Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!

A little Halloween fun Aladdin Broadway style :o)

Adam Kaokept is Iago

Photo by Adam Kaokept
Whilst Don Darryl Rivera is taking a well deserved holiday this week Adam Kaokept has been taking to the New Amsterdam stage this week as Iago!

I'm sure Adam is doing an incredible job as everyone's favourite parrot turned human evil sidekick and if you want to see him as Iago you can still do so tonight and this weekend.

Make some magic Adam!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Bells of Notre Dame Will Ring Tonight!


What a week it's been for the cast and creative team of The Hunchback of Notre Dame!  Sitzprobe on Thursday, invited dress rehearsal last night and the US Premiere tonight as the show officially begins previews at the La Jolla Playhouse!!

This week Michael Arden (Quasimodo) spoke with Gay San Diego about Quasimodo, his path to theatre and about Hunchback in general, calling it "a lot sadder than the original Disney movie and much more of an adult treatment".  He also touches upon Director Scott Schwartz's vision for the piece saying "it's set in 1483, and we're using a lot of techniques that would've been used theatrically in plays of the time ... we use our bodies and furniture to create these worlds".  And I certainly agree with him when he calls Hunchback Alan Menken's greatest score.

The creative team of Alan Menken (composer), Stephen Schwartz (lyricist), Scott Schwartz (director) and Peter Parnell (writer), along with members of the cast, have been doing the rounds with the press this week.  Discussing the show with La Jolla Light and with U-T San Diego.

For all the speculation over the years that Disney considered the Berlin production of Hunchback "too dark" to bring to US audiences, it sounds like this new production could potentially be even darker.  And, if not darker, certainly more complex.  Speaking with U-T San Diego Scott Schwartz says "Something I really believe about this story is, nobody is just one thing ... There are horrific actions in the show, particularly that Frollo takes.  But you see moments of light within him ... there are moments of darkness in all the characters.  Quasimodo, too - there's real violence in Quasimodo."  Speaking with La Jolla Light, Alan Menken agreed, calling the piece "darker and more character-focused than the animated film."

What really excites me is that Scott Schwartz has called Hunchback's incredible score "the central focus and the essential means of the storytelling".  This, combined the show's emphasis on the humanity of the four main characters leads to what Peter Parnell calls "a very nice dynamic ... the largeness and the smallness, that feels like a very interesting place that this musical can live."

I'll admit that after hearing the beautiful Berlin cast recording I was nervous when it was initially announced that this new production would be smaller and more intimate.  I worried that it might not capture the grandness of the score and the beautiful music of the show.  The confirmation that there would be a live choir on stage soon eliminated my fears and with each new article I've been convinced that this is the right direction for the show.  It's new and exciting but at the same time very traditional.  The choir will allow the majesty of the score to soar as it should but the renewed focus on the four principal characters will give the piece a greater intimacy as well.  Personal stories told against an epic backdrop.  Disney may be taking a risk by making the show darker and more intimate but it's one I'm very glad they're taking and one I believe will pay off.

To the cast and creative team and everyone at La Jolla Playhouse, I will you all the very best for tonight's opening.  All your hard work over the last weeks and months (and even years in some cases) has led to this and you deserve every success.  Enjoy it.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame begins tonight at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego and runs through December 14th 2014.  Tickets are available here.  Tickets to D23's VIP Experience on November 11th 2014 are available here. Next year The Hunchback of Notre Dame will play at the Papermill Playhouse in New Jersey from March 4th through April 5th 2015.  Tickets are available here.

Broadway News Round Up 21

Courtney Reed as Princess Jasmine, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Tonight another Disney Theatrical production will begin its road to Broadway and I couldn't be more excited!  But more on that in my next post, first here's all the latest news from Broadway's Aladdin!

First up - Playbill reports that tonight at The Lion Theatre in New York two of Aladdin's understudies will be taking centre stage in At This Performance.  Bud Weber (understudy Aladdin) and Lauryn Ciardullo (Jasmine) and fellow understudies will share songs and anecdotes about their experiences.  Good luck guys, sounds like it will be a great night!  Tickets are available at the theatre's box office or through Telecharge (212) 239-6200.

On November 17th Aladdin's Courtney Reed will be taking part in the annual Rockers on Broadway - Teen Idols as Broadway's finest rock the music of the last 50 years to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.  More information can be found at Playbill and

Theater Mania are reporting that Aladdin is one of the shows taking part in the 2015's 19th annual  Kids' Night on Broadway.  Presented by the New York Times Kids' Night on Broadway will take place 9-15th January and will allow a young person age 6-18 to see a Broadway show for free when accompanied by a full paying adult (all tickets are sold in pairs).  More details can be found at the official website and tickets go on sale 5th November.  Sounds like a great way to introduce more people to the joy of live theatre.  Other regional theatres, including Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre that staged the world premiere of Aladdin back in 2011, are also taking part.

Broadway World is reporting that Aladdin's Dance Captain Michael Mindlin will be taking part in the BC Beat showcase in New York on Monday 10th November.  BC Beat is a bi-annual choreography showcase, more details can be found at Broadway World.  Good luck to Michael and everyone taking part!

With the movie musical having something of a resurgence in recent years, Sundance TV recently sat down with James Monroe Iglehart to talk about movie musicals and Disney classics.'s latest "Gotta Dance!" video features Aladdin's Donald Jones Jr. who shows off his moves whilst talking about the audition that changed his life.

As a little pre-Halloween treat D23 takes us on a ghost tour of Aladdin's Broadway home, the New Amsterdam Theatre;

And Adam Jacobs preps his dressing room for any trick or treating theatre babies who visit!

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Vacation Alert Update

Don Darryl Rivera as Iago with Jonathan Freeman as Jafar, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Just a quick update - last weekend I posted that Don Darryl Rivera would be on vacation 28-31st October.  Don't actually holiday dates are 27th October to 2nd November.  Sorry for the confusion!  Have a great time Don!

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Song List Revealed!

Normally we don't get the song list of a show until after the first preview, but La Jolla Playhouse have posted a Know Before You Go guide to the show giving us a tantalising first glimpse at Disney's next musical masterpiece.  You can download the full PDF (including a fantastic interview with Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz, Peter Parnell and Scott Schwartz) at the link.  Here are the highlights;

The Cast (in order of appearance)

Erik Liberman as Clopin Trouillefou
Patrick Page as Dom Claude Frollo
Lucas Coleman as Jehan Frollo
Samantha Massell as Florika
William Michals as Father Dupin
Michael Arden as Quasimodo
Andrew Samonsky as Captain Phoebus de Martin
Ian Patrick Gibb as Lieutenant Frederic Charlus
Ciara Renee as Esmeralda
Richard Ruiz as King Louis XI
Beth Kirkpatrick as Madam
Neal Mayer as Saint Aphrodisius

The Congregation (ensemble) includes Lucas Coleman, Ian Patrick Gibb, William Thomas Hodgson, Beth Kirkpatrick, Samantha Massell, Neal Mayer, Nora Menken, William Michals, Anise Ritchie, Vincent Rodriguez III, Richard Ruiz and Brian Smolin

Choral Ensemble - Sacra/Profana

Male Swings - Julian Decker & Christian Villanueva
Female Swing - Mary Joe Duggan

The Creative Team

Book by Peter Parnell
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Directed by Scott Schwartz
Choreographed by Chase Brock
Music Supervisor/Arranger - Michael Kosarin
Music Director - Brent-Alan Huffman
Orchestrator - Michael Starobin
Dance Music Arranger - Rob Berman
Scenic Designer - Alexander Dodge
Costume Designer - Alejo Vietti
Lighting Designer - Howell Binkley
Sound Designer - Garth Owen
Hair & Wig Designer - Charles G. LaPointe
Fight Director - Steve Rankin
Vocal Consultant - Ursula Meyer
Casting Director - Tara Rubin Casting
Local Casting Director - Teresa Sapien
Production Stage Manager - M. William Shiner
Assistant Stage Managers - Becky Fleming & Jennifer Kahn
Producing Director - Judith Richardson
Artistic Director - Shirley Fishman
Production Manger - Audrey Hoo

For the La Jolla Playhouse Christopher Ashley is Artistic Director and Michael S. Rosenberg is Managing Director.

Musical Numbers

Act One
The Bells of Notre Dame - Clopin, Frollo, Jehan, Father Dupin, Congregation
Sanctuary - Frollo, Quasimodo
Out There - Quasimodo
Topsy Turvy - Clopin, Congregation
Rest and Recreation - Phoebus, Frollo
Rhythm of the Tambourine - Esmeralda, Frollo, Phoebus, Quasimodo
God Help the Outcasts - Esmeralda, Congregation
Top of the World - Esmeralda, Quasimodo, Congregation
The Tavern Song (Thai Mol Piyas) - Gypsies, Esmeralda, Frollo
Heaven's Light - Quasimodo
Hellfire - Frollo, Congregation
Esmeralda (Act One Finale) - Company

Act Two
Entr'acte - Choir
Flight into Egypt - Saint Aphrodisius, Quasimodo, Congregation
Rest and Recreation (Reprise) - Phoebus, Quasimodo, Congregation
The Court of Miracles - Clopin, Gypsies
In a Place of Miracles - Phoebus, Esmeralda, Quasimodo, Clopin, Gypsies
Someday - Esmeralda, Phoebus
Made of Stone - Quasimodo, Congregation
Finale Ultimo - Company

And since the Know Before You Go guide includes the set rendering by Alexander Dodge I guess it's safe to share the Broadway World photos from the other day (big thanks to Sotiris2006 for actually saving these!)

It looks like an interesting mix of songs from the film, songs from the original Berlin production, all new songs for this production and even a song that was written for the film but cut.  But even if you recognise the names, don't expect to recognise the lyrics as Stephen Schwartz confirms "in addition to the brand new songs, there are a lot of songs in which there are new lyrics, or parts of the song are restructured."

Indeed this looks to be, much like Aladdin, a complete reimagining of the film for stage.  Whilst Aladdin went back to Howard Ashman's original concept, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is going back to the book.  The guide even states that this production is "Based on the Victor Hugo novel with songs from the Disney film".  Like Aladdin lost Abu, Quasimodo has lost his gargoyles (at least in the sense of the individual characters they were in the film), but whilst Aladdin  uses the latest special effects to bring the magic of the movie to life on stage, the story of Quasimodo will be a much more human take.  Director Scott Schwartz says "My guiding principle for the production is: if they couldn't do it in 1482, we shouldn't be doing it now.  In other words, the physical production is based all on period techniques that have been around for hundreds and hundreds of years.  This is not a technological version of the story.  It's a human one."

Everything I hear about this production just makes me more and more excited to see it!  Next March can't come soon enough!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame begins this Sunday, 26th October, at La Jolla Playhouse.  Tickets are available here.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Broadway News Round Up 20

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, Photo by Deen Van Meer

Starting this week's update with some incredible news.  Aladdin has once again broken the house record at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre taking $1,614,428.00 in the week ending 12th October.  That's the second time this year that the show has set a new house record!!  Congratulations everyone!!

It's the ensembles turn to shine this week as Aladdin's Bobby Pestka recently did a wide ranging interview with The Broadway Blog that's well worth checking out and Yurel Echezeretta will be taking part in the 6th annual Broadway Can! benefit on 16th November.  This annual concert of Seth Bisen-Hersh songs is being held to support City Harvest for New York's hungry.

Broadway World is reporting that Aladdin will be one of the exhibitors at the 6th annual At This Stage Education Expo at the Minskoff Theatre on Monday 27th October.  Further details can be found here.

And finally, this week Thomas Schumacher, President of Disney Theatrical, sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss everything from The Lion King to Frozen.  In the process he touches on Aladdin and even drops some hints at possible Marvel and Lucasfilm properties that could one day make their way to stage.  If you're a Disney fan or a theatre fan then you owe it to yourself to read this.  It's a fantastic read and offers an incredible insight into Thomas Schumacher and Disney Theatrical.  And on an Aladdin related note - 4 more international productions are in development!!!  I really hope one of them is the rumoured West End production!!

Vacation Alert - Jonathan Freeman will be away from 22nd through 26th October and 8th-9th November.  Merwin Foard will once again be bringing the evil Vizier to life at those performances. 

Vacation Alert - Don Darryl Rivera will be out of the show from 28th-31st October.

Not quite Aladdin related but the Tuacahn Amphitheatre will be presenting 2 Menken musicals and a brand new Disney Revue show as their 2015 Broadway in the Desert season.  Early bird tickets are now on sale for Beauty and the Beast, Sister Act and the all new Disney's When You Wish.  If you've ever seen a show at Tuacahn then you know these will be very special indeed.

Ok, Hunchback time!

It's been a strange week for The Hunchback of Notre Dame news.  The show officially entered tech rehearsals this week and the biggest news came as Broadway World presented a first look at the beautiful set of the show only for the image to disappear almost as soon as it appeared (much like the early character concepts for Aladdin's Seattle run did).  For what it's worth I'll leave the link here in case the image comes back up.  The set looked great.  Very realistic compared to what we're used to from other Disney shows but it really fit Hunchback well.  I wish I had the picture to share with you but I'm sure more official images will be released very soon as the show begins in exactly a week's time!

The Rage has a great article on the show.  It's pages 22-23, and I'm pretty sure this is the first time that the show has officially been called "Broadway-bound" which is incredible news!  It notes that this new production will be very different to Berlin's Der Glockner Von Notre Dame, which was an incredibly large scale production, focusing "much more on the four main characters".  I can't wait to see what they've done with it!

And finally, happy birthday to Esmeralda herself, Ciara Renee!  I hope you have a wonderful day.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Broadway News Round Up 19

Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed as Aladdin and Jasmine, Photo by Deen Van Meer

After the exciting news of Aladdin's upcoming Japanese Premiere and a special bonus episode of JMI's I Dream of Genie it's back to business as usual here with another news round up from the magical world of Agrabah.

Firstly, good luck to Marisha Wallace who is appearing in concert today at Illinois' The Little Theatre on the Square!

In the last news round up Adam Jacobs took Business Insider through a day in the life of a Broadway star, this time he talks about how he made it on Broadway and the road to becoming Aladdin.

In the interview Adam expresses an interest in teaching and on 9th November Adam will be taking part in A Class Act NY's Musical Theatre Workshop!  The event is currently sold out but it's always worth checking in case a space opens up.

Later this month the New World Stages will play host to the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals.  Taking place from 23-24 October the annual event showcases the talents of emerging and established writers in 45 minute presentations featuring the talents of Broadway and off Broadway actors.  This year two of the productions feature cast members from Broadway's AladdinBeautiful Poison will feature Brandon O'Neill and Stu for Silverton will feature Don Darryl Rivera.  Both Brandon and Don made their Broadway debuts with Aladdin earlier this year, so it's great to see their talent being recognised and showcased in events like this!  Congratulations to you both!!

Next up is a series of fan made videos where the poster has created model version of the show's sets.  You can view the 4 videos at the following YouTube channel.  They're pretty cool!

It's been announced that Aladdin will be part of next year's Broadway Student Summit, a program by the Broadway Teaching Group that brings together theatre students and the cast and creative teams of some of Broadway's top shows.  Full details haven't yet been confirm but Aladdin's session dates are January 17-19th 2015.  Further information can be found here

James Monroe Iglehart and Adara Bryan, Photo by Playbill/Monica Simoes
Last Monday James Monroe Iglehart and #MyDreamDuet winner Adara Bryan took part in Celebrity Karaoke.  More details and photos can be found at Playbill and, even better, you can check out the videos!  James and Adara singing I Want You Back, James and Lena Hall sing Proud Mary and James, Lena Hall, Justin Guarini and Ramin Karimloo sing Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

The Daily Geekette posted a report from last month's Broadway Flea Market including the Aladdin table and the always awesome Don Darryl Rivera!

In 2012 I had the pleasure of seeing Aladdin at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Utah.  This year they're doing another Disney musical, The Little Mermaid.  I've mentioned this before but now Playbill posted photos from the show.  Being an outdoor amphitheatre means that the Tuacahn can do a lot of things that a traditional theatre can't, like flooding the stage to sail a ship across!  If you can go I'm sure this production will be every bit as magical as their Aladdin was so it's well worth the trip.  Here's a sneak peak;

Performances run until 18th October.

And now for something a little different...

As you know I'm a huge Disney fan and a huge Alan Menken fan so it should come as no surprise that I'm really looking forward to the upcoming US premiere of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  I've mentioned it a few times on this blog (even going so far as to say it has the potential to be Disney's Les Miserables) and with the US premiere now only weeks away, I've decided to add a Hunchback section to these weekly news updates.

It's been a long time coming.  The original Berlin production ran from 1999-2002 and a US production has been talked about on and off ever since.  Now it's finally real.  Like Aladdin and Newsies before it, a Broadway production of Hunchback hasn't been announced but I fully believe that if the upcoming productions at La Jolla Playhouse and Papermill Playhouse do well then Quasimodo will be joining his Disney cousins on the Great White Way.

So first up in this new section!  Last month Stephen Schwartz spoke in depth with Broadway World about, well about everything really, including some comments on The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

And this week both Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken spoke with Playbill about re-imagining Hunchback for stage.  What stands out most to me is that for many years fans have speculated that the "trouble" Disney Theatrical have had with bringing Hunchback to America has been that the show (at least as it was in Berlin) is much darker than what is traditionally expected from Disney, yet here Alan is quoted as saying "It's emotionally deeper.  We're liberated from needing to ... reach a family audience as we did in animation.  Even though I believe this can reach a family audience, this definitely lives much more on the adult side of Hunchback."  They also confirm that the stage show has a different ending from the film.  Does this mean they're keeping the ending from the Berlin production or is this something new again?  We'll have to wait a few more weeks to find out!

In the interview Stephen Schwartz says that this new adaptation will feature about 10 new songs/pieces of songs, some of which come from Der Glockner Von Notre Dame and some of which were written especially for this new production.  I'm not even going to begin to speculate on this as the song list on Wikipedia for Glockner is much longer than the cast recording of the show, featuring numerous additional reprises.  What I am happy to say is that yesterday Jeremy Scott Lapp, the show's Associate Director, very kindly confirmed that the song Esmerelda is in the show!  I am so happy as it's probably my favourite song from the Berlin cast recording!  I've listened to it that much I practically hear it in English now.

So in honour of its inclusion I'm going to leave you tonight with a rare English performance of the song (I didn't even know this existed until yesterday!) from Epcot's Encore 2010 - Dream Our Dreams: A Musical Tribute to the Legacy of Disney

The US Premiere of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse, running October 26th through December 14th 2014, and New Jersey's Papermill Playhouse, running March 4th through April 5th 2015.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

I Dream of Genie Episode 9

James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Well this was a nice surprise!  He'd only just treated us to a musical finale but now JMI is back with a special episode of his vlog I Dream of Genie!

This special episode is all about the legendary Clifton Davis, so watch and enjoy :o)

Aladdin to Premiere in Japan!

Firstly, a big thanks to Sotiris (@sotiris2006) for bringing this to my attention last week!  After some rumours about London earlier this year (more on that in a second) it's now been officially announced that the first international production of Aladdin will open in Tokyo in May 2015.
Disney Theatrical Productions is once again teaming up with the Shiki Theatre Company to bring Aladdin to Japan.  This will mark the 5th collaboration between Disney Theatrical and the Shiki Theatre Company following 1995's Beauty and the Beast, 1998's The Lion King, 2003's Aida and 2013's The Little Mermaid.  Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions said "The heart and wit of the timeless tale of Aladdin, the Genie and those three wishes are beloved by cultures across the globe.  We look forward to bringing Casey Nicholaw's joyous, spectacular production to Japan in partnership with our valued friends at Shiki."
Chiyoki Yoshida, President and Representative Director of the Shiki Theatre Company echoed Schumacher's excitement, saying "I am very honored to be able to bring Aladdin to Japan as its first production outside of Broadway.  Shiki Theatre Company and Disney will celebrate our 20th year of partnership next year.  Aladdin is sure to open a door to 'a whole new world' for the live entertainment industry in Japan."
The Tokyo production will be cast locally in Japan and will be performed in Japanese.  The production will debut in May 2015 at the Dentsu Shiki Theatre Umi in Tokyo.
Whilst this is the first international production of Broadway's Aladdin, an earlier version of the show has previously been performed in Denmark and the Philippines in 2012/2013.
On the subject of international productions the Daily Mail's gossip columnist and entertainment writer Baz Bamigboye has hinted a few times that word is that Aladdin will be coming to London's West End, though probably not before 2016.  He first mentioned this in his 1st May column, stating that it was initially hoped that Aladdin would play in the Palladium in 2016 but Disney wanted to wait for the Prince Edward Theatre (where they did Mary Poppins and where Miss Saigon was then due to open) so Aladdin's West End debut would be delayed until "late 2016 or 2017".  This changed in his 26th June column where he reported that the success of Miss Saigon had changed Disney's mind about waiting and that the "top executive for Disney Theatricals will meet Palladium officials to discuss whether the Palladium would be the right venue for the Disney musical Aladdin in 2016."  Whilst his first report went mostly unnoticed, or at least uncommented on, this second report had more traction, being reported on Broadway World and several West End sites.  I did reach out to Disney Theatrical UK back in June but, understandably, received no reply.  Whilst I would love for the show to come to the West End this remains strictly a rumour for now.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Genie's Dream Duet

James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Just a quick post to say good luck to James Monroe Iglehart and #MyDreamDuet winner Adara Bryan who will be taking part in tonight's Celebrity Karaoke: An Epic Evening with the Stars at New York's Hard Rock CafĂ© in Times Square.  The event is part of New York City's Super Week, a festival celebrating pop culture throughout the city and an extension of the increasingly popular New York Comic Con.  More details can be found in this The New York Times article.

Tickets are no longer available online and I'm not sure if they'll be available on the door or not.  Red Carpet arrivals start at 5:30pm with the show beginning at 7pm EDT.

Best of luck guys, make some magic!!

I Dream of Genie Episode 8

James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Your final wish is granted as and James Monroe Iglehart bring I Dream of Genie to its spectacular, musical finale!

In this week's final edition James answers more fan questions in "Ask a Genie" (and promises to keep answering them on Twitter), with backing music supplied one last time by the talented Jaz Sealey, and conducts some impromptu interviews with the awesome Don Darryl Rivera and the head of Disney Theatrical, Thomas Schumacher!

I love this episode!  "Ask a Genie" was as fun as always, the finale was fabulous, but I absolutely love the interviews!  They just capture the feel that James used to have on The JMI Show and I loved it!  Plus for all the years I've been doing this and all the knowledge I like to think I have about Disney Theatrical, watching this I realised I know practically nothing about Thomas Schumacher!  What a career!!  Bringing Cirque du Soleil to America, Walt Disney Animation (including some of the biggest films of the 90s renaissance era), and, of course, Disney Theatrical - from producing 1997's The Lion King to becoming President in 2003 and overseeing everything that's come since and everything that's yet to come (just watch the show!)

Anyway, that's enough from me, watch, enjoy, and say a big thank you to James and for eight magical episodes.  Now, who do I need to speak to about season 2?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Broadway News Round Up 18

Brandon O'Neill, Jonathan Schwartz and Brian Gonzales as Kassim, Omar and Babkak, Photo by Adam Jacobs

Your third wish is granted!  Today's news update will finally bring this blog back up to date with all the latest Aladdin Broadway news from 21st September right through to today!

First up is another interview with Aladdin himself, Adam Jacobs, as he takes Business Insider through a typical day for a Broadway star.

If you've been reading this blog long enough or watch his vlog then you know that James Monroe Iglehart is a self confessed comic nerd.  Well, one of his wishes is coming true as next week James is off to the New York Comic Con as part of the Celebrity Karaoke event!  On October 6th come along and watch James and other Broadway stars (including Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Ramin Karimloo, Les Miserables) show everyone how it's done!  Tickets are available here.

And if you're a JMI fan (and I assume that's most people reading this) then you may also be rewarded to consider this - you probably saw Freestyle Love Supreme in the first episode of I Dream of Genie, now you can see them in person at Joe's Pub on 13th October.  Tickets are available here for the 7:30pm show, JMI has tweeted that there's a 9:30pm as well but I can't find it on Joe's Pub website.  He says it's gonna be awesome, I believe him!  Make sure you check it out if you're in NYC.

The Burlington County Times reported a great story last Friday about a life long Aladdin fan whose wish came true when he got to see the show on Broadway and, thanks to an amazing security guard, even got to go back stage.  It's a great piece and I'll admit it reminds me a lot of me (but I don't think I ever managed to watch the film 15 times in a day!).

Aladdin's amazing Michael James Scott (who is Stand By for both Genie and Babkak) recently did a great Q&A with The Ensemblist covering everything from his first Broadway show to his obsession with trash TV and what it takes to make it on Broadway.  He also takes part in their latest podcast, "I'm.In.Tech.", and discusses the tech phase of Aladdin.  Check it out!

Broadway World rounds up the latest #SIP photos, including one from Courtney Reed showcasing some of the incredible fan art that she receives.

I know it's only October but Christmas is just around the corner and the Aladdin cast are taking part in this year's Carols for a Cure (Vol. 16).  They're joined by the casts of Beautiful, The Lion King, Motown: The Musical, If/Then, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera and Cabaret with more still to come!  The CDs are being done in aid of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and will be available to purchase online from and can also be purchased at participating Broadway and Off-Broadway shows during the "Gypsy of the Year" fundraising period from 24th October to 7th December and at select venues throughout the USA.  More details can be found at Broadway World and on the Broadway Cares website, both linked above.

Broadway World is reporting that Aladdin's director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw is now casting a New York development lab for Something Rotten! Like with Aladdin, Casey has once again taken on the role of both director and choreographer and, again like Aladdin, the show made it's world premiere earlier this year at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre.  Sounds like Casey could have another Broadway bound hit on his hands.

And speaking of shows that are hopefully Broadway bound, in Sunday's news round up I mentioned that Disney Theatrical had finally announced the cast for the long awaited US debut of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  What I didn't realise then was that the ensemble includes a former Princess Jasmine!  Samantha Massell, who brought Jasmine to life in The Muny's 2012 production of Aladdin in a performance that saw the St Louis' River Front Times vote her "Best Theater Discovery 2012", is part of the ensemble for the US premiere production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame at La Jolla Playhouse later this month.  Hopefully she'll stay with the show when it moves to the Papermill Playhouse next year and then (fingers crossed) to Broadway!

Samantha Massell as Jasmine with ensemble, Photo by The Muny
Soul legend Aretha Franklin visited the cast backstage last week and was on hand to take photos (and the cast have posted plenty more on their personal Twitter and Instagram accounts).

And finally, congratulations to Adara Bryan who won Playbill's #MyDreamDuet and will be singing with James Monroe Iglehart on 6th October!!  This performance will be part of the New York Comic Con Celebrity Karaoke event (tickets available here).  I can't wait to see it!