Tuesday, 27 May 2014

On Sale Today - Aladdin: Original Broadway Cast Recording!

"Go cry from the highest mountain tops, rejoice, raise your voice, pull out all the stops!"

I've been waiting over 3 years for this moment, Aladdin's cast album is now, finally, on sale!!  And it is every bit as magical as the show!  To quote Jonathan Schwartz's Omar, "this thing is awesome!"  I've been listening to it all day, picturing the show again in my minds eye and, maybe I'm just a little bias, I think it's the best cast album Disney Theatrical have ever released.  The quality is incredible, the songs are amazing and the bonus tracks are fantastic.  What are you waiting for?  Head on over to iTunes to get your copy now! (the link is for the US store so you may need to search your regional store if you live outside if the USA).

Here's what some of the cast have been saying on Twitter;

"aladdin OBC available now on iTunes!! Yahoo!! #myfirstOBC #immortalized #awesomesauce Thank you..." - @AdamJacobsNYC

"The @aladdin cast is out! I am so proud of our show & so proud of this cast album!" - @jamesmiglehart

"The Aladdin cast album is here!!! Look Ma I'm on iTunes! #firstcastalbum #obc #bwaydebut #lookatGod #mynameisinthecredits  #wonthedoit" @aladdin" - @marishawallace

"You guys, I'm an iTune. #AladdinOBCR #LifeLongDisneyDream" - @DonDarrylRivera

"Aladdin (Original Broadway Cast Recording) by Various Artists #OBC #canttakethisaway https://itun.es/us/mULu0" - @brandonactor

"And then this happened #whatismylife #pinchmeplease ... @marishawallace I stole your photo ;)-" - @RhodesReed

"Make way here it comes! Our cast album is available for digital download TODAY! Get your copy here >> http://www.aladdinthemusical.com/music" - @aladdin

Now, I'm off to listen to it again!  Good night everyone!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Get Aladdin's Cast Album Early!

If you live if the US you can now purchase the digital version of the cast album from www.disneymusicstore.com!  The rest of us have to wait until tomorrow for the official release.

Here's the track listing;

1. Overture
2. Arabian Nights
3. One Jump Ahead
4. One Jump Ahead (Reprise)
5. Proud of Your Boy
6. These Palace Walls
7. Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim
8. A Million Miles Away
9. Diamond in the Rough
10. Friend Like Me
11. Act One Finale
12. Prince Ali
13. A Whole New World
14. High Adventure
15. Somebody's Got Your Back
16. Proud of Your Boy (Reprise)
17. Prince Ali (Sultan Reprise)
18. Prince Ali (Jafar Reprise)
19. Finale Ultimo
20. Bonus Track - Proud of Your Boy
21. Bonus Track - Genie Medley

And if you can't wait, you can hear some short previews of each track at Australia's Get Music.

The bonus tracks feature Adam Jacobs (Proud of Your Boy) and James Monroe Iglehart (Genie Medley) with Alan Menken on the piano.  As for just what the Genie Medley is, I don't want to spoil the surprise but you'll know if you listen to the preview track.  I'll just say I'd buy a whole CD of this!!

The digital cast album will be available from tomorrow (27th May) with the physical album on shelves 17th June.  You can buy the physical cast album from www.aladdinthemusicalstore.com if you live in the US and Amazon will ship internationally, but if you live in the UK I can recommend Dress Circle, a London based theatre specialty shop.  I've purchased from them before (both online and in store) and can highly recommend them.  I was even able to get a copy of the Broadway recording of Alan Menken's A Christmas Carol from them this year, their selection is that good.

James Monroe Iglehart Wins Toronto Theatre Critics' Award!!

James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann
A short but happy update - Broadway.com reports that James Monroe Iglehart has won the Toronto Theatre Critics' Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance as Genie in Aladdin's pre-Broadway run.

I just want to say a massive congratulations to James for this well deserved reward!  This mortal man makes you believe in Genie magic every moment he's on stage.  Hopefully this is the first of many!

Broadway News Round Up 5

I hope everyone has had a good Bank Holiday/Memorial Day Weekend!  Welcome to the first weekly news round up (let's see how long I can keep this up, lol).

First up this week is a very special new video that Disney Theatrical have posted on their YouTube channel - The Surprise Hit of the Season!

Jim Hill interviews James Monroe Iglehart for the Huffington Post about winning his dream role and Aladdin's long road from Seattle to Broadway.

The Wall Street Journal also takes a look at Aladdin's journey to Broadway, talking with Thomas Schumacher, Casey Nicholaw, Chad Beguelin and James Monroe Iglehart about the overhauls it went through in order to become one of the biggest hits this season.

Another positive fan review has been posted.

CBS New York has posted an article on why they feel JMI should take home the Tony Award (and oh how I hope he does!)

Times Square Chronicles talks with Casey Nicholaw and James Monroe Iglehart.

Timeout: Central Florida Entertainment Guide go to diner and back stage with Yurel Echezeretta.

Make sure you vote in the first annual Ghostlight Awards, honouring those behind the scenes who are too often overlooked.  Aladdin has nominees in the following categories;

Best Concessions/Bar Staff - Eric Pagan
Best Dance Captain - Michael Mindlin
Best Dresser - Carrie Kamerer
Best Dresser - Leslie Moulton (Leslie is Don Darryl Rivera's dresser)
Best Merchandise Seller - Heather Card
Best Merchandise Seller - Clint Escandell
Best Usher - Megan Duffy
Best Usher - Josh Garcia

Voting closes tonight so please hurry!

James Monroe Iglehart and Casey Nicholaw talk with Theater Talk;

James Monroe Iglehart talks secrets with Broadway.com.

Courtney Reed has posted a Throwback Thursday Instagram photo of herself and Adam Jacobs from the 5th Avenue's Pilot Production of Aladdin that I'm pretty sure I've never seen before!

Adam Jacobs, James Monroe Iglehart and Casey Nicholaw talk with ABC News about Aladdin and their 1 wish.  Adam's is the most selfless but I really want JMI's wish to come true and I really, really want Casey's wish to come true (though I'd never have the cash or the room if it did!).  It's a great interview and well worth watching.  Like Casey says, this cast loves the film, loves their characters and that comes across on stage, it's what makes them the perfect cast for this.

Jonathan Freeman talks with Entertainment Weekly about Aladdin, all things Jafar and Owen Suskind's story.

Broadway's World's Backstage with Richard Ridge talks with Casey Nicholaw about Aladdin and his career so far.

And finally, congratulations to Jaz Sealey who made his debut as Kassim yesterday!

That's all for this weekend, I'll be back with another news round up next weekend but I have a few more posts coming up tonight as well!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Cast Album Previews!

Yesterday Disney released not one, not two, not even three but four preview tracks for the upcoming cast recording of Broadway's Aladdin!

First up Entertainment Weekly debuted Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed's beautiful rendition of the Alan Menken/Tim Rice classic A Whole New World along with Brandon O'Neill, Brian Gonzales and Jonathan Schwartz's hilarious performance of Howard Ashman/Alan Menken's High Adventure (I'm so glad they left in the "are we there yet" bit for the cast album).

Soon after Buzzfeed premiered two more songs, the new Alan Menken/Chad Beguelin duet A Million Miles Away, once again performed beautifully by Adam and Courtney, and Howard Ashman/Alan Menken's Friend Like Me, a show stopping tour de force by James Monroe Iglehart with the aid of Adam Jacobs and the entire ensemble.

So what are you waiting for?  Go and check them out!  And make sure to pick up a copy of the full cast album when it's released on 27th May (digital) or 17th June (physical).

I didn't post, or even listen, to these yesterday for personal reasons but I just want to say a big thank you to Adam and Courtney, you made me smile again, and to James, Brandon, Brian and Jonathan (and the entire ensemble in Friend Like Me), you guys made me laugh again and I just can't thank you enough.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Vote for Aladdin in the Broadway World Awards

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, Photo by Disney

Awards season continues with another round audience choice awards!

There are 11 days left to vote in the 2014 Broadway World Awards where Aladdin is up for;

Best Choreography - Casey Nicholaw
Best Orchestrations - Danny Troob
Best Book of a Musical - Chad Beguelin
Best Score - Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice & Chad Beguelin
Best Scenic Design - Bob Crowley
Best Lighting Design - Natasha Katz
Best Costume Design - Gregg Barnes
Best Direction of a Musical - Casey Nicholaw
Best Featured Actor in a Musical - James Monroe Iglehart
Best Leading Actor in a Musical - Adam Jacobs
Best Leading Actress in a Musical - Courtney Reed
Best Musical - Aladdin
Best Sound Design of a Musical - Ken Travis

Good luck to everyone!

Courtney Reed's Big Screen Debut

Courtney Reed as Princess Jasmine, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Tonight at the Soho International Film Festival Aladdin's Courtney Reed will be making her big screen debut in the world premiere of A New York Love Story!

Tickets can be purchased here (sorry for the late notice).  The film starts at 9:15pm at the Village East Cinema 189 2nd Avenue (12th Street) NYC and will be followed by a Q&A with the cast and crew.  A short summary and trailer can also be seen by following the link.

If you can't make it to tonight's showing, the film will also be part of Los Angeles Dances with Film festival later this month.

I just want to say a big congratulations to Courtney and all the best for tonight's premiere!

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.

NewYork.com 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!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Aladdin Events Tonight!

Really quick update tonight as I've just learnt about two Aladdin events taking place tonight!!

First up, at 5pm Don Darryl Rivera will taking part in a Q&A at Bloomingdales in New York so if you can attend please go and show him your support!

Then, at 10pm on PIX11 Adam Jacobs will be showing Tamsen Fadal around Agrabah on "Backstage on Broadway" so make sure to check it out!

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

I'll be back this weekend with a full news update.

Update - Here's the video PIX11's "Backstage on Broadway"

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Broadway.com's Audience Choice Awards and Tony Awards Updates

 Last week Broadway.com asked people for their nominations for their Audience Choice Awards, now the nomination votes have been counted and the final nominees have been announced and once again Aladdin is well represented with 7 nominations!

Favorite New Musical - Aladdin
Favorite Featured Actor in a Musical - Jonathan Freeman
Favorite Featured Actor in a Musical - James Monroe Iglehart
Favorite Diva Performance - James Monroe Iglehart
Favorite Funny Performance - James Monroe Iglehart
Favorite Breakthrough Performance (Female) - Courtney Reed
Favorite New Song - A Million Miles Away

You can cast your vote here!  I just want to say a massive congratulations to Jonathan, James, Courtney, Alan Menken and Chad Beguelin and everyone in Aladdin for their nominations!

And whilst we're on the subject of Broadway.com, make sure you head on over to take part in their weekend poll to vote for Aladdin and Jasmine as Prom King and Queen of Broadway!

BroadwayWorld caught up with James Monroe Iglehart shortly after his Tony Award nomination was announced.  You can see what he had to say here!  The Broadway League also caught up with him to talk about his nomination;

And you can see JMI, along with other nominees in this short video from American Theatre Wing talking about "Why Theatre?"

And finally a few vacation alerts!  Courtney Reed has posted on Twitter that she will be away from June 29th-July 6th and Brandon O'Neill has posted on his official Facebook page that he will be away from 23-29th June and 30-31st August.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Vote for Aladdin in Broadway.com's Audience Choice Awards!

Jonathan Freeman and Don Darryl Rivera as Jafar and Iago, photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Aladdin's been nominated for a lot of awards recently but now it's your turn to have your say!  Head over to Broadway.com to nominate your choices for this years awards!  I love that they have write in options, I'm so nominating Jonathan Freeman and Don Darryl Rivera as one of my favourite on stage pairings!  Voting is open until midnight tonight and the final list of nominees will be announced tomorrow so get your votes in quick!