Saturday, 30 June 2012

Tuacahn’s Aladdin - A Thrilling High Adventure in the Desert

A year ago I had never heard of the Tuacahn Amphitheatre in southern Utah, now I can’t wait to go back. The beautiful red rock backdrop of the outdoor amphitheatre provides the perfect setting for bringing the classic story of Aladdin to life on stage. Having already staged the regional premieres of two other Disney musicals, it is easy to see why Disney Theatrical chose the Tuacahn for the first regional production of the newly expanded verison Aladdin following last year's pilot production at Seattle's 5th Avenue. Under the direction of Tuacahn’s Artistic Director Scott Anderson this show truly has to be seen to be believed as the Tuacahn brings the magic of the film to the stage.

To help bring the magic to life, the Tuacahn brought in former Disney Imagineer Geoff Puckett to create a special 3D sequence for the Cave of Wonders and Genie’s showstopping Friend Like Me. This was the first time I’ve ever had to wear 3D glasses at live theatre and I’ll admit I was a bit unsure how well it would work. I shouldn’t have worried. The effect worked wonderfully, adding a real sense of magic to the show and allowing for visuals that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible, especially once Aladdin rubbed the lamp.

Whilst the 3D scenes were certainly the most innovative use of special effects in the production, as a Tuacahn first timer it was the venue that stood out to me as the real special effect. Making full use of his outdoor setting Anderson sets the scene beautifully in the opening number as live camels walk out onto the stage, the water screen projection used for the entrance to the Cave of Wonders has a beautiful mirage like quality (and reminded me of Disney’s Fantasmic show, never a bad thing), and pyrotechnics and fireworks are used to great effect throughout the show, especially for Genie’s entrances and exits. Two of the real highlights though are saved for the second act. Act 2's opening number of Prince Ali features an actual parade across the desert landscape behind the stage, including actors riding horses, before Genie leads the procession through the palace gates and onto the stage where dancers wearing light up costumes and carrying live peacocks dazzle the audience in a huge production number (but make sure you also keep an eye on Jeff Asch’s Iago who dances along just like in the film!). But even this can’t compare with A Whole New World when Aladdin and Jasmine take flight on a magic carpet that takes them up and over the audience as they sing. It was a truly magical moment and one I will never forget, especially as the audience spontaneously burst into applause as the carpet took flight.

But, to paraphrase Genie, you can have the fancy effects and the parade, but that doesn’t mean anything if the heart isn’t there, "you have to put the Al back in Ali". Fortunately if there’s one thing better than the special effects in this production, it’s the fabulous cast that bring these characters to life with incredible heart and energy every other night.

The first characters we’re introduced to are Babkak, Omar and Kassim, who act as both Aladdin’s friends and narrators of the show. Comically played by Paul C. Vogt, Randy Aaron and Todd DuBail respectively, these characters move the story along whilst providing great comedic moments and some fantastic harmonies. One of the highlights of the show is a "new" song called High Adventure where the trio storm the palace to rescue Aladdin, singing as they battle the guards and flirt with the dancers. Michael G. Hawkins and Jeff Asch are perfectly cast as the evil duo of Jafar and Iago, playing off each other brilliantly as they plot and scheme how to get the lamp and kill our heroes. But in a show of great comic performances, it’s Edward Juvier’s Genie who really steals the show, turning in a performance that has clearly taken inspiration from Robin Williams’ portrayal of the character but at the same time firmly making the role his own. His energy on stage is incredible as he dances, sings and ad-libs his way through the show to hilarious effect, all whilst retaining the emotion of the Genie longing for his freedom.

Proud of Your Boy - Dan Domenech as Aladdin, Photo by Tuacahn
Balancing out all of the great comic performances Dan Domenech’s Aladdin and Haley Carlucci’s Jasmine provide the true heart of the show, perfectly capturing the beloved characters from the film whilst adding new depths to them thanks to the expanded story. Dan’s Aladdin both tugs at your heart strings and sends shivers down your spine as he performs Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s "lost" classic Proud of Your Boy, whilst Haley lets Jasmine’s rebellious nature shine through as she plays with her unwanted suitors in Call Me a Princess before showing her more vulnerable side as she and Aladdin share their dreams of being A Million Miles Away in a beautiful new duet written especially for the show.

Which leads me nicely to the musical numbers in the show. The first thing I will say is that the seamlessness to Aladdin is incredible. When you think that this show features work by three lyricists, it’s amazing that it all flows together as well as it does and new lyricist and book writer Chad Beguelin has my deepest thanks and respect for that. In addition to the original Ashman, Menken and Rice songs from the film (with some minor lyric changes for story reasons or to add back in unused Ashman lyrics) the show also features 7 additional "lost" songs and reprises from Ashman and Menken’s early work on Aladdin (in fact I’m tempted to say 8 as Arabian Nights has been dramatically extended using a lot of material previously only released on the Howard Sings Ashman CD) along with 2 all new songs and multiple reprises written by Menken and Beguelin specifically for this show.

Hearing these songs, especially the previously "lost" songs by Ashman and Menken, brought to life by a live orchestra and an incredible cast is a true musical treat. The fantastic choreography by Deanna Dys and tight harmonies by the core cast and ensemble made the extended Arabian Nights my favourite opening number to any Disney musical, and that level of quality carried all through the show, from the big show stopping numbers to the emotional ballads.

Whilst other Disney musicals have, for the most part, been extended adaptations of the original animated classics, Aladdin uses the extra length of its stage adaptation to add back in characters and ideas that were ultimately cut from the film before its release. The pace is faster and the tone is funnier, in fact I’d call Aladdin Disney’s first musical comedy, but at the same time it still manages to retain the emotional core of the animated classic. It was a brave choice by Disney, but if audience response at the Tuacahn is anything to go by then it has certainly paid off.

In conclusion, the Tuacahn’s production of Aladdin is a fast paced and hilarious adventure featuring a fantastic cast, incredible music, breathtaking special effects, great choreography and amazing sets and costumes, all set against the beautiful red rock backdrop of the Utah desert. The whole show was a visual and musical delight. You’ll laugh (a lot), you may even cry, and for 2½ hours you’ll be transported into a magical world of mystery and enchantment, where Genie’s appear in a puff of smoke and magic carpets soar high overhead.

I’d also like to add that whilst at the Tuacahn we had the opportunity to see their production of Hairspray which was absolutely fabulous. Like Aladdin they used the venue to incredible effect (where else would you see an actual school bus drive across the stage?) and the cast was brilliant, especially Paul C. Vogt as Edna and Bob Walton as Wilbur, who had me in absolute stitches as they performed You’re Timeless to Me. If you are planning on travelling to the Tuacahn to see Aladdin, do yourself a favour and see Hairspray as well, you won’t regret it!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Tuacahn's Aladdin is Fantastic!

Just a very quick update today to say Tuacahn's production of Aladdin: The New Stage Musical is absolutely amazing!!  We saw it on Monday night and we're just about to head to the Tuacahn again for a back stage tour, pre-show dinner and tonight's performance of the show.

I'll do a full review and write up of the show when I get back to England (give me something to do besides sleep on that long plane ride) but for now just wanted to say the show is totally amazing!!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Greetings from Utah!

Can't believe today's the day!  I'm finally seeing Aladdin tonight at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre!  It was a long journey yesterday involving 2 flights totalling 13 hours and a 2 hour drive through 3 states (we actually went through 4 timezones yesterday!) so I didn't have chance to post some great updates Tuacahn shared on their Twitter;

They have now posted their new commercial for Aladdin: The New Stage Musical on their YourTube channel;

Doesn't it look great!!

And secondly they shared an article The Salt Lake Tribune posted on the special effects created for the show.  It's great to hear that a former Disney Imagineer created the 3D process used in the show.  Make sure you check out the 3 production photos in the article's gallery!

That's all for now.  I have to say it's fantastic here in St. George.  The weather is gorgeous and the scenery is breathtaking.  Our room at the Wingate by Wyndham is really nice, a lot bigger than we expected and everyone has been friendly.  In terms of Aladdin, it was great seeing the Tuacahn's billboards from the show as we drove from Las Vegas, driving around St. George today there were more banners for the show (and Hairspray) and even in the hotel lobby there are adverts for the show!  Less than 5 hours now before we take our seats and the orchestra starts to play the opening notes of "Arabian Nights", so excited!  Oh, and finally I just want to say a big thank you to Courtney Reed for her tweet, it was really sweet and deeply appreciated.  I can promise you, we will have fun :o)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The Muny Cast for Disney's Aladdin

Hi everyone, sorry this post is so much later than promised.  I kinda realised last weekend that we were VERY close to flying out to Utah and hadn’t got anything ready!  Pretty much all set now though, so on with the show!

Robin de Jesus is Aladdin

Two time Tony Award Nominee Robin is best known for bringing the character of Sonny to life in the musical In the Heights in both the off-Broadway production and then on Broadway (so it’s quite possible he worked alongside Seattle’s original Jasmine, Courtney Reed!) for which he received one of his Tony nominations. Robin has also appeared in the Broadway production of Rent and starred as Jacob in La Cage aux Folles (another Tony nominated performance).  In addition to his Broadway credits, Robin has also appeared in film and on TV, having appeared on Law and Order: SVU and How to Make it in America and having rolls in films such as Camp and Gun Hill Road (amongst others) with more movies due out later this year.

Samantha Massell is Princess Jasmine

Born and raised in New York City, Samantha has been performing since she was a child (asking her parents for an agent when she was just 8 years old).  Samantha made her Broadway debut in Baz Luhrmann’s production of Puccini’s La Boheme in 2002, staying with the production for its full 8 month run and also performing with the cast on the 2003 Tony Awards.  Studying musical theatre (with a double major in English) at the University of Michigan, Samantha has performed in a wide variety of shows including Little Women, Next to Normal, Brigadoon and Hair.  During her summer "holidays" Samantha was working at The Muny, starring in shows like Titanic, Sound of Music, Kiss Me Kate, Singin’ in the Rain and Bye Bye Birdie.  Graduating with highest honours, Samantha has now returned to The Muny to play Princess Jasmine.

John Tartaglia is Genie

John first joined Sesame Street as a puppeteer at just 16 years old, he remained with the show for 10 seasons and still guest stars today.  Given this history it’s no surprise that John’s Broadway debut was in the original production of Avenue Q where he created the roles of Princeton and Rod (for which he was nominated for a Tony Award).  John is still with Avenue Q, now as the resident director of the current off-Broadway production.  Between starring in and then directing Avenue Q, John originated the role of Pinocchio in Shrek: The Musical and has appeared in a wide range of children’s TV series.  Indeed, John is no stranger to Disney, being know to families world wide as Johnny from Johnny and the Sprites (for which he received the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series) and having appeared on the Broadway stage as Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast.

Thom Sesma is Jafar

A familiar presence both on and off Broadway, in regional theatres and on TV, Thom (like Jonathan Freeman and Michael G. Hawkins before him) has a very impressive and extensive resume covering everything from musicals like Miss Saigon to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night to TV’s Law and Order. Thom recently starred in the all-star Shinsai: Theatre for Japan benefit held in memory of the tragic events of March 2011.  He would seem a perfect fit for Jafar, having been playing the Disney villain Scar in The Lion King for almost 3 years now, first for a 2 ½ year run in Las Vegas before returning to New York in January to play the role on Broadway opposite Seattle’s original Aladdin, Adam Jacobs in the role of Simba!

Curtis Holbrook is Iago

Curtis Holbrook is a regular at The Muny, having starred in Footloose, Kiss Me Kate and Singin’ in the Rain (for which he won a Kevin Kline Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor).  In 2009 Curtis recreated the role of Action in the Broadway revival of West Side Story, and has previously appeared on Broadway in shows such as All Shook Up, The Adams Family and Xanadu amongst others.  He has also starred in a wide variety of off-Broadway and regional productions, as well as on film (Hairspray) and TV (most recently on the musical hit Smash which has also featured an appearance by Seattle’s Genie, James Monroe Iglehart).

Eddie Korbich is Babkak

Eddie made his Disney debut as Scuttle in The Little Mermaid, staying with the show from its preview run in Denver right through to its final bow in New York, and it’s great to see him back in another Disney musical.  Eddie last appeared at The Muny in 2003's Show Boat and has an extensive Broadway resume having appeared in shows such as Sweeney Todd, Wicked, Seussical, After the Night and the Music, Carousel, Singin’ in the Rain and a Drama Desk nominated performance in The Drowsy Chaperone. He also has extensive regional, TV and voice over credits to his name.

Jason Graae is Omar

Jason has starred on Broadway in numerous shows, including A Grand Night for Singing, Falsettos, Stardust, Snoopy! and Do Black Patent Leather Pants Really Reflect Up?  His off-Broadway credits include a Drama Desk nominated performance in Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh and his one-man show has toured the US and was featured in Time Out NY’s Top 10 Cabaret Shows.  As well as Broadway, Jason has worked regularly in Los Angeles, winning 2 LA Drama Critics Circle Awards and appearing in shows such as Guys and Dolls and The Music Man.  As well as musical theatre, Jason has also appeared on TV, in shows such as Friends and Frasier, and performed opera with LA Opera. On top of this, Jason is no stranger to Disney or Alan Menken, having had a role in Home on the Range.

Francis Jue is Kassim

A regular face at The Muny, Francis has previously starred in The King and I, Mame, Peter Pan, Miss Saigon and Damn Yankees.  His most recent production with The Muny was another Disney classic last year when he brought the role of Sebastian to life in The Little Mermaid.  On Broadway he has created the role of Bun Foo in Thoroughly Modern Millie and also starred in Madame Butterfly and Pacific Overtures.  As well as at The Muny, Francis has also starred in many other regional productions, winning multiple awards for shows such as In the Next Room, Cabaret and Into the Woods.  He has also appeared on TV, starring in shows such as Law and Order and The Good Wife.

Ken Page is the Sultan

A St. Louis native, Ken Page is perhaps best know as the voice of Oogie Boogie in the Tim Burton film The Nightmare Before Christmas (a role he has returned to numerous times over the years for Disney theme park shows, video games, etc.).  On Broadway Ken has an extremely impressive resume, featuring shows such as Guys and Dolls (1976's all black revival for which he won a Theatre World Award), The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (both the original production and the revival!), Cats and It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues.  He has appeared on stage internationally in London’s West End (including the recorded production of Cats) and in Paris.  A regular star at The Muny, Ken has performed award nominated and award winning performances in shows such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables, The Wizard of Oz and Aida, along with being the voice of Audrey II in the Ashman and Menken classic Little Shop of Horrors and King Triton in last year’s production of The Little Mermaid.

And that about wraps it up!  The show runs 5-13th July and tickets are available here.  With such a short run and the popularity of both the original Seattle production and the Tuacahn’s current production, I’d make sure you get tickets sooner rather than later if you’re planning to go as they likely won’t last long.

2nd Review for Tuacahn's Aladdin

Deseret News have now posted their review for the Tuacahn's production of Aladdin: The New Stage Musical.

Like the Salt Lake Tribune's review, Deseret News are extremely positive about the show, saying that it features a "knockout cast" and "well executed song and dance numbers".  They go to to say that Haley shines as Jasmine whilst Dan's voice "shares a pleasant similarity" with that of Scott Weinger who voiced Aladdin in the animated classic.

The review ends an the extremely positive note, saying "With great direction, impressive special effects and playful humor, audiences of all ages will perceive "Disney's Aladdin" as an enjoyable classic worth viewing again." Can't ask for more than that!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Tuacahn's Aladdin - First Review, First Interview and Even More Pictures!

Well the first review is now in and it looks like the Tuacahn has a hit on it's hands!  The Salt Lake Tribune says that "Tuacahn's 'Aladdin' flies high" and "strong comic acting, onstage chemistry and a live orchestra help ground a stage show packed with special effects."

The full review can be seen here.  If you are planning on seeing the show, make sure you book your tickets (at the Tuacahn's website) as quickly as possible because the Tribune's review goes on to state that this could be a "tough ticket this summer, as many of the shows are already sold out. Last year, some 20,000 people were turned away for Tuachan’s production of "Little Mermaid" and that could easily happen for "Aladdin" this year."  Indeed Aladdin's fundraiser premiere was held to help raise money towards the Tuacahn's planned expansion so that they don't have to worry about turning people away at future productions (such as next year's Mary Poppins).

Another key thing to note from the review is that those critics who were dissatisfied with the staging of "A Whole New World" in Seattle last year will be happy to know that in this production the carpet flies high over the audience.

The Tuacahn Blog has also been updated with their own look at the cast of Aladdin: The New Stage Musical and Hairspray, with the majority of the cast impressively pulling double duty and working on both shows!  And their Facebook album has been updated to feature new promotional images of all the core cast members;

Dan Domenech as Aladdin, Photo by Tuacahn
Haley Carlucci as Princess Jasmine, Photo by Tuacahn
Edward Juvier as Genie, Photo by Tuacahn
Michael G. Hawkins as Jafar, Photo by Tuacahn

Jeff Asch as Iago, Photo by Tuacahn
Paul C. Vogt as Babkak, Photo by Tuacahn

Randy Aaron as Omar, Photo by Tuacahn

Todd Dubail as Kassim, Photo by Tuacahn

Bob Walton as the Sultan, Photo by Tuacahn
The photos really show off the fantastic costumes that have been created for this production.  Some are closer to the movie than they were in Seattle, some are wildly different, but they all look amazing.

Shortly before the show opened Dan Domenech was interviewed by the Las Vegas Review.  You can read the interview here.  There's some really nice stuff in there, including that his first CD was Aladdin when he was a kid (kinda makes me feel old - I had it on cassette!), so make sure you check it out.

That's about it for this time (I will get The Muny cast article done, I've just been busier than expected as I've suddenly realised I'm going to Utah VERY soon and haven't even started to get anything ready!).  The only thing left to mention is that the Tony Awards were last weekend and there were some fantastic wins for Disney Theatrical with Newsies and Peter and the Starcatcher bringing home a combined total of 7 awards, including the award for Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics)Written for Theatre for Alan Menken and Jack Feldman for their work on Newsies.  I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them both, all other award winners, and everyone involved with both productions.

Edit - Updated Already!!  Here's a short behind the scenes preview video at KUTV and that carpet ride does look like it has the potential to be amazing!

Official Website Launched for European Premiere

Steffen has very kindly drawn my attention to the newly launched website for the upcoming European Premiere of Aladdin: The New Stage Musical, which will be held at the Fredericia Teater in Denmark from the 4th October until the 11th November this year.

The website can be found at and I highly recommend checking it out a lot over the coming months as it's clear there's going to be a lot more content added as the show gets further into production.

Right now there's a video introducing Johannes Nymark (Aladdin) and an updated cast list;

Johannes Nymark as Aladdin
Maria Lucia Heiberg Rosenberg as Princess Jasmine
Kristine Provide Erikson as Princess Jasmine (Alternate)
Pelle Emil Hebsgaard as Genie
Teit Samsoe Clausen as Babkak
Max Emil Nissen as Omar
Kim Ace Nielsen as Kassim

The castings for Jafar and the Sultan are still to be announced.

Tickets are now on sale from the website. Steffen has his and I look forward to hearing all about the show once he's seen it!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Tuacahn's Production of Aladdin Officially Premieres Today!

Dan Domenech as Aladdin and Haley Carlucci as Princess Jasmine, Photo by The Tuacahn

After a week of previews Aladdin: The New Stage Musical officially opens tonight against the beautiful desert backdrop of the Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Utah.

Playbill has posted an article on the show, "Hop a Carpet and Fly", here.  Of particular note is that the Tuacahn's production "marks the first regional engagement of the newly expanded and revised production of Aladdin, which debuted at Seattle's 5th Avenue".  Newly expanded and revised?  I guess that explains the 3 days of meetings that Alan Menken, Chad Beguelin and Casey Nicholaw had towards the end of last year after the show had finished its pilot production in Seattle!

The article also provides further cast and crew details;

"The ensemble feastures Joline Mujica, Erica Amato, Gabrielle Reid, Chris Warren Gilbert, Shari Jordan, Brant Michaels, James Royce Edwards, Matt Densky, Ayesha Ayeni, Carlita Ector, Noelle Marion, Summerisa Bell, Erica Bryce, Amanda Jolley, Samantha Gershman, Allyson Pace, Daysha Pedersen, Jesse Lee Coffman, Brooke Aston, Oyoyo Bonner, Nicole Johnson, Bronwyn Tarboton, Samuel Warburton, JP Sarro, Ramone Owens, Troy McGee, Michael Milkanin, Olin Davidson, Wyatt Hopkins, Andre Melendez, Evan Walker, Jesse Gonzales, Chyka Jackson, Eddy Schumacher, Alexis Smith and Tino Smith.

Aladdin is choreographed by Deanna Dys and musical directed by Camille Rolla. The production has scenic design by Doug Ellis, costume design by Wilma Mickler, lighting design by Bruce Duerden, sound design by David Swenson and hair and makeup design by Matt Reeves."

Broadway World also has a short article on the show highlighting the new promotional images released by the Tuacahn.

The first images feature Dan Domenech and Haley Carlucci as Aladdin and Jasmine, and Edward Juvier as the Genie.  These images are taken from the banner that first appeared on the Tuacahn's website a few weeks ago.

Dan Domenech and Haley Carlucci as Aladdin and Jasmine, Photo by The Tuacahn

Edward Juvier as Genie, Photo by The Tuacahn
The final picture is all new and showcases Michael G. Hawkins as Jafar!

Michael G. Hawkins as Jafar, Photo by The Tuacahn
I must admit that this one surprised me the most.  Based on pictures of Aladdin and Genie (with Aladdin having a purple rather than patchwork vest and Genie being blue) I was expecting the characters to look closer to their film counterparts than they did in the 5th Avenue's production last year, so seeing Jafar looking so different to his film counterpart caught me by surprise.  Please don't take this as a negative as it's certainly not intended to be one.  My initial inclination is that the change from black and red to black and gold for Jafar may have been, in part, a creative choice based on the red rock backdrop of the amphitheatre in order to make him stand out more.  Or it could simply be a creative choice like giving Aladdin a patchwork vest.  The character is still easily recognisable as Jafar and the costume looks good, so I'm more than happy with his new look for this production.

One thing is for sure, this production is certainly ambitious!  Check out this article at The Spectrum where you can see a picture of a zipline being tested for Aladdin!  And this post at Riverdale Rising Stars by Bob Walton (who plays the Sultan in this production) where he shows off a picture taken (I presume) during rehearsals and you can see some of the set and the amazing desert backdrop.

All that remains now is for me to wish the cast, crew, and everyone at The Tuacahn the very best wishes for tonights gala fundraiser premiere of Aladdin: The New Stage Musical.  Make some magic everyone and hopefully we'll be reading fantastic reviews in the morning!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Muny and European Casting

The Muny Casting Announced for Aladdin: The New Stage Musical

"Adapted from the beloved animated feature, Disney's Aladdin presents the favorite movie characters and all of the songs from the film's Oscar-winning score, plus never-before heard Menken/Ashman songs restored from early drafts of the film. Variety hailed this new full-length stage version of Aladdin as "fresh, funny and very entertaining."

Tony Nominees Robin de Jesus and John Tartaglia star as Aladdin and the Genie, respectively. Joining them will be Jason Graae as Omar, Curtis Holbrook as Iago, Francis Jue as Kassim, Eddie Korbich as Babkak, Samantha Massell as Jasmine, Ken Page as the Sultan, and Thom Sesma as Jafar.

Disney's Aladdin is directed by Gary Griffin and choreographed by Alex Sanchez"

I also want to say sorry for the delay in posting this!  It was announced just before the bank holiday weekend so it slipped by me until read Broadway World's newsletter the other day!  More details on the cast can be found in Broadway World's article here and I'll do my own look at the cast over the weekend (hopefully!).

Single tickets are now on sale here.

European Premiere Casting
Steffen has very kindly alerted me to an update on Denmark's upcoming European premiere of Aladdin: The New Stage Musical.  The original article can be found here.  And here's the translated version (thanks to Google translator and a little editing);

"When Fredericia Theatre opens the European premiere of the musical version of Disney's Aladdin in October, it will be with Johannes Nymark, Maria Lucia and the young talent Pelle Emil Hebsgaard in the three main roles.

All sails are set for when Fredericia Theatre, on 4 October this year, can open the doors to the European premiere of Disney's musical Aladdin, which will be Fredericia Theatre's largest venture to date. Ever since the announcement of the show before Christmas the theatre has been working overtime to find the perfect cast. With just under six months until the premiere, Fredericia Theatre is now proud to present its main cast.

Theatre director Soren Moller is a proud man:

"I am happy, relieved and proud that we have found our dream cast to star in Disney's  Aladdin. These are three extremely demanding roles, and it's hard to find the right actors/actress, who have both the talent and the right look and feel for the characters. It is a cardinal point to me that we never cast someone just because they are known, but because it is precisely that they are the right person for the role. It simply provides the best theatre. In Johannes Nymark, Maria Lucia and Pelle Emil Hebsgaard I will not hesitate to say that we have found three sparkling stars as a dream match for this show."

From stepsko and rain dance to Arabic street boy in a turbanIn the title role of Aladdin, Fredericia Theatre, welcomes back Johannes Nymark. He graduated from the Danish Musical Academy Fredericia in 2009 and has appeared at the theatre in High School Musical. He got his first big breakthrough this spring in Singin 'in the Rain at the New Theatre, where he continued dancing and singing his way through cascades of rain as it fell as Don Lockwood.

After the summer he changes his shoes, stepping out with a turban and a flying carpet as the young Arab Aladdin who falls in love with the beautiful Princess Jasmine. She is played by our greatest young musical star right now, Maria Lucia.

From Disney's Beauty and the Beast to Disney's Aladdin
After success with the title role in Sugar last fall and just now in Chess at Aarhus Theatre, Maria Lucia is back in a big new Disney musical. She made her professional musical debut in Disney's Beauty and the Beast at the New Theatre seven years ago. This will be her second time playing opposite Johannes Nymark as the two played together in Les Misérables at the New Theatre three years ago.

In the role of Jasmine the audience also gets the opportunity to meet Kristine Provide Eriksen, who understudies (alternates?) for Maria Lucia. With critically acclaimed leading roles in shows such as Mamma Mia! in Tivoli and Singin 'in the Rain Kristine has established herself as a leading female musical performer.

United Talent follows in Robin Williams' footsteps
The musical's third major role is the hyperactive, turbo-speed talkative Genie better known as the spirit of the lamp, who Robin Williams memorably provided the voice for in the 1992 Disney classic Aladdin.

After extensive auditions, the theatre decided to give the role to the young talent Pelle Emil Hebsgaard, who was also educated at the Musical Academy. This will be his biggest role ever. Pelle Emil has appeared in several musicals at Fredericia Theatre and has just received lots of acclaim for his performance as Eugene in the successful production of Grease in Tivoli this spring.

In total, the ensemble consists of over 30 musical performers, singers and dancers. The show is directed and choreographed by Lynne Kurdziel,  American formato Animation Company Nørlum and Frausing Jens and Anders Jensen Digmann together create the production's scenography, Anna Juul Holm creates the many lavish costumes, and conductor Christian Baltzer will be swinging the baton for an 18 piece orchestra."

Aladdin and Jasmine, Together Again (Part 2)

I posted last month that Adam Jacobs (Aladdin) and Courtney Reed (Jasmine) were going to be starring together in Once on this Island at the Paper Mill Playhouse.  If you've been following Courtney on Twitter then you'll know that the show opened at the end of last month and has been receiving fantastic reviews.

Last night Tipawan, who has been a huge supporter of this blog, very kindly sent me this picture of Courtney and Adam from the show's premiere and I just had to share;

If you can make it to the Paper Mill this month, be sure to support Courtney and Adam and check it out.  Tickets are available at the theatre's website here.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

New Picture of Tuacahn's Aladdin and Jasmine

Just a quick update today as the Tuacahn have very kindly provided me with an promotional image of Dan Domenech and Haley Carlucci as Aladdin and Jasmine in their current production of Aladdin: The New Stage Musical.

Dan Domenech as Aladdin and Haley Carlucci as Jasmine.  Photo by The Tuacahn

The iconic image of Aladdin and Jasmine on a magic carpet ride is similar to a promotional image use by the 5th Avenue last year (and the poster released by Atlantis for the upcoming Asian Premiere) and is perhaps my favourite image released by the Tuacahn so far (and also my new backdrop).  It also offers a good look at two of the incredible costumes from this production.

Once again, many thanks to the Tuacahn for providing this image.

Check back tomorrow for updates on the upcoming Denmark production and last week's casting announcement from The Muny.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Tuacahn's Production of Aladdin Premieres Tonight!!

Dan Domenech as Aladdin, Haley Carlucci as Princess Jasmine and Edward Juvier as Genie.  Photo by The Tuacahn

Tonight's the night! The Southern Utah desert is going to be transformed into the magical land of Agrabah as the Tuacahn premiere their production of Aladdin: The New Stage Musical! Tickets for tonight, and the rest of the show's run, are still available here. So grab them while you can and be sure to experience the magic for yourself. If you're going tonight, be sure to let me know what you think in the comments section! All that's left to say that I wish everyone involved in the show the very best of luck for tonight's premiere, I'm sure it will be magical and I can't wait to see it for myself later this month!

Edit - Sorry about the terrible formatting on the original verison of this post, I was in London for the Jubilee and the Disney Concert at the Family Festival in Hyde Park so I was posting from an iPad.  Everything should be back to normal now and here's a nice Aladdin related picture from the event;

Matt Rawle and Joanna Ampil singing A Whole New World

And Broadway's original Ariel, Sierra Boggess, as she sings Part of Your World on stage once again;

Sierra Boggess sings Part of Your World in London's Hyde Park