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