|Jonathan Freeman as Jafar, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann or Deen Van Meer|
Welcome to another news round up for Disney's Aladdin on Broadway! I'm aware that I've not done one of these for a while so there's a lot to catch up on, but first something to get you all in the festive mood since we've reached December! Here's James Monroe Iglehart putting an Agrabah twist a Christmas classic. And after Thanksgiving Disney Theatrical certainly have a lot to be thankful for as both Aladdin and The Lion King broke house records again during Broadway's highest-grossing Thanksgiving weekend in history! Aladdin pulled in $1,759,955 as it broke the New Amsterdam's house record for the third time (or is it fourth now? I've honestly lost track!)
On December 14th Disney are celebrating 20 Years on Broadway with an hour long Backstage with Disney on Broadway: Celebrating 20 Years special on ABC. The event will be hosted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and feature performances from Elton John, Mary Poppins' Ashley Brown and Aladdin himself, Adam Jacobs. The special will take you into the rehearsal room with The Lion King, to opening night with Newsies and backstage during Aladdin's "Friend Like Me" so it's definitely a show that you don't want to miss!
But before that Broadway World is reporting that Adam Jacobs and James Monroe Iglehart will be on The View this Tuesday morning (9th December) so make sure to check it out!
Continuing the 20th anniversary celebrations of Disney Theatrical NY1 News went behind the scenes at Aladdin to speak with Adam Jacobs, Courtney Reed, James Monroe Iglehart and Jonathan Freeman. They also spent time with the touring cast of Newsies attended the opening night of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in San Diego and spoke with the head of Disney Theatrical, Thomas Schumacher.
On Thursday 11th December James Monroe Iglehart will be joining other Broadway stars at 54 Below for the Don't Quit Your Night Job Holiday Spectacular where Broadway and improve meet... and make out. Tickets are on sale now so don't miss out! And that's not all! James will be back at 54 Below on 19th January as part of song writer Scott Alan's 54 Below debut.
Continuing the tradition of Aladdin cast members supporting good causes, Adam Kaokept recently spent time helping Broadway Serves at the NYC Rescue Mission's Thanksgiving Banquet. Well done Adam!
James Monroe Iglehart talks to NYC City Guide about Aladdin and picking his targets in the audience!
Joshua Dela Cruz talks with The Jersey Tomato Press about his High Adventures in Aladdin.
Aladdin's Michael James Scott is taking part in King of Glory, the annual Christmas concert of the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Florida on Friday 12th December.
Broadway World has photos of some of Aladdin's cast members at the Broadway Dream's Foundation's Night of Dreams gala.
The Burlington County Times (a New Jersey community newspaper) has a new review of the show. (subscription required)
Broadway World reports that Aladdin's Bud Weber is taking part in an industry reading of Sing Me Home (and also give an email address where you can request complimentary tickets!)
The New Amsterdam Theatre will be host to the 26th annual Gypsy of the Year on Monday 8th December (4:30pm EST) and Tuesday 9th December (2pm EST) which will celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Wiz. The show will feature special appearances by a number of Broadway stars, including Aladdin's James Monroe Iglehart, and the panel of judges includes Aladdin and Jasmine themselves, Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed.
Adam Jacobs and James Monroe Iglehart's appearance on Seth Rudetsky's Chatterbox is now on the SethTV website. (subscription required)
Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher talks with Vulture about how Broadway has changed in the last 20 years and the highs and lows of bringing Disney to life on stage.
Last month Adam Jacobs taught a musical theatre workshop with A Class Act NY and Broadway World has the photos.
And speaking of Adam Jacobs, the readers of Broadway.com recently voted Adam into the Top 10 sexiest men alive on Broadway. Congratulations Adam.
Disney Channel stars Ben Savage and Rowan Blanchard (Girl Meets World) recently went backstage at the New Amsterdam Theatre and met the cast of Aladdin;
The West End rumours keep on coming as the Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye wrote last month "the Broadway show Aladdin arrives at the London Palladium in early 2016. The folks at Disney were meeting with Palladium executives this week for another round of discussions that will, eventually, seal a deal." No sources were quoted, not even the usual anonymous Broadway/West End executives/producers that normally get mentioned in reports like this (as happened in January 2013 when Aladdin was first rumoured for Broadway) but with 2 international productions already announced and more confirmed to be coming it's extremely likely that this report is accurate. That said, Baz Bamigboye does lose some credibility when he goes on to state that "Rice wrote the lyrics for the animated film version then worked with Director Casey Nicholaw and other writers on numbers for the stage iteration" as Tim Rice was not involved with the Broadway production of Aladdin nor the earlier Seattle Pilot production in 2011. And when he says "they need to calm it down a bit for London" well, let's just say I respectfully disagree.
And on the subject of international productions the Herald Sun is reporting that, according to a rumour "which is building among the arts industry" Aladdin is set to open in Australia in 2016! As with the West End rumours this is unofficial until it is confirmed by Disney but if both of these rumours are true then Aladdin is having one of the fastest international roll outs in Disney Theatrical's history! Not bad for a show that was never meant to go to Broadway!
Not exactly Aladdin related but the Tuacahn (who staged a fantastic production of Aladdin in 2012) has been nominated in several categories of the 2014 Broadway World Salt Lake City Awards for this year's production of The Little Mermaid including a Best Actress nomination for Heidi Anderson for her portrayal of Ursula. Heidi was Marketing Manager at the Tuacahn during their production of Aladdin and was a big supported of this blog so please take a moment to vote for her and the Tuacahn's production of The Little Mermaid.
And finally Disney Theatrical recently announced a new ticket exchange program for their Broadway shows. Recognising that people these days often have hectic and unpredictable schedules you can now exchange your ticket right up to 2 hours before the performance! Playbill have all the details.
Next week is the final week of the US premiere production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse and if the tweets that have been filling my homepage these last 3 weeks are any indication then it's been an absolutely incredible run and Broadway is almost certainly looming on the horizon after the Paper Mill's run next March.
But don't take my word for it! Here's some more fantastic reviews to tell you just what you're missing if you haven't seen this show! (Big thanks to Alex for sending me a lot of these links!)
Broadway World calls it "a feast for the eyes... and the soul".
Disney Examiner says "it's not an exact replica of Disney's film version, but if you're looking for a complex, alternate look at the story, you have to watch this musical production that brings the tale to an epic, darker level."
Disney Club of UCLA calls it "unforgettable" stating that "Scott Schwartz's masterful presentation at La Jolla Playhouse has greatly exceeded any preconceived expectations."
Neon Tommy calls the show "an absolute triumph" before going on to say "It is tragic, sweet, disturbing, inspiring, and revelatory. The exciting work that La Jolla Playhouse has done to bring this old and classic tale to the stage may finally bring The Hunchback of Notre Dame to the forefront of American theatre on the Broadway stage, and sets the gold standard for musical theatre adaptations to come."
Entertainment Today says "there is little doubt that this production of Hunchback will have a long run on Broadway"" and advises readers to see it now during it's San Diego run.
Examiner gives the show 5 stars saying it "is both spectacular and a spectacle, and is alive and well."
The Guardian also gives the show 5 stars saying it's the show's "newfound complexity that will put this musical right on track to becoming a Broadway hit."
NY1 took a look at the show and spoken with Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz and Scott Schwartz about Hunchback.
Chase Brock spoke with Edge Media Network about choreographing The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Disney's D23 fan club reflects on the recent D23 Member Night at The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
And on a lighter note Hunchback's Samantha Massell and Nora Menken have been posting some unique backstage videos as the girls of Hunchback play the kazoo. Check them out here and here.