Monday, 25 August 2014

Broadway News Round Up 14

Jonathan Freeman and Don Darryl Rivera as Jafar and Iago, Photo by Deen Van Meer

Time is just flying this year!  Sorry I missed last week's news round up, I was away for a family birthday.  So, without further ado it's catch up time!

First a quick announcement - James Monroe Iglehart will be performing in Speechless at Joe's Pub TONIGHT!!  Tickets can be purchased here and you can read more information at Broadway World.  If you can make it be sure to check it out as it sounds like it should be a hilarious night.

Aladdin continues to make box office magic on Broadway as Variety is reporting that the show has broken the weekly house record for the New Amsterdam Theatre (no easy feat given that an earlier occupant of the New Amsterdam was Disney's own megahit The Lion King) and continues to play to sold out audiences.  Huge congratulations to the cast and crew of Aladdin and everyone at the New Amsterdam Theatre.

NBC New York offers up a rare treat this week as they talk to Jonathan Freeman about playing Jafar for over 20 years and share some brief clips from the show featuring Jonathan and Don Darryl Rivera's Iago.

The other half of Aladdin's villainous duo spoke with Broadway.com about moving to New York and living his Broadway dreams in Aladdin and then took Playbill on a photo walk through of a two show day which is well worth checking out as Don literally takes you from waking up to going to sleep with 2 shows and some great behind the scenes photos along the way.

Of course it wasn't just the villains getting in on the fun as Courtney Reed took part in Broadway.com's latest Character Study video, discussing her character and why Jasmine is her favourite Disney princess.  As you watch you can see the magic of theatre as Courtney is transformed into Jasmine right before your eyes.

You're probably all aware of the Ice Bucket Challenge that has taken the internet by storm in recent weeks to raise awareness of ALS.  Given the amount of charities and good causes that the cast of Aladdin have supported it should come as no surprise that the whole cast this week took the challenge and posted the video on Facebook to prove it.  They also challenged the head of Disney Theatrical Thomas Schumacher, Aladdin's composer Alan Menken, Aladdin's book writer and lyricist Chad Beguelin and Disney CEO Bob Iger (again!)

Also over the last few weeks the cast of Aladdin have been posting photos on Twitter and Instagram using #IHeartTheArts to show their support for The Actors Fund.  You can see them all on Twitter and Instagram but here's a small preview;

Don Darryl Rivera as Iago Hearts the Arts, Photo by Don Darryl Rivera

Of course, the last two weeks also saw the sad death of Robin Williams.  I already shared my own thoughts and the cast's heartfelt tribute the other week but there have been a few other pieces that I wanted to share with you.  When writing my thoughts I deliberately avoided the issue of Robin Williams' depression.  I wanted to focus on what he meant to me and also respect his family's wishes that he be remembered for the joy and laughter that he gave the world.  However, when Patrick Page (The Lion King's Scar and soon to be The Hunchback of Notre Dame's Frollo) shared the deeply personal story of his own battle with depression with Broadway World I felt compelled to share it.  It's not easy to read but I'm glad I did.  It offers a deeper, intimate, understanding of what many people struggle with everyday.  Anyone who's ever even thought "what did he have to be depressed about" needs to read it.  My heartfelt thanks go out to Patrick, this can't have been easy for him to share.

Alan Menken, who worked with Robin Williams, also posted a moving tribute to him on his Facebook page, recalling meeting Robin Williams in LA, the recording sessions in which Robin sang his songs in their original intended style before being let loose to do his thing, the magic that followed and later scoring for Robin's character Charlie Boyd in Noel.

And I just want to end with this.  Many of you will probably already have seen it but I still wanted to post it here.  A fitting farewell from Genie's Supervising Animator Eric Goldberg.

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