Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone!

James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Original Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann
Well it's just gone midnight here in the UK so it's now Christmas Eve.  All that's left to say for this year is that I wish everyone reading this, and all the cast and crew of Aladdin, a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.  May all your wishes come true.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

When Aladdin Met Aladdin

Last night the cast of Aladdin met a very special guest, the original voice of Aladdin, Scott Weinger!

Both Adam Jacobs and James Monroe Iglehart have posted pictures of themselves with Scott, with JMI calling it "Disney Nerd Heaven" in his tweet.

I can only imagine what an amazing experience this must have been for them!  I think it's safe to say that if it weren't for Scott's performance as Aladdin this blog wouldn't exist, he was my Disney hero as a kid.  Hopefully one day I'll be able to thank him for that and the incredible experiences that doing this has given me.

Last weekend also saw the release of the new Broadway teaser trailer for the show;


It's getting close now!!!

And finally, I've updated the last post but figured I'd put this here as well, Princess Jasmine's new song is titled Beyond These Palace Walls.  This comes directly from Brandon O'Neill's official fan page on Facebook where I also learnt that Rajah is in the show (in a manner of speaking)!  Kassim's sword is named after Jasmine's pet tiger from the film :)  His page is well worth a "like", the Lego Kassim mini figure is especially awesome!

Tickets for the final Toronto performances of Aladdin can be bought here (show runs through January 5th 2014) and Broadway tickets for next Spring can be bought here (previews begin 26th February), so why not give someone a magical Christmas present they'll never forgot!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A New Song for Jasmine and a D23 Fan Event for Broadway's Aladdin

Was my last post really only December 2nd?  It feels like so much longer and these last 10 days have seen some pretty big announcements for Aladdin.

Firstly the big news!  This week saw a pretty major change to the show with Ashman/Menken's Call Me a Princess (and presumably the Menken/Beguelin reprise as well) being cut and a new Menken/Beguelin song being added for Princess Jasmine.  I'm still trying to find out the title of this new song and I'll update this post as soon as I do.

Courtney Reed as Princess Jasmine and Brandt Martinez, Photo by Cylla  Von Tiedemann
 There's been no official word on the reason for this change but I'm guessing that this is being done (at least partially) in reaction to some of the criticisms of Jasmine's character in some of the reviews.  Honestly, Call Me a Princess isn't one of my favourite Ashman/Menken songs and back when they first announced that they'd be using some of the "lost" songs in the show I fully expected it not to make the cut due to how much the character changed between concept and screen.  That said, I absolutely loved how Chad Beguelin made the song work in the show and in that context it's a great little number that I really enjoyed so I'm sad to see it go.  You can see Courtney performing the song here when she was promoting Aladdin's Pilot Production back in 2011.

As for the new song, no idea!  I'm guessing it'll be something more along the lines of To Be Free from the Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular show at Disney's California Adventure, giving Jasmine her own "I want" song that better reflects her true character.

Staying in Toronto for a moment, here's a quick round up of a few more reviews;

Garebian on the Arts gives a largely positive review whilst the Toronto Sun, the Huffington Post and The Post offer more mixed reviews that still include plenty of positives.  And yes, everyone still loves JMI (the Huffington Post calls him "ten kinds of fabulous, each with its own theme song").  One of the best things Disney could do when this show hits Broadway, even before the official opening, is let James do more episodes of his JMI Show like he did in Seattle.  I know fans who thought the original cast were perfect based just on those interviews and 5th Avenue's Spotlight Night.  Let him do his thing and just wish as hard as you can that he stays with Aladdin as long as he did Memphis.

NY1 was also in Toronto for the show's opening and they've posted a short report here that includes some comments from cast and crew.  If you're a Time Warner Cable customer there's also a video you can watch (I'm assuming it's the same as the written report but I can't view it here in the UK).

And now, moving to Broadway, the 2nd big announcement of this week; D23's Member Night at Aladdin on Broadway!  D23 is offering Gold and Silver members "a welcome fit for Prince Ali Ababwa" on 14th March 2014 with premium orchestra seats to see the show followed by a private Q&A with the cast!  In addition to the standard premium seat benefits (non-alcoholic interval drink, souvenir lanyard, etc.) members will also receive an additional special gift for being D23 members.  So if you fancy seeing the show and getting the chance to meet and talk with the cast make sure you click on the above link for more details.  Tickets go on sale December 18th at 10am PT.

I'd also like to say a huge congratulations to Alan Menken who was this week awarded the York Theatre Company's Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre at the 22nd Oscar Hammerstein Award Gala.  The evening was hosted by Tony Nominee Norm Lewis (who played King Triton in The Little Mermaid) and one of the evening's performances saw him duetting with Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid's Ariel).

And finally, if you live in New York you probably know that Aladdin's publicity drive has now started.  The marquee at the New Amsterdam Theatre is up!!


Tickets for the remainder of Aladdin's Toronto run can be bought here and tickets for the Broadway run are now on sale at the show's official site.

Updated - Thanks to Brandon O'Neill's official Facebook page I can now confirm that Jasmine's new song is called Beyond These Palace Walls.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Mister Aladdin Sir, Buy a Ticket or Two or Three!

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann
Disney's Aladdin: Broadway's New Musical Comedy is now officially on sale!

Tickets can by bought from the show's official sites www.aladdinbroadway.com and www.aladdinthemusical.com, so if you didn't get tickets during the pre-sale make sure to grab yours now!  Broadway previews begin 26th February 2014 with the show officially opening 20th March.

Or, if you're in Toronto this holiday season, tickets are still available for Aladdin's pre-Broadway run at the Ed Mirvish Theatre where the show is running until 5th January.  Tickets can be bought here.

I've got mine and I can't wait!!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Last Chance to Get Discounted Priority Seats for Aladdin on Broadway


Just a quick post to remind everyone that today is your last chance to get the discounted priority tickets to Disney's Aladdin on Broadway before the general ticket sale opens tomorrow.

You can get a priority code by signing up to email alerts at either of the show's official sites www.aladdinbroadway.com and the new www.aladdinthemusical.com (I'm not sure why there's now two official sites, so far both appear to be identical).  Audiences in Toronto are loving the show and this is your chance to get some of the best seats in the house at fantastic prices for next spring's Broadway debut!  So go ahead and make a wish, grab your flying carpet and head to New York to see a whole new world in a whole new way as Aladdin arrives on Broadway.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Two More Reviews and a LOT of News


Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann
Two more reviews surfaced yesterday, the first was a mixed to positive review by The Vancouver Sun ("Aladdin's Magic May Charm Kids, but Maybe Not Their Parents").  The review is well worth checking out as it also contains a short video from The Canadian Press featuring interviews with the cast.  Though the reviewer felt that the show may appeal more to kids than adults they also say "it's hard to argue with simple, straightforward fun" and that's exactly what this show is - a lot of fun!

The second review by The National Post's Robert Cushman has quite possibly my favourite title of any review; "Forget the Lion, this Aladdin is King of the Stage".  Like the Vancouver Sun review, this review also highlights how much fun the show is, stating "though it may not be as outlandishly imaginative as The Lion King, it has its own kind of inventiveness and is frankly more fun".  Continuing the comparison to The Lion King the Cushman goes on to state "and it has, obviously, a much better score. Alan Menken's music, and the lyrics of the late and much lamented Howard Ashman, have the kind of verve and wit that used to be taken for granted on Broadway and is now mostly a memory".  Cushman praises Chad Beguelin's book and "new lyrics worthy of the Ashman tradition", Adam Jacobs' engaging performance as Aladdin, Courtney Reed for giving Jasmine more dimension than she had in the film and calls James Monroe Iglehart's Genie a legend brought to life.  Honestly, with the exception of A Whole New World (the song not the staging) I don't think there's anything he didn't like!  He closes the review fittingly, saying "what a joy to encounter a big, splashy, funny musical that works".  A few more reviews like that would be nice!!

Ok, now for some news updates!  In the week leading up to opening night there was a lot of stuff I didn't get time to post so here's a quick round up!

Firstly a BIG congratulations to Don Darryl Rivera (Iago) and Brandon O'Neill (Kassim) who have both been nominated in the 2013 Broadway World Seattle Awards!  Don is up for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Local) for his performance in Illyria and Brandon is up for Best Leading Actor in a Musical (Local) for his performance in The Pirates of Penzance.  Please click on the above link and show them your support!

Disney Legend Alan Menken did an interview with The Star's Richard Ouzounian discussing his life and bringing Aladdin to the stage ("Alan Menken Puts Howard Ashman's Vision into Aladdin The New Musical").  It's a very touching piece with Alan saying that even now Howard is still with him.  Talking about Aladdin he says "I see what's on the stage now, and I say, 'Yes, this is what Howard would have wanted all along.'"

CHCH have posted a short article and video containing interviews with Adam Jacobs, Courtney Reed, James Monroe Iglehart and Jonathan Freeman.

Canada's CTV News have posted a short video interview with James Monroe Iglehart about playing the Genie, Jonathan Freeman is there too but this is definitely the JMI Show ;)

But don't worry, if you want to hear from Jafar then Broadway Direct have posted an interview with Jonathan Freeman that you can read here.  They've also posted an interview with director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw here.

Both of the Broadway Direct articles contain special priority codes that will allow you access to the advanced ticket sale for Aladdin on Broadway, so if you haven't already signed up for the official site's updates and want a code this is the place to go!  Or if you're a D23 member you can go here.  I can't find the link (probably because I'm not a member) but apparently Disney Vacation Club members also have a code available to them.  All advanced tickets are discounted from their standard rate, so book now before general sales start 2nd December!

And speaking of tickets Broadway World is reporting that more tickets are due to be released for the final dates of Aladdin's pre-Broadway Toronto run.  Additional seats for shows December 17th through January 5th go on sale tomorrow morning at 9AM and can be bought here.

Disney on Broadway have posted a new video to their YouTube channel;


It's the same video that Mirvish posted a few weeks back, now featuring the Broadway title design and dates, but still great to watch.

Cleveland.com have included Aladdin in an article of new attractions in Toronto, saying that "the magic carpet scene ... is worth the price of the ticket all by itself".

And finally, now that the official photos have been released and the show is officially open Courtney Reed has posted the first SIP (Saturday Intermission Pic) of the show.  The photo, taken by Michael James Scott, shows her and Adam Jacobs along with their dolls :)

Friday, 22 November 2013

Critics Divided but Audiences Love Disney's Aladdin


Last night was the official opening of Aladdin's pre-Broadway run in Toronto, this morning the first reviews started to appear online and, like with the 5th Avenue's Pilot Production, they were rather mixed.

First came The Star's review, "Aladdin's Carpet Ride Lacking Some Magic" which gave the show 2 1/2 Stars (presumably out of 5).  The review praised James Monroe Iglehart's Genie and the show stopping Friend Like Me but criticises the book, saying it doesn't make you care about the fate of the characters.  This was quickly followed by The Globe and Mail's review, "There's a Carpet, but Not Much Magic in Aladdin", which gave the show 2 1/2 out of 4 Stars, praising the "unbelievable sights" of the set design and the magic carpet but says that the show lacks charm and heart.

James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

This afternoon took a more positive turn.  Canada's UrbanMoms website posted their review calling the show "opulent and entertaining".

Broadway World's review, "Broadway Bound Aladdin Opens in Toronto", was again mixed, but unlike the earlier reviews it felt more positive.  Whilst it again criticised the book, echoing The Star's opinion that it doesn't make you care enough about the characters, it goes on to say that "Problems aside, there's still a lot of magic in Aladdin".  It says Adam Jacobs is "likeable and endearing" as Aladdin and that he and Courtney Reed "sound incredible" singing A Whole New World, before going on to praise James Monroe Iglehart's Genie (he seems to be the one thing all reviewers agree is magic!).  Not to be left out the villains are also highlighted, with Jonathan Freeman's Jafar likened to an old friend you didn't realise you'd missed and noting that Don Darryl Rivera's Iago "gets some of the biggest laughs of the night and shows off a good sense of comic timing that helps him land some of the show's better jokes".

So the reviews are mixed, just like they were in 2011.  And honestly, it doesn't matter.  Yes, it would be amazing if the title of this post could have been "Critics and Audiences Raving About Disney's Aladdin!", but at the end of the day it's not important.  Aladdin was never meant to come to Broadway.  It was meant to be a 3 week Pilot Production so the show could be licensed out.  The mixed critics reactions didn't change that.  It was the overwhelmingly positive audience response, first in Seattle and then regionally and internationally, that convinced Disney Theatrical that Aladdin has what it takes to be a hit on Broadway and that same audience support has continued in Toronto.  Here's a sample of what they're saying on Twitter and on the show's Facebook page;

Ajitha Cyriac - amazing show!! great production. beautiful ensemble!!!! powerful voices!!

@AprilKalloo - LOVED @aladdin! My cheeks hurt & my hands are stinging...I laughed so much and  clapped so hard! I'd see it ten more times!

Tina Clarkson - Amazing! Too funny, fabulous costumes and choreography and the Genie was the star of the show.

@TheChrisHowson - I saw #AladdinTO last night and it was phenomenal. I smell some Tony's in the near future! It is here until January 5th #MustSee @Mirvish

Amber Hershberger - Travelled from Ohio to see the show ... Absolutely, jaw droppingly, fantastic!!!

And speaking of audience support, there's currently another show playing in Toronto that also has a Broadway opening next Spring, the original production opened to reviews so bad that producer Cameron MacKintosh thought they might kill the show, yet over quarter of a century later Les Miserables is still going strong.  Now obviously Aladdin is a very different show to Les Mis and you can't really compare the two (I love them both for different reasons), but in one very important way they are the same - if it weren't for audience support, in spite of the reviews, they wouldn't be here.  Closer to home Beauty and the Beast is said to have opened to just one positive review and that ran for 13 magical years on Broadway.

It's also important to remember that this is part of the reason shows have out of town try outs, so they can see what works and what needs to be improved before opening on Broadway.  The Little Mermaid got a completely new ending during it's pre-Broadway Denver run.  If the creative think changes are necessary then they'll make them.  Look at A Whole New World, the staging of that song was one of the most divisive issues raised in the Seattle reviews, now it's almost universally praised as a highlight of the show (and there have been no reports of any technical issues since those very early previews so I think it's safe to say it's all smooth flying now).

I want to end with another quote from the Broadway World review;

"When the carpet first appears with Jacobs' Aladdin standing proudly atop it, there were audible gasps from the audience.  When our lovebirds soar across the night sky (accented by a stunning moon and twinkling stars) you felt like you were soaring with them.

I think the little boy beside me described it better than anyone when he gasped 'wow! There really IS a magic carpet'. It was a moment of theatrical magic combined with a stunningly beautiful song, and it served as a beautiful reminder of why people love Aladdin and why they will go to the theatre in droves to see it come to life before their very eyes."

Couldn't have put it better myself!

Aladdin is now open at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto where it will run until 5th January 2014.  Tickets are on sale here.  Broadway Previews begin February 26th, advance tickets are now on sale here.

Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed as Aladdin and Jasmine, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Disney's Aladdin Officially Opens in Toronto!


Tonight is the night!  After 3 weeks of previews the Toronto run of Disney's Aladdin officially opens tonight!!

I just want to wish everyone at the Ed Mirvish Theatre the very best of luck, from the ushers to the stars on stage to the friends and family supporting them in the audience.  This is your night, enjoy it and make some magic!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Don Darryl Rivera Dedicates Iago to those Affected by Typhoon Haiyan


Last week Don Darryl Rivera (Iago) made the following announcement on his official Facebook page;

"As a proud Filipino American, I'm dedicating my performance in Aladdin - The Musical to the people affected by Typhoon Haiyan.  Every little bit helps, so please consider donating

Super Typhoon Haiyan Strikes the Philippines - UNICEF USA"

If you can, please join Don in supporting those affected by this tragedy.

Thank you.

Friday, 15 November 2013

First Photos of Toronto's Aladdin!

They're finally here!  Today Disney have released the first photos of their new, Broadway bound, production of Aladdin.  Currently previewing in Toronto Aladdin is taking audiences on a musical journey of magic, laughter and romance.  These first pictures offer those who can't make it to Toronto their first glimpse of our heroes, Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, Courtney Reed as Princess Jasmine and James Monroe Iglehart as Genie.

Proud of Your Boy - Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Princesses Run Away - Courtney Reed as Princess Jasmine and Brandt Martinez, Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Never had a Friend Like Me - James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Care to go for a ride? - Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed as Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
Tickets for the pre-Broadway run of Aladdin are now on sale at www.mirvish.com/shows/aladdin

Edit - Just want to say a big thank you to Disney Theatrical for providing me with much higher quality versions of the photos.  Click to see them in BIG!

Monday, 11 November 2013

On Sale Today - Aladdin on Broadway!


Today's the day!  Earlier today Aladdin's official website received a bit of a make over.  Cast and creative details have been added, an FAQ and a new "About The Show" section including updates from Twitter and Facebook.  Best of all, the show's official opening night is confirmed as Thursday March 20th 2014 and priority tickets are now on sale!!

Tickets go on sale to the general public December 2nd but if you sign up to receive email alerts then you will receive a priority access code that allows you to purchase tickets between now and December 1st at special discounted rates.  That's right, not only do you get priority access to tickets, you get them cheaper as well!!  If, like me, you signed up for emails months ago but didn't receive a pre-sale email try signing up again with a new email address. I didn't get the email, signed up again today and got nothing, then Jane signed up a few hours later with her email address (which hadn't signed up before) and it came straight through.  I'm now counting the days until we see the show!  I can't wait :)

In addition to regular tickets, Aladdin also offers Premium tickets that include superior seating, a complimentary non-alcoholic beverage, a souvenir ticket lanyard and "unique merchandise opportunities".  I'm not sure what that last part means (a copy of the souvenir programme when they become available?) but that didn't stop me booking them!

When you book your tickets you will also have the chance to pre-purchase some of the show's merchandise (this option was for standard and premium tickets so these aren't the "unique merchandise opportunities").  Here's the show towel and the Genie's Lamp ornament;



And yes, I bought these as well!  I figured it'd save me money when I'm there!

So what are you waiting for? If you're planning on going to New York to see the show next year head on over to www.aladdinbroadway.com, sign up for priority ticket access and book those tickets.  Aladdin: Broadway's New Musical Comedy is now booking from February 26th through June 22nd 2014!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Aladdin Toronto Previews Update and Song List


Disney's Aladdin has been taking audiences in Toronto on a magic carpet ride for just over a week now, but if you were there last night then you weren't seeing exactly the same show as previous audiences.  Like with all good preview runs, Aladdin's creative team is watching, seeing what works and what can be improved.

Yesterday afternoon Adam Jacobs (Aladdin) posted on his official Facebook page "New lines, new changes! C'mon brain! #AladdinTO #PreviewRealness"

This is an incredibly exciting and creative time for any show and I'd love to be there to watch Aladdin as it evolves from that first preview last week to the show that will be coming to Broadway next year.

And speaking of exciting and creative, here's a short interview that Alan Menken did with The Canadian Press during Toronto rehearsals.

A very favourable early review can be found here and discussion on the Broadway World message boards is generally positive.  However it's important to remember that the show is still in previews and still changing (as evidenced above) so these comments, whilst certainly valid and interesting to read, are based on a "work in progress" production.

For me the most exciting thing to come out of these early reviews and discussions has to be the new song list for the Toronto production (if you want to compare, the Seattle song list is here);

ACT 1
Arabian Nights - Babkak, Omar, Kassim and Company
One Jump Ahead - Aladdin and Crowd
Proud of Your Boy - Aladdin
Arabian Nights Reprise 1 - Babkak, Omar and Kassim
Call Me a Princess - Jasmine and Attendants
Call Me a Princess Reprise - Jasmine
Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim - Babkak, Omar, Aladdin and Kassim
A Million Miles Away - Aladdin and Jasmine
Diamond in the Rough - Jafar, Iago and Aladdin
Friend Like Me - Genie and Company
Arabian Nights Reprise 2 - Babkak, Omar and Kassim
Act 1 Finale (Friend Like Me Reprise/Proud of Your Boy Reprise 1) - Genie and Aladdin

ACT 2
Prince Ali - Genie, Babkak, Omar, Kassim and Company
Arabian Nights Reprise 3 - Babkak, Omar and Kassim
A Whole New World - Aladdin and Jasmine
High Adventure - Babkak, Omar and Kassim
Somebody's Got Your Back - Genie, Aladdin, Babkak, Omar and Kassim
Proud of Your Boy Reprise 2 - Aladdin
Prince Ali Reprise - Jafar, Sultan and Company
Genie's Exit (Somebody's Got Your Back Reprise) - Genie
Finale Ultimo (Arabian Nights Reprise 4/A Whole New World Reprise) - Company

There's definitely been some interesting changes since the original 5th Avenue Pilot Production and last year's regional productions.

Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim has been moved to later in the show.  This used to follow Arabian Nights so Aladdin's introduction is now more in line with the film with One Jump Ahead (and I have to wonder if this means they've added in the original "It begins on a dark night..." Cave of Wonders scene as well).

One Jump Ahead Reprise is missing from the song list.  It could simply be that they're counting it with Proud of Your Boy as the original production used it as a lead in, or it could be cut as it's no longer needed with Proud of Your Boy in the show.  Personally I liked it as a lead in but I can also understand why they would cut it as Proud of Your Boy covers the same emotional beats.

Why Me (the only "new" Menken/Rice song in the Pilot Production) has been cut.  This was sung by Jafar and Iago as they cast a spell searching for the Diamond in the Rough.

Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim now takes place in the marketplace before Aladdin meets Jasmine.  Thinking about it this actually does work better.

The original Arabian Nights Reprise 2 has been cut (Toronto's Reprise 2 was Seattle's Reprise 3)  This Ashman/Menken verse was sung by Babkak, Omar and Kassim as Aladdin's "uncle" Jafar led him to the Cave of Wonders.  It has been replaced by the new Menken/Beguelin song Diamond in the Rough.

In Act 2 new reprises of Arabian Nights and Proud of Your Boy have been added.  I'm not sure about Arabian Nights Reprise 3 but I'd guess that Proud of Your Boy Reprise 2 takes place after Aladdin breaks his promise to Genie and realises he needs to tell Jasmine the truth about who he really is.

It appears that the pre-wedding reprise of High Adventure has been cut and that Sultan and the crowd have been added to Prince Ali Reprise (unless the Wedding Day Suite which included High Adventure Reprise and Prince Ali Reprise has just been renamed to the more well known Prince Ali Reprise)

That's all for this Arabian Night ;)

Edit - Thanks to Everdream0's comment below we can now confirm that (at least at the moment) One Jump Ahead Reprise is still in the show and serves as a lead in to Proud of Your Boy like it did in the Seattle Pilot and the subsequent regional and international productions.  We can also confirm that High Adventure Reprise is indeed cut from the show.

Thanks again Everdream0.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Aladdin Opens to Standing Ovations


Adam Jacobs as Aladdin in the 2011Seattle Pilot Production, Photo by Chris Bennion

 Last night's World Premiere of Aladdin received a standing ovation from a thrilled audience.  After the show Don Darryl Rivera (Iago) tweeted "What a beautiful sight to see a standing ovation on our first preview! #AladdinTO #CanYouFeelTheLoveTonight #WhoopsOtherShow" and James Monroe Iglehart (Genie) tweeted simply "I love this show! @Aladdin having a ball!"

There were reports of a few technical difficulties, but this is live theatre and that's why they have preview runs before the show officially opens.  I still remember seeing the first preview of The Little Mermaid in Denver and being told if we were really lucky we might even see a stage hand ("they're wearing black and don't have fins").  Despite the minor technical hiccups the audience loved the show and online reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, Aladdin is off to an incredible start.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Today's the Day - A Whole New World in A Whole New Way


It's finally here!  Tonight is the World Premiere of Disney Theatrical's new, Broadway bound, production of Aladdin!!  There's nothing left to say now but good luck to everyone involved.  It's been a long journey from the early work shops and original Pilot Production and it's all been leading to this.  This is your moment, you've earned it, enjoy it.  Best wishes to you all.  Let's make some magic!

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Final Countdown - Aladdin Begins Toronto Previews this Friday!


This Friday the doors of the Ed Mirvish Theatre will open, the audience will enter, the lights will go down and the pre-Broadway run of Aladdin will begin.

Today is the show's sitzprobe day, after a month of rehearsals in New York and 2 weeks of Tech in Toronto, the cast will be singing with a full orchestra for the first time.  It's an exciting day for any show and I think James Monroe Iglehart summed it up best when he tweeted "Nothing like Menken Music with Orchestra!"
 
Toronto born Jaz Sealey will play Prince Abdullah and understudy Kassim

News keeps coming in from around the web as well.  On Friday the Toronto Star published an article that includes interviews with/comments from Thomas Schumacher, Casey Nicholaw, Chad Beguelin and James Monroe Iglehart, and also has some nice rehearsal pictures from New York (this piece was written before rehearsals moved to Toronto).  The Winnipeg Free News and CBC News have both released pieces focused on Jaz Sealey, the sole Canadian member of the ensemble who portrays Prince Abdullah (if you've ever heard the formerly deleted song "Call Me a Princess" you'll recognise the name) and understudies Kassim.  Both are great articles that give some insight into the audition process, the tone of the show and the creative process of building a show from the ground up.

The World Premiere of this new production of Aladdin: Broadway's New Musical Comedy will be this Friday night!  The official opening night is 21st November and the show will continue through January 5th 2014 before moving to Broadway where previews begin 26th February.  Tickets for the Toronto production can be bought here.  If you can make it to Toronto to see the show then I would urge you to do so.  Not only do you get to see the show before it hits Broadway, but you can also catch a glimpse of the creative process at work as tweaks and improvements are made throughout the shows run (The Little Mermaid had a new ending before the show left Denver).  Plus, it's a great show, the Tuacahn production was the most fun I've had at the theatre in years, true Disney magic at work.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Behind the Scenes Video - Bringing Aladdin to the Stage in Toronto

The news keeps coming today!  Mirvish Productions have just posted a behind the scenes sneak preview at Aladdin, including interviews with Composer Alan Menken, Writer/Lyricist Chad Beguelin, Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw and President & Producer of Disney Theatrical Thomas Schumacher.

Check it out here;


And here's the link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USig3ZxnkH4

Early days, but it looks great!

680 News Interviews Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed

Well that was faster than I expected!

Fresh from Twitter;

AdamJacobsNYC - First of many Aladdin interviews! RT "@680News: [VIDEO] @Aladdin actors excited to bring Disney musical to #Toronto

His tweet linked to 680 News' interview with himself and Courtney Reed where they discuss playing Aladdin and Jasmine in the upcoming production of AladdinEnjoy :)

Expect this to be the first of many updates over the next few weeks.  Here we go!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Aladdin Moves to Toronto - First Day of Tech and Win Tickets with Canadian Living!


After a month of rehearsals in New York, this week saw the cast and crew of Aladdin pack their bags and head off to Toronto and the Ed Mirvish Theatre for their final month of rehearsals ahead of November's opening night!  Today is the first day of Tech Rehearsal and from everything I've read online it's going great!  This is going to be an amazing show!

If you live in Canada then make sure you enter Canadian Living's Aladdin competion.  You could win a trip for 2 to see the show, including tickets, hotel and return airfare.  The competition is only open to Canadian residents (guess I'm not wishing hard enough for these competitions to be international!) and you can enter once a day until November 11th, so go ahead and make a wish, say a prayer and you could be seeing the show for free.

That's all for now, but with the show opening next month expect the news and updates to pick up the pace as we count down to opening night.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Full Cast Announced for Disney's Aladdin - 7 Seattle Principles Return!


Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed as Aladdin and Jasmine in 2011's Pilot Production, Photo by Mark Kitaoka

Today was the first day of rehearsals for Aladdin: Broadway's New Musical Comedy and a few hours ago the full cast for the upcoming production was finally revealled.

I'm very happy to say that leading the cast are returning stars Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed, who originated the roles of Aladdin and Jasmine in 5th Avenue's Pilot Production in 2011 and will reprise them in this new production.

Having brought down the house in Seattle, James Monroe Iglehart will once again be bringing Genie to life, the one and only Jonathan Freeman, who has played the villainous Vizier since 1992's animated classic, returns as Jafar, and Don Darryl Rivera will make his Broadway debut as Iago.

Keeping the tempo brisk and the harmonies tight, Brandon O'Neill (in his Broadway debut) and Brian Gonzales will return as Aladdin's friends, Kassim and Babkak respectively.

Completing the principal cast are new cast members Jonathan Schwartz, who rounds out Aladdin's trio of friends as Omar, and Clifton Davis as the Sultan.

Merwin Foard and Michael James Scott will standby for several principals.

The ensemble includes Tia Altinay, Mike Cannon, Andrew Cao, Lauryn Ciardullo, Joshua Dela Cruz, Yurel Echezarreta, Daisy Hobbs, Donald Jones Jr., Adam Kaokept, Nikki Long, Stanley Martin, Brandt Martinez , Michael Mindlin, Rhea Patterson, Bobby Pestka, Khori Petinaud, Ariel Reid, Jennifer Rais, Trent Saunders, Jaz Sealy, Dennis Stowe, Marisha Wallace and Bud Weber.

Aladdin: Broadway's New Musical Comedy features music by Disney Legend Alan Menken and lyrics by the late Disney Legend Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, with book and additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin.

Casey Nicholaw returns as director and choreographer.  Joining him are scenic designer Bob Crowley, lighting designer Natasha Katz, costume designer Gregg Barnes, sound designer Ken Travis, illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer and hair designer Josh Marquette.  Michael Kosarin heads the music team as music supervisor and director, working with Danny Troob as orchestrator and Glen Kelly as dance music arranger.

Broadway World have posted photos that show the cast and crew on their first day of rehearsals and quotes both Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw;

"We have an extraordinarily diverse and quite beautiful company of actors and dancers and singers who also happen to be blessed with vaudeville chops.  I think that will surprise people who expect they're just going to see the film onstage."

And Disney Theatrical President and Producer Thomas Schumacher;

"Partnering with Casey to gather this remarkable cast of Aladdin has been exhilarating.  The first day of rehearsal always represents the excitement of what's to come and I've rarely felt that more than with this group. I fell in love with some of them when we worked on the show in Seattle; others are just joining us, but collectively they are the perfect company to bring our new musical comedy to life."

I am honestly both surpised and overjoyed that Disney have managed to get so many of the original Seattle cast and crew back for this new production.  Congratulations to everyone involved, especially those making their Broadway debut with this production!

I hope that the first day of rehearsals went well.  I wish you all the best and can't wait to hear what people have to say when the show opens in Toronto.  I'll see you on Broadway!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Broadway Rumour Report #3 - Andrew Keenan-Bolger Not Returning as Omar

Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Omar (centre) with the Seattle Cast of Aladdin, Photo by Chris Bennion

Sadly this is less a rumour and more a logical deduction.  At the end of last week Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Omar in the Seattle Pilot Production of Aladdintweeted that he will be starring in his first play Off Broadway later this year, A.R. Gurney's Family Fortunes at The Flea Theatre.  This is of course fantastic news for Andrew but the dates of this production (12th November through 22nd December) make it clear that he will not be returning to Aladdin as he will be starring in Family Fortunes in New York whilst Aladdin is having its preview run in Toronto.

Andrew very graciously allowed me to interview him for this blog back in 2011 and I wish him all the best with this new production.  I hope that he's in something on Broadway next spring as I'd love to be able to show my support by seeing him on stage.

So with Adam Jacobs apparently confirmed that's 1 in and 1 out so far from the original Seattle cast.  Who will be taking Andrew's place?  Could it be Randy Aaron or Jason Graae from the Tuacahn or Muny productions or someone completely new?  We should hopefully know soon, with the show due to open in just over 2 months the official press release can't be far away!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Broadway Rumour Report #2 - Proud of Your Boy (Again!)



Adam Jacobs as Aladdin in the 2011 Pilot Production, Photo by Mark Kitaoka
  Adam Jacobs is Aladdin!  According to the press release for Scott Siegel's Broadway Ballyhoo! Adam will once again be donning the fez and vest to play the title character in Disney's Aladdin: Broadway's New Musical Comedy.

The press release for tonight's Ballyhoo contains the following line;

"including the star in the title role of the new Disney musical Aladdin, coming to Broadway in the Spring, Adam Jacobs (The Lion King, Les Miserables, etc.)"

So far I've resisted posting any casting rumours, but with this being from an official press release I decided to run with it.  Obviously nothing is official until Disney Theatrical make their announcement but until then this is the next best thing!

Congratulations Adam!  It's been a long road for this show from Seattle to Broadway and, if this is true, I'm overjoyed that you're coming back to play Aladdin again!  This news really has made my day!

Hopefully an official casting announcement by Disney will follow shortly.

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin in the 2011 Pilot Production, Photo by Mark Kitaoka

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Aladdin: The New Musical Comedy Broadway Previews to Begin February 2014



"This spring, discover a Whole New World in a Whole New Way."

Wish finally granted!  Over 2 years after the Seattle Pilot Production, Disney Theatrical have today announced that Aladdin: Broadway's New Musical Comedy will begin it's Broadway Previews on February 26th 2014.

Both Playbill and Broadway World are reporting that this confirmation came via a Group Sales email and that Disney Theatrical are eyeing an official opening night of Thursday March 20th 2014.

The show's official website, www.aladdinbroadway.com has also undergone a make over today, officially launching the show's new title logo and tagline, that were originally revealed earlier this month at D23's Broadway and Beyond Evening, along with new artwork of Genie and the lamp.  The official site now also has links to ticket sales for both the Toronto Preview Run and Group Bookings for Broadway for groups of 15 or more.  Regular Broadway tickets will go on sale this Fall.

The group sales email, revealed by Broadway World, offers the following description of the show;

Disney's new musical comedy, Aladdin, brings the classic story from the screen to the stage for a theatrical experience beyond anything you've ever dreamed.  With just one rub of a magic lamp, Aladdin's breathtaking journey sweeps you into an exotic world filled with big laughs, bold adventure and true love.

Aladdin features all your favorite songs from the film as well as new music written by Tony Award winner Alan Menken (Newsies) with lyrics penned by the legendary Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast), Tony Award winner Tim Rice (The Lion King, Aida) and Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer).

This new musical from the producers of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast will be directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Spamalot).  Aladdin also boasts an incomparable design team, with sets, costumes and lighting from multiple Tony Award winners Bob Crowley (Mary Poppins), Gregg Barnes (The Drowsy Chaperone) and Natasha Katz (Once)."

The full advertisement can be seen below;


Still no casting announcement but hopefully we'll hear something much sooner than later now that things seem to be moving into high gear as the show inches closer to it's Toronto premiere this November.

And finally, I missed this last week, the Ed Mirvish theatre made this tweet last Friday;

@Mirvish - It's a whole new world at The Eddie! Tickets for @aladdin are now on sale! #aladdin #mirvishtheatre #toronto #mirvish

Now we've know tickets have been on sale for a few months now, and they're tweeted about them before, but what's more exciting about this tweet in the photo that came with it.  Looks like The Eddie has had a face lift for Aladdin.


Well that's all for tonight (and today is technically yesterday now, here in the UK).  Hopefully I'll be back with the cast announcement real soon!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

D23's Got Your Back!


As most people who read this blog will probably know, last weekend was Disney's D23 Expo and on Friday night a small group of past Disney Theatrical stars gathered together to put on a special Broadway and Beyond concert celebrating all of Disney's Broadway productions past and present.

After performing songs from everything from Beauty and the Beast through to Newsies (including rarely heard pieces from King David and Der Glockner von Notre Dame) the night ended with a look to the future as the cast performed the new song "Somebody's Got Your Back" from Aladdin.

I was planning on posting the video here, but I've since learned that the event was strictly no cameras allowed and most of the videos have already been removed, presumably at Disney's request.  What I hope is ok for me to share with you is the new and improved logo for the show.


Sorry for the picture quality but a YouTube screen shot is the best available right now as the official site and Facebook page haven't been updated with this yet.  As you can see the colour scheme remains largely the same (the logo looks slightly more yellow than gold now) but the font has changed from a standard font to one that looks much more Aladdin.  Definitely a change for the better!

That's all for this time, but the rumours over on the Broadway World message board seem to indicate that casting may be announced later this month so I hope to have an update for you real soon.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Before Broadway, Before Toronto... Aladdin Returns to Denmark!

Before Aladdin begins its pre-Broadway run in Toronto this November, the magic carpet has one last stop to make.  After producing the incredibley successful European Premiere last year, the Fredericia Teater in Denmark is once again playing host to Aladdin this summer with a new production starting tomorrow, 19th July, and running through to 20th August.


I can't confirm it, but it's extremely likely (as in almost 100% certain) that this will be the same production as last year and not the revised story/production that will debut in Toronto in a few months.  There may be some refinements from last year's premiere, but I think details of the changes being made for Broadway are being kept closely under lock and key at Disney Theatrical until November.

From what I can tell from the show's official website, www.aladdinthemusical.dk, the creative team and the cast of last year's European Premiere are all returning for this encore production.  The show features;

Johannes Nymark as Aladdin
Maria Lucia Heiberg Rosenberg as Princess Jasmine
Pelle Emil Hebsgaard as Genie
Kristine Yde Eriksen as Princess Jasmine (Alternate)
Teit Samso Clausen as Babkak
Max-Emil Nissen as Omar
Kim Ace Nielsen as Kassim
Martin Loft as Jafar
Kim Brandt as Iago
Kim Leprevost as Sultan

I heard great things from people who went last year and this is likely to be the final production of the original show, so if you're able to see it then I'd urge you to do so.  Aladdin: The New Stage Musical is a fantastic show for the whole family.  Tickets are on sale at the show's website, www.aladdinthemusical.dk

I'd also like to say a big thank you to Steffen for alerting me to this (longer ago than I'd care to admit).  Hope you enjoy the show as much this year as you did last!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

First Teaser Release for Aladdin: The New Musical Fantasy

This week Disney Theatrical and Mirvish Productions have released the first teaser trailer for Aladdin: The New Musical Fantasy.


Like the guy in the video says, "at last" Aladdin is on its way :o)

Must admit, I wasn't expecting to see anything like this so soon.  Hopefully this means that casting news isn't too far away!

Not much to report on the social media side of things.  The official @Aladdin has tweeted "I can show you the world..." and the official Facebook page followed suit with a new image;


And then another quote, "Arabian nights, like Arabian days..." and finally the link to advance ticket sales that I posted about last week.

In related news Courtney Reed, Seattle's original Princess Jasmine, last night took part in a a special evening celebrating the Life and Lyrics of Howard Ashman.  Courtney and fellow Broadway stars performed Howard's songs, including some of those from Aladdin, to benefit GMHC and other AIDS service organisations in the tri-state area.  The evening also saw Howard's sister, Sarah Ashman Gillespie, and partner, William Lauch awarded with the first annual Howard Ashman Award by GMHC.  The award is designed to "honor musicians and songwriters who have made significant contributions to world culture and have utilized their success to make a difference in the fight to end the epidemic."  I hope the event was a success and will continue to be in the years to come.

Monday, 27 May 2013

On Sale Today - Aladdin: The New Musical Fantasy Preview Run at the Mirvish Theatre!

We are now officially less than six months away from the World Premiere of Disney Theatrical's new production of Aladdin: The New Musical Fantasy and priority tickets for the show's pre-Broadway preview run at Toronto's Mirvish Theatre have gone on sale today!

General sales don't start until June 9th, but if you've signed up to Mirvish's newsletter then you'll have seen this in your inbox today;


The advert links you to the ticket site here.  So what are you waiting for?  If you're planning to see the show during it's preview run this is the perfect opportunity to beat the crowds and grab some fantastic seats at a show that will truly transport you into a whole new world of fun, adventure and romance.

If you'd rather speak with a person (or if you're an international buyer and can't use the website - not sure about the Mirvish but I know I had to call Tuacahn to book my tickets last year and when I went to see The Little Mermaid in Denver during its preview run) then the numbers to call are 416-872-1212 and 800-461-3333 and quote "Mirvish".

I hope everyone gets the tickets they want!  These are exciting times, hopefully casting news is just around the corner now (still crossing my fingers for as much of the original cast as they can get back!)

Monday, 15 April 2013

A Whole Blu World

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so...


Yes, Aladdin on Blu-Ray is finally on sale today, at least here in the UK.  I believe the US release date is still TBC but the good news is the UK disc is region free so it'll still play no matter where you live.

Love seeing that old VHS cover put to good use.  Guess I know what I'm watching when I get a free night this week!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

A New Fantastic Point of View

Where has the time gone?  I hope you all had a great Easter weekend the other week, I can't believe we're in April already!  There's not too much news to report on the Aladdin front, auditions have been and gone, and if you went to them I hope they went well, so I'd expect things to be pretty quiet until the summer.

The official twitter (@aladdin) has tweeted a single quote;

"Gotta keep, one jump ahead of the breadline, one swing ahead of the sword." - @aladdin

It's not much, but at least it's something.  It's the first tweet since January (I know, I'm a fine one to talk about that!) but hopefully it means the account will start being more active soon.

The Facebook page has been a little more active, posting the same quote as above and also sharing a new promo image;


They've also made a small change to their logo and the show's subtitle.  No longer Broadway's New Musical Fantasy, the show is now


I love the colour scheme of gold and purple, but I do still wish they'd change the font to something that feels a little more Aladdin.

Their most recent update is a bit more interactive, yesterday they asked fans "When I think of Aladdin, I can't help but start singing..."

Obviously the film songs have got most of the votes, but it's nice to see some people (and not just me!) pick Proud of Your Boy, and it was really nice to see someone saying  A Million Miles Away.  Why not head on over and add your opinions?

Whilst there's been no Aladdin casting news, two previous Aladdins have been cast as other Disney heroes.

The original Aladdin, Adam Jacobs, is currently playing the title role of Zorro at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.  Tickets are on sale at the theatre's website and the show runs until 5th May.  If you're in Atlanta make sure you check it out (and ok Zorro's not technically a Disney hero, but Walt Disney did do the series in the 50s so it can still count).

Meanwhile, Tuachan's Aladdin, Dan Domenech, has been cast as the title character in Disney's Tarzan as the show makes its Asian Premiere at the Meralco Theatre in June.  You may recognise the name of the theatre as it was also home to last year's Asian Premiere of Aladdin (I know, I really need to get that article on the international shows done!).  The show runs June 14th to July 8th and is being produced by Viva Atlantis Theatricals who are a joint venture between Viva Communications and Atlantis Productions who produced last year's production of Aladdin.  Tickets don't seem to be on sale yet (at least online) but if you're going to be in Pasig City whilst the show's on then keep an eye on Atlantis' website or try contacting the theatre directly to secure your seats.  Dan was a fantastic Aladdin last year so you're in for a great show with him as Tarzan.

And that's about everything for this time but I just want to end on this tweet from 15th March.  No casting has been announced, but it's to know that Adam Jacobs is still keeping in touch with Alan Menken...

""Watch and learn," @AIMenken says to me as he sidles up to the piano, plays and sings "Proud of Your Boy". #bowingtogenius" - @AdamJacobsNYC

Sunday, 17 February 2013

More Auditions, Preview Tickets, a New Poster and a New Song for Jafar?

Firstly, if you went to any of the Aladdin auditions over the last week then I hope they went well and that you had a good time.

It looks like Disney is casting a pretty wide net for this show as Playbill have added another four open chorus calls for Orlando (March 2nd/3rd), LA (Feb 26th/27th), Chicago (March 12th) and Toronto (March 16th).  If you're going - good luck!

Toronto's The Star has published an article entitled Aladdin, Once, Les Miserables highlight new Mirvish season.  According to the article this is the Mirvish's 50th year and they're celebrating by presenting their largest subscription program ever, including "the world premiere of the new Disney stage musical Aladdin".  The article goes on to state that "Aladdin will have its premiere tryout here at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, on its way to Broadway, as previously reported in The Star, with Tony Award winning director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw helming the proceedings."

This week also saw The Mirvish launching their own page for Aladdin complete with a new poster and banner for the show!



The poster's a little small (hopefully a larger version will turn up soon) but it's great to see new artwork turning up so soon!

The Mirvish's page includes the following description of the show;

"In an exotic, faraway land, one man’s life is about to change with the lucky rub of an ancient lamp—and you’re invited to join the magic carpet ride.

Welcome to ALADDIN, Disney’s new Broadway-bound musical, adapted from the hit film and featuring some of the best-loved music by Academy® and Tony Award®-winning composer Alan Menken and lyricists Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin, with a book by Beguelin.

Brought to you by the producer of Toronto’s record-breaking hits The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, ALADDIN will be directed and choreographed by Tony® -winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon) and will feature the award-winning and acclaimed design team of Bob Crowley (sets), Gregg Barnes (costumes) and Natasha Katz (lights), with illusions by Jim Steinmeyer.

With its timeless story, extravagant sets and costumes and a host of memorable characters and songs, ALADDIN will transport you to a place you only know in your dreams. Go ahead, make a wish. And discover a whole new world, in a whole new way… at ALADDIN."

Individual tickets aren't on sale yet (I'll update as soon as they are), but if you live in Toronto and love theatre then why not consider getting a season subscription for all 7 of the 2013/2014 season shows?  Information on the Mirvish's 2013/2014 subscription can be found here.


And finally, Playbill has published an interview with none other than Alan Menken himself at the Junior Theatre Festival.  The full interview can be found here and Mr. Menken talks about Newsies, the process of adapting his film work for the stage and, of course, bringing Aladdin to Broadway;

"At the same time Howard Ashman and I were writing "The Little Mermaid," we were writing "Aladdin." So we had a whole score that involved Aladdin's mom, and his sidekicks, Babkak, Omar and Kassim, and it had a lot of plot elements that we don't have in the movie. And the movie was great, but I said, "If we are going to do this theatrical adaptation, for me, the perk would be to try to bring in the songs that Howard and I wrote for the movie that never made it in.

So we have "Proud of Your Boy," a number that Aladdin was originally to sing in the movie to his mother directly, but now it's to his mother in heaven. There's a number "Babkak, Omar, Aladdin and Kassim," which is kind of the friends' Vaudeville number that they do in the streets of Agrabah. There's a song called "High Adventure," where they perform a rescue at the end of Act Two, which is so much fun. It's one of those numbers I was dying to see on stage. There's "Call Me Princess" for Princess Jasmine, which was a real early throw-away, but we were able to make use of that thanks to my new collaboration with Chad Beguelin (Elf, The Wedding Singer), who wrote the book.

He was brilliant in finding ways to adapt songs we had originally written into the new book, and we also wrote three new songs together with him as my lyricist. We wrote one new song for the Genie, one new song for Jafar and a new duet for Aladdin and Jasmine — and we still have all the original songs from Howard Ashman and Tim Rice from the film. So much creative energy has gone into this new Aladdin, I love it. We had a production in Seattle that was one of the highlights of my life and we've even improved it since then."

Now, I may be reading too much into this, but have we just had the first bit of information on a new song for this new production?  In the above quote Alan Menken mentions 3 songs written by himself and Chad Beguelin for the show; a song for Genie (Somebody's Got My Back), a duet for Aladdin and Jasmine (A Million Miles Away) and a song for Jafar (???).  Sure Jafar had a "new" song in the 2011/2012 productions, but Why Me is one of the unused Menken/Rice songs that was done for the movie, not a new song by Menken/Beguelin.  So is the Jafar song he mentions a new one for this production?  And if so, what does that mean for Why Me?  Is this going to be an addition or a replacement?  I guess we'll have to wait until November to find out!

And it's always great to hear Alan Menken call the 2011 Pilot Production of Aladdin one of the highlights of his life :)

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Good Luck!

Just a quick update this morning to wish the very best of luck to anyone auditioning for Aladdin today and next week.

Make some magic everyone!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Casting Calls Go Out for Broadway's Aladdin



Oh boy does it feel good to be writing that!

Late last week Playbill posted the official Equity listings for Aladdin, including Principal Auditions, Chorus Call for Dancers and Chorus Call for Singers for auditions early next month.  Full listings can be found by following the links.

The listings describe the show as;

"Based on the much loved animated film, Aladdin: The New Stage Musical tells the story of a street-smart commoner whose whole life changes with one rub of a magic lamp. This new Aladdin incorporates all of the beloved songs from the film's Oscar®-winning score plus never-before-heard Menken/Ashman songs restored from early drafts of the score. It marks a return to the authors' original vision: a loving homage to the Hope-Crosby road pictures with a score invoking the jazz sound of stars like Cab Calloway and Fats Waller."

For those who are successful at the auditions (and those of us who want to know when we can expect to hear the first real hints about the new production) the show dates given are;

Rehearsals begin in NYC: Fall 2013.
Playing in Toronto: Early Winter 2013/2014
Rehearsals in NYC: Winter 2014.
Begin performances in NYC: Spring 2014

The principal roles on offer are;

Aladdin
20s, any ethnicity. Clever, resourceful street urchin with a heart of gold; best friends with Babkak, Omar and Kassim; seeks a life beyond the confines of poverty. Soaring bari-tenor voice.

Jasmine
20s, any ethnicity. Intelligent young princess with insight beyond her years and station; seeks a life beyond the confines of privilege. Fantastic belter that can mix through the break to soprano.

Babkak
20s, any ethnicity. Chubby, romantic desert dweller, part of Aladdin’s band; the “Crosby” of this Arabian “Road” picture, although perhaps with a bit more flair. Power tenor.

Omar
20s, any ethnicity. Nervous, thin, reedy desert dweller, part of Aladdin’s band; the “Lamour.” Bari-tenor.

Genie
30s-40s, any ethnicity. Quick-witted, fast-talking, ancient genie who knows all time and place; an old-school song-and-dance man.

Sultan
50s, any ethnicity. Kind-hearted, widowed ruler of Agrabah; gets so caught up in following the law and tradition that he overlooks his daughter Jasmine’s desires and gets swindled by his own vizier.

For those of you who can remember these listings are almost identical to those released for 5th Avenue's Pilot Production back in January 2011.  The only additions are "any ethnicity" and the vocal descriptions.

More interesting is who's missing.  Namely Jafar, Iago and Kassim.

Back when 5th Avenue's Casting Calls were released only Jafar was missing and the role was famously filled by Jonathan Freeman, making him the first actor from one of Disney's animated classics to bring his own character to life on stage.  Obviously nothing has been confirmed (or even rumoured) but my best guess is that Jonathan Freeman will once again be bringing Jafar to life when Aladdin hits Broadway.  Now that really would be a wish come true!

Could Jonathan Freeman be bringing Jafar to life on stage once more?
Jonathan Freeman and Don Darryl Rivera as Jafar and Iago in 5th Avenue's Pilot Production
But what about Iago and Kassim?  Does this mean that they've already been cast too?  In the 5th Avenue's Pilot Production the parts were played by Don Darryl Rivera and Brandon O'Neill and, whilst I'd love to believe that they've both already been confirmed for the roles (they did originate them after all), it seems strange that Disney Theatrical would make the rest of the original cast re-audition if this was the case.  Either way, Disney Theatrical clearly has people already in mind for these roles.  I can't find any rumours on who they might have approached to play the parts (so I'm going to continue championing the original cast), but if they are recasting then only one name comes to mind - Gilbert Gottfried!

For all the lastest news on the show, including casting, make sure you like the show on Facebook, follow @AladdinBroadway on Twitter and sign up for email updates from the show's official website www.aladdinbroadway.com!

And finally two quick updates from around the web.  Firstly The New York Times confirms that Proud of Your Boy WILL be in the show (didn't really doubt it but with the re-writes it's great to have that confirmed) and says that the expected budget for the new production is between $12 and $15 million dollars, which is significantly more than budget of the Pilot Production in 2011.  And secondly, Yahoo News' Mark Kennedy has posted an interview with Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher where he says that he wants the show to have a lot of humour and a lot of heart.  If it's anything like the production I saw at the Tuacahn last year, it will certainly have both.