Sunday, 18 May 2014

Broadway News Round Up 4

Photo by Disney

Ok, after finally getting the last news round up post up to date it's time to catch up again!  I swear from next week these things will be weekly!  Life has been a bit crazy and I've still got so much I want to post from when I was in New York, so hopefully this is the last big catch up then I can move on with some actual content!

First up, I probably should have posted this in the last news update with the reviews but on March 20th in the build up to the show's opening night, Thomas Schumacher, head of Disney Theatrical, posted the following on his Facebook page;

"I can't remember loving something as much as "Aladdin." I reluctantly approached this idea, and it is the artists involved who made it come to life, and demand to be produced.

Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, Chad Beguelin. And then Bob Crowley, Natasha Katz and Gregg Barnes. And to lead it all, Casey Nicholaw.

Sold out crowds are going crazy celebrating their work.

And that, to me, is
the greatest delight.

I've become accustomed to other voices on the periphery, and they will never know what it is that our worldwide audiences love. And for that, I leave them to their circulations.

What delights me most is the standing, cheering throngs that fuel the cast and creative team.

Welcome to the joy and dichotomy of opening night."

Of course as we now know, Aladdin went on to get some great reviews and has the potential to be the first Disney show since The Lion King to win Best Musical at the Tony Awards (keep those fingers crossed).  I just thought it was worth posting as its core message is so very true - it's fantastic to have great reviews and award nominations, but at the end of the day it's the audience that counts.  As long as the audience loves your show then the rest is all just a bonus.  There is a magic to Aladdin, a raw energy and enthusiasm that's like lightening in a bottle, something only live theatre can capture, Disney magic at its best.

On to the news updates!

James Monroe Iglehart talks with Broadway Box about the inspirations behind his Genie

The Actors Fund Gala celebrating 20 Years of Disney on Broadway was a big success raising $1.6 million to help those in need in the creative community.  The event saw Disney's Broadway stars past and present take to the stage for one night only to raise money for the cause.  Variety's write up of the event can be found here and Disney's own write up can be found here.

West End Frame offers a new review of the show that's positive but feels it the show played it too safe in sticking so closely to the film (a little ironic given the criticisms the earlier productions of the show got from some for being too far from the film version).  But the reviewer still enjoyed the show, praising both the cast, Friend Like Me, and the special effects during A Whole New World that allowed a carpet to take flight.

Examiner has also posted a new review of the show

DAPS Magic offers a Disney fan's review of the show and Disney In Your Day offers another.

Disney's Official Blog reveals 10 Things You May Not Know about Broadway's Aladdin

This month Aladdin's official Twitter began posting some special tweets with the hashtag #GenieTweet.  History is just more fun with Genie;


Fox 5 have posted a special 4 part "Broadway Up Close: Your Back Stage Pass" video series going behind the scenes of Beautiful, Les Miserables, Kinky Boots, A Raisin in the Sun, Of Mice and Men, and of course Aladdin.  The full series is well worth watching but it's part 3 that Aladdin fans will really want to check out as Anna Gilligan follows Adam Jacobs through his day from family life at home to his daily Aladdin work out (yep if you want to look that good the secrets are here!) to his pre-show routine!

Howard Ashman's sister Sarah has posted a wonderful piece on her blog about the lyrics in Aladdin that includes some fascinating glimpses into what might have been as she reveals some details of the original treatment that Howard created for the film.

Courtney Reed opens her fan mail in a new #SIP and features in an interview with Vanity Fair.

Broadway Fans Patty & Emily meet the 2014 Tony Nominees including Aladdin's own James Monroe Iglehart and Chad Beguelin.  Chad goes first and JMI is right at the end;

And on the subject of award nominations - Aladdin has 2 more!!  The Astaire Awards have been announced and JMI is up for Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show and Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw is up for Oustanding Choreographer for a Broadway Show!  Massive congratulations to you both!!

Disney Teaching Artists bring "Aladdin" Workshop to James Monroe School in Edison

Aladdin's incredible stand by Michael James Scott (who I saw play a great Babkak and I've heard does an awesome Genie as well) along with other Broadway stars helped raise money for the Young at Arts program.

If you're a fan of Aladdin (and if you're reading this then you almost certainly are) then you're probably a fan of Alan Menken to.  Well prepare to hear a lot more of his music as his new TV series Galavant has been picked up by ABC for next their 2014-2015 season!  Reuniting Menken with Tangled screenwriter Dan Fogleman (who also serves as executive producer) and lyricist Glen Slater (Tangled, Broadway's The Little Mermaid) ABC describe the series as a musical comedy and have released the following description;

"Once upon a time, the dashing hero, Galavant (Joshua Sasse) lost the love of his life, Madalena (Mallory Jansen), to the evil King Richard (Timothy Omundson).  Now, our fallen hero is ready to take revenge and restore his 'happily ever after.'  But it won't be without a few twists and turns along the way."

More details can be found at Playbill and Broadway World and the trailer can be viewed here.

As the countdown to the Tonys continues Broadway World takes a look back at the stars before they were Tony nominees, including James Monroe Iglehart as Jim in Big River.

Theater Mania talks with Aladdin ensemble members Mike Cannon and Jenn Rais along with Matilda's Celia Mei Rubin about "split tracks" - what happens on those nights when the number of performers out of a show exceeds the number of understudies. follows a "Day in the Life" of James Monroe Iglehart

The Hollywood Reporter takes a look back at Disney's 20 years on Broadway and reflects on the changing attitudes towards, and acceptance of, Disney Theatrical and what this could mean for Aladdin's Tony chances.

Adam Jacobs does a great interviewed with Backstage

Casey Nicholaw tells Playbill how the kindness of an airline attendant literally changed his life

I've already updated the last post with this but here it is again - PIX11 goes backstage with Adam Jacobs

Jonathan Freeman talks with Broadway World in their Friday Six Q&A

Deadline weighs in with some Tony speculation and even tips Aladdin to take home Best Musical on the night!

Aladdin is now casting "possible future replacements".  The casting notice for dancers is valid through to May 21st and auditions are May 23rd in New York.

Charity Buzz is auctioning off two tickets to Aladdin in support of The Performing Arts Project.  But that's not all, after the show the winner will be given a back stage tour!  The auction begins May 21st at 12pm EDT.

Casey Nicholaw and James Monroe Iglehart talk with Broadway World about Aladdin and Tonys.

Theater Mania talks with Adam Jacobs, James Monroe Iglehart and Chad Beguelin about their Drama Desk Award nominations.

And finally another vacation alert!  Jonathan Freeman will not be appearing in the 3pm matinee performance on Sunday 8th June.  That afternoon the part of "the tall dark and sinister ugly man" will be played by stand by Merwin Foard.  Best wishes to Merwin for his upcoming performance!

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