess Jasmine and the cast of Aladdin, Photo by Deen van Meer

Dean John-Wilson and Jade Ewen as Aladdin and Jasmine, Photo by Deen van Meer

Dean John-Wilson as Aladdin, Photo by Deen van Meer

Trevor Dion Nicholas as Genie, Photo by Deen van Meer

Trevor Dion Nicholas and the cast of Aladdin, Photo by Deen van Meer

Dean John-Wilson as Prince Ali, Photo by Deen van Meer

Dean John-Wilson and Jade Ewen as Aladdin and Jasmine, Photo by Deen van Meer
The show looks amazing!  Hopefully this is just the first batch of photos as we still need to see the villainous Don Gallagher and Peter Howe as Jafar and Iago and Stephen Rahman-Hughes, Rachid Sabitri and Nathan Amzi as Kassim, Omar and Babkak!
Aladdin is currently in previews and officially opens Wednesday 15th June!  Tickets are available here!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Happy Birthday Dean John-Wilson!

Dean John-Wilson, Photo by Johan Persson
Wishing a very happy birthday to London's very own Aladdin, Dean John-Wilson!

Have a magical show tonight and here's hoping all your wishes come true!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Broadway's Aladdin Performs at Stars in the Alley 2016

The Cast of Broadway's Aladdin, Photo by Deen Van Meer
Fancy a free show?

Tomorrow the cast of Broadway's Aladdin will join with casts from other new and long running shows to take part in Stars in the Alley 2016!

Hosted by School of Rock's Alex Brightman and Sierra Boggess (Broadway's original Ariel), Stars in the Alley is a free concert that celebrates the end of the 2015-2016 season and the build up to this year's Tony Awards!

You can read more details right here, including a list of all the participating shows!  The concert runs 12:30-14:30 tomorrow and is sure to be a fantastic celebration of musical theatre!  Wish I could be there! If you go, I hope you have a fantastic time!

Monday, 30 May 2016

A Star is Born!

Wow!  What an amazing way to start a West End run!

I'm not going to review the show yet (as incredible as Friday's performance was, it was still a first preview and it's not fair to the cast or creative team to review the show whilst they're still working to make it the very best it can be) but as first impressions go Aladdin burst on to the West End in spectacular style!

'Arabian Nights' is still my favourite opening to any Disney show.  When they gather the full cast on stage and Genie joyfully proclaims "Everybody sings!" that wall of music just hits you and it feels amazing.  The energy in this show is insane and the ensemble give everything they've got, especially here and in the show stopping 'Friend Like Me'.  It's no exaggeration to say they make the show what it is.

The cast, from leads Dean John-Wilson and Jade Ewen as Aladdin and Jasmine through to Nathan Amzi, Rachid Sabitri and Stephen Rahman-Hughes as Aladdin's new trio of friends all gave great performances and I'm looking forward to seeing them all again on opening night.  In fact I want to give a special shout out for the trio as 'High Adventure' had me in stitches, easily one of the best songs in the show.

Trevor Dion Nicholas as Genie
A year ago I was fortunate enough to see Trevor Dion Nicholas play Genie on Broadway.  It was only after the show that I learnt it was his first night.  I never would have guessed.  I wrote back then that Trev "gave a phenomenal performance ... he didn't have easy shoes to fill but he rose to the challenge and gave the audience everything they could wish for in a Genie."

On Friday night he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was born to play this role.  I saw a star being born on that stage and I wasn't alone.  I've never seen a mid show standing ovation in the UK before (heck, I've been to shows where they don't even get an ovation at the curtain call) but Trevor, along with Dean and the incredible ensemble, brought the audience to their feet for a well deserved ovation after the tour de force that is 'Friend Like Me'.  If there is any justice in the world this will do for Trevor what it did for James Monroe Iglehart in America.  Put his name on the Olivier Award now!

There's been some minor changes to localise the show for the UK.  Some of them worked great (I loved Genie's "No, I'm from New York!" and the Bruce Forsyth reference had the crowd howling), others felt a little like change just for the sake of change (I preferred the old Pyramid joke to the Ibiza reference) but that mostly just comes down to personal preference.

With this being a first preview there were one or two minor issues.  The microphone levels seemed to be slightly off during 'These Palace Walls' and in the finale I could see something that I shouldn't have been able to (and never have before even from the front row at the New Amsterdam).  I'd also love just a little more energy from 'Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim' as, whilst a great performance, it didn't quite capture that "I want to get up and join in" feeling that it has on Broadway.  I know that's not a fair comparison and it seems like an insane ask from a cast that is already giving so much but I know they have it in them, they proved it many times over on that stage on Friday.  And I'll be honest, I know that these (and any other issues) will be long sorted by opening night.  In fact, they probably have been already!

If Friday night is any indication Aladdin is going to be the biggest thing to hit the West End this year.  The audience loved every second and the show received two well deserved standing ovations.  My hands were still raw the next day from clapping so much.  As we were driving home on Saturday all I kept thinking was "I wish we'd bought tickets for tonight, I don't want to wait another two weeks to see it again."  This show isn't a diamond in the rough, it's shining, shimmering, splendid and I can't wait for everyone to see it!

Friday, 27 May 2016

Disney's Aladdin Opens in London!

Tonight is the night!  After making magic for over two years on Broadway Disney's Aladdin has arrived in London's West End!

This is a historic day for Disney Theatrical.  The last Disney Musical to open in London was Mary Poppins, which premiered here in 2004 before transferring to Broadway, and the last to transfer from New York to London was The Lion King all the way back in 1999!  Now, the wait is finally over and we have a new Disney musical to call our own here in the UK!

I just want to take this moment to wish the very best of luck to everyone involved whether on stage or off.  You've all worked so hard for this moment, enjoy it and let that passion and energy shine on stage.  This is your night - make some magic!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016


Is it Friday yet?!
I don't think I have anything else to say!  Just two more days!!