Thursday, 14 August 2014

I Dream of Genie Episode 2

James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Last night Broadway.com posted the second episode of James Monroe Iglehart's vlog I Dream of Genie.

This week it's time to go backstage and meet the cast and it's done in true JMI style.  The cast sing the best rendition of "Happy Birthday" I've ever heard to Khori Petinaud and Don Darryl Rivera has the best copy of the Aladdin VHS ever!!

For next week's episode James is taking your questions!  Tweet your questions to him at @jamesmiglehart using the hashtag #askthegenie

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Aladdin on Broadway Pays Tribute to Robin Williams

 
In an emotional finale to the show, last night (Tuesday 12th August) James Monroe Iglehart and the cast of Aladdin led the audience in a sing-a-long of "Friend Like Me" in tribute to Robin Williams.

Disney Theatrical have very kindly provided me with the video to share on this blog;



RIP Robin Williams

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

In Memory of Robin Williams 1951-2014

 
 
This morning I woke up to the sad news that Robin Williams passed away yesterday aged 63.  Yesterday Disney's CEO Bob Iger released a statement calling Robin "a true Disney Legend, a beloved member of our family" and offered his condolences to his family.  Aladdin's official Facebook page followed suit, saying "The world just won't be the same without the magic, inspiration and laughter you brought to us all".
 
The cast of Broadway's Aladdin and Robin Williams' co-stars from the original animated Aladdin took to social media and joined the world in offering their own personal messages of remembrance and condolence with James Monroe Iglehart saying "Robin Williams! 1 of the Greatest Period. I just want to say Thank You for the laughs" #FallenHero" whilst Gilbert Gottfried offered a simple but poignant "From the Parrot to the Genie... #RIPRobinWilliams".
 
For me, Robin Williams was a large part of my childhood thanks largely to his role as the Genie.  He played more roles than I can list here and I'm ashamed to admit that I've seen less of them than I should have, especially his more recent performances, but for me three will always stand out - Peter Pan, Genie and Mrs Doubtfire.
 
Like many people my age, my introduction to Robin Williams was the Genie.  It's a performance that's stood the test of time and rightly gone down in history as one of his greatest roles (as Genie's animator Eric Goldberg said, if there was ever anyone tailor made for animation it was Robin), but it's not the performance that's stayed with me the most.  That is Mrs Doubtfire.  That may seem like a strange thing to say on a blog dedicated to Aladdin, and I've certainly seen Aladdin far more times than I've seen Mrs Doubtfire, but as a child of divorced parents that film spoke to me on a very personal level.  I've not seen the film in years (something I plan to rectify very soon) but I can still remember the ending, as Robin's character speaks to his children on TV through his reply to another child's letter, saying "some [families] live in separate homes, in separate neighbourhoods, in different areas of the country - and they may not see each other for days, or weeks, months, even years at a time.  But if there's love dear, those are the ties that bind, and you'll have a family in your heart forever. All my love to you, poppet, you're going to be all right. Bye-bye."  It touched me and spoke to a truth that I knew in my own life.  It stayed with me.
 
There has been a lot of talk in the news today about Robin Williams' battles with depression, I just pray that Peter Pan has his happy thoughts again and is able to soar to the heavens once more.  Rest in peace Robin, if anyone deserves to it's you.  Thank you for the laughter and joy that you gave to the world.
 
Many people today are saying that the Genie is free.  It's a fitting tribute, but for me the quote from Aladdin that sums up my feelings comes not from the Genie but from Aladdin;
 
"Genie, I'm... I'm gonna miss you."


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Happy Birthday Courtney Reed!


Courtney Reed as Princess Jasmine in the 2011 Pilot Production, Photo by Mark Kitaoka

One last quick update for this weekend!  I just want to wish a very happy birthday to Princess Jasmine herself, Courtney Reed!  Hope you have an incredible day Courtney.

Broadway News Round Up 13

Hi everyone!  A very short news update this weekend as the last one was only posted on Wednesday and I'm giving JMI's vlog episodes their own posts.  This week it's all about supporting good causes.

It's not often we get an Aladdin #SIP but Courtney Reed posted one yesterday, dedicated to #smileyforkylie.  This isn't the first time Courtney has shown her support for young Kylie
(two months ago she and Adam Jacobs posted this picture) and it's incredibly heart warming to see members of the theatre community coming together to help a young girl through dark days.

And last week Aladdin's Marisha Wallace took part in the Broadway Sings for The Trevor Project concert, raising money to help provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT young people aged 13-24 .  Theater Mania was there was to capture photos from the event.

Short but sweet this week.  It seems every week I'm writing about a member of the Aladdin cast doing something for a good cause and the shorter nature of this post has really helped to focus my attention on it.  It's amazing to read these stories every week about people who are going out of their way to support good causes and actually do good in the world.  Aladdin is a show about magic but this is magically in a different way, it's heart warming and serves to remind us that though we often hear about the worst side of humanity (all you need to do is turn on the news) there are people out there who are good and trying to make the world a better place, whether that's by raising money for a good cause or just helping someone to smile, it makes a difference.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

I Dream of Genie Episode 1

James Monroe Iglehart as a Genie, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Tonight (well technically last night since it's almost 2am here in the UK but the Vlog's American so I'm gonna go with it) saw the release of the first episode of James Monroe Iglehart's new Broadway.com Vlog "I Dream of Genie".

I'll post more about it in the morning but for now just make sure to check it our for yourself right here!

Night everyone!

Update - Ok, I'm a little more refreshed now and how awesome was that?!  Back stage at "The View", freestyling with Freestyle Love and Batman, lots and lots of Batman!!  I can't wait to see next week's episode as JMI introduces his Aladdin cast mates!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Broadway News Round Up 12

I know time's meant to go faster as you get old but this is crazy!  You turn thirty and the next thing you know it's been two and half weeks since the last news round up!  Hopefully this will be the start of things getting back on track!

Let's start with the big news of the last few weeks and a man who will have no problem sticking to a weekly schedule - James Monroe Iglehart is Broadway.com's latest Vlogger!!

James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Yes, our favourite Genie is now going to be staring in his own video blog series, appropriately titled "I Dream of Genie" for 8 weeks starting from tomorrow!  The full announcement can be read over at Broadway.com.  I can't wait for this series, James is a great guy and a terrific presenter so I have no doubt this series will be insightful, humorous and extremely watchable.  Hopefully it's also a prelude to more episodes of The JMI Show too (hey, a guy can wish, can't he?)

On 25th July James had one of his wishes come true as he co-hosted The View and Disney Theatrical celebrated by releasing a special video;




And Broadway.com have some footage from the show!


Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed teamed up once again, this time testing each other in EW's Disney Pop Quiz (I love how Courtney mimes dinglehopper!)

Courtney Reed, Photo by Bruce Glikas
And, Fresh from her victory over Adam, Courtney had another reason to celebrate the other week as she took part in a special handprint ceremony at Planet Hollywood in Times Square!  Broadway.com and Playbill  both have more coverage and photos from the event, including Courtney celebrating with a MASSIVE bowl of spaghetti, so make sure to check them out.

InStyle also caught up with Courtney recently to find out just how Jasmine looks that good as Courtney shared the secrets behind looking like a real life Disney princess.

Last time I mentioned that Courtney would be taking part in the annual Dare to Go Beyond summer camp and now Broadway World have some photos from the event (I can't see Courtney in them, but she did post some on Twitter).

Earlier this week Aladdin's Marisha Wallace joined other Broadway stars as part of Broadway Sings for The Trevor Project.  More details of the event and the work done by The Trevor Project can be found here.  I'm sorry I didn't know about this in enough time to give people a heads up.

Whilst on the subject of good causes, I want to give another push for support for both Dennis Stowe (who plays Razoul and others in Aladdin on Broadway) and Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher who are both due to take part in Broadway Sleeps Out to raise money for homeless children.

As part of Broadway World's "Broadway Quick Change" series Robert Hartwell helps James Monroe Iglehart put his own stamp on his dressing room with the aid of some trips to Mid Town Comics and Toys R Us (and it looks awesome!)

Between TV appearances, prepping for his video blog and having his room redecorated, James also found time to be an honorary beauty queen at Pageant as he visited the show this week.  Make sure you check out Broadway.com for the hilarious photo!

And of course it's nice to know that Aladdin continues to go strong as it continues to be the best selling new musical on Broadway and Deadline reports that Disney's Broadway Trio (Aladdin, Newsies and The Lion King) between them took almost 20% of Broadway's total box office last week!  Aladdin this week extended it's current booking period through to 1st February 2015 and tickets to the show can be bought from the official website - www.aladdinthemusical.com.

Finally, I just want to wish a belated Happy Birthday to the one and only Omar, Jonathan Schwartz who celebrated his birthday on 30th July!

That's all for this now!  I'll be back tomorrow for JMI's first "I Dream of Genie" and then this weekend for another news round up.