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.

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