Sunday, 25 January 2015

Broadway News Round Up 28

Jonathan Freeman and Don Darryl Rivera as Jafar and Iago, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann
Hello and welcome to another news round up for Disney latest Broadway smash hit Aladdin.

It's a shorter post this week (after last week's mega catch up) but still plenty of exciting news, especially if you're an Alan Menken fan because this week saw the announcement of not just one but two new musicals from the Disney Legend!  TheaterMania reported that Alan will reunite with his Tangled and Galavant partner Glenn Slater to create the music for Happy TrailsHappy Trails is based on the life and career of American icons Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.  Head over to TheaterMania for more details.  But it gets better!

The same day as the Happy Trails announcement saw another Menken musical being announced, one that proves Alan Menken is determined that all my future holidays will be to America and revolve around his musicals!  Teaming up with his Hercules lyricist David Zippel (there's another one I'd fly around the world to see on stage!) and Newsies book writer Harvey Fierstein, Alan Menken confirmed that he is currently working on a musical adaptation of Mrs. Doubtfire!!  You can hear the announcement for yourself over at Entertainment Weekly!  I really hope this one works out as I absolutely love the film.  Yes, no one will ever do it the same as Robin Williams but that doesn't mean that someone won't be able to make the role their own and put a new spin on it like James Monroe Iglehart did with Genie in Aladdin (in fact James even made TheaterMania's dream cast list for that very reason).

And one final piece of Alan Menken news before moving on to the Aladdin news.  Entertainment Weekly spoke with Alan about the stories behind the music.  It's a fascinating read for any fan of his work.  Oh, and make sure you watch the finale of Galavant on ABC tonight!

Alan Menken

Aladdin himself visited the Enchanted Tiki Room as Adam Jacobs took part in the Enchanted Tiki Talk podcast last week.  Make sure you give it a listen!

Courtney Reed posted a very special #TBT this week from her very first reading of Aladdin and the first time she met Adam Jacobs back in October 2010.

Highlights for Daisy Hobbs' concert debut, Here, An Evening of Song have been posted on YouTube and her first single from the show (Everyone Wants to Hear a Black Girl Belt) is now available on iTunes.

Michael James Scott and the stars of Broadway by the Beach spoke with Broadway World and share an exclusive teaser of the opening number.

And now some quick Hunchback updates!

Ciara Renee spoke The Pickwyck about her career and playing Esmeralda.

D23 are having a special VIP night at The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Paper Mill Playhouse on 15th March with 20% off tickets and a talk-back with lyricist Stephen Schwartz!  It's a fantastic opportunity if you can go!

Casey Nicholaw at the Broadway Premiere of Aladdin

One last bit of non-Aladdin news (though it is related) - Director Casey Nicholaw's new musical Tuck Everlasting premiered on Wednesday in Atlanta.  For the show Nicholaw was reunited with fellow Aladdin alum Andrew Keenan-Bolger (5th Avenue's original Omar) in the starring role of Jesse Tuck.  Tickets are available here.

Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed as Aladdin and Jasmine in the 5th Avenue Pilot Production, Photo by Mark Kitaoka

And finally some international news!  The Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye is back with more rumours on the West End debut of Aladdin.  It seems that the show's success on Broadway has made Disney re-think their theatre options in London.  Originally Baz had suggested that the show was pretty much signed to open in the Palladium next year, but "the Palladium is famous for family entertainment, and shows run there for two years (three at best)" and Disney now think that Aladdin, with its cross-generational appeal, could have a longer run.  Because of this Baz reports that Disney are now looking at the Dominion Theatre as Aladdin's potential home in the West End.  Obviously nothing is official until it's announced by Disney but we know more international productions are in the works and the West End hasn't had a new Disney production since Mary Poppins back in 2004.  I'm going to keep wishing this one is true as it would certainly save me a lot on plane tickets!

See you all next week!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Broadway News Round Up 27

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, Photo by Deen Van Meer

Hello and welcome to the latest Aladdin Broadway news round up!  As I promised last week this edition is going to catch you up and everything that happened over the holidays and in the weeks since so expect quite a few links!

Ok, here we go!

First things first, just before Christmas Aladdin welcomed Steel Burkhardt to the cast as the new Kassim and he was quickly welcomed to this "super" cast;

Steel Burkhardt as Kassim with the cast of Aladdin

Great to see Steel in costume!

It's a little late for Christmas but it's still worth checking out this adorable Christmas video by Aladdin's Andrew Cao, Hunchback's Samantha Massell's beautiful performance of A Place Called Home from  Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens' A Christmas Carol at 54 Below's A Very Broadway Holiday, and Playbill's look at how the casts and crews celebrate the holidays back stage (Aladdin is page 5).  Broadway World also has exclusive photo coverage of the Aladdin cast from when they recorded their song for last year's Carols for a Cure CD.

On New Year's Eve I posted that Aladdin's official Facebook page had posted a video of the confetti test the cast did at the New Amsterdam Theatre, well Broadway World has posted photos from the event.

 Reading Eagle featured Aladdin in their Top 10 Broadway shows in their 2014 Year in Review.

Entertainment Monthly puts James Monroe Iglehart in their Top 10 Broadway Performances of 2014, well done JMI!!

And Disney officially dominated the Broadway box office in 2014 with it's winning combination of Aladdin and The Lion KingThe Lion King was the overall highest grossing show of 2014 and Aladdin was the highest grossing new show last year (coming in at number 5 overall).  Hopefully this means that Aladdin will be on Broadway for a long time to come!

The Foxville Country Players in Yorkville will be performing songs from Disney's Broadway musicals, including Aladdin in their 4th annual Night of Broadway Fundraiser on 24th January.  More details can be found here.

NY1 has an unusual little piece on Ernest Winzer Cleaners - "Where Broadway Gets Its Laundry Done" (including Aladdin)

Audra McDonald and the cast of Aladdin, Photo by Joseph Marzullo

Playbill have posted a photo gallery of 6 time Tony Award Winner Audra McDonald's visit to Aladdin.  You can see the group photo above but make sure to check out Playbill for the rest.

After being the highest grossing new show of 2014 Frontierland Station is reporting that Aladdin has continued its record breaking run into 2015 by once again broke the house record at the New Amsterdam Theatre for the week ending 4th January.

Aladdin took part in Kids' Night on Broadway last week and here's a short Q&A video of Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed answering their questions;

If you have a Disney Visa Card you can now purchase VIP tickets to see Aladdin for performances through July 5th.  The VIP package includes Premium Seating, a complimentary (non-alcoholic) drink in a souvenir cup, a lanyard with the show pin and a keepsake photo.  Not sure if this has changed but when I went last year the VIP package was the only way to get the show pin and the commemorative photo was James Monroe Iglehart as Genie.
On Saturday 23rd January Michael James Scott will be taking part in Broadway by the Beach in Florida.  You can read more information here and here, and get tickets here.
Playbill went backstage at Aladdin to witness the magic that helps bring the show to life 8 times a week.  It's a fascinating read into a world that most people will never see but without it the show could not go on.
Broadway World reports that Aladdin's Bud Weber is taking part in a reading of Sing Me Home in LA on 26th January.  Tickets to the reading are complimentary so check out the link if you're interested in going!
After leaving Aladdin just before Christmas Brandon O'Neill is back at The 5th Avenue Theatre this year in Carousel and Broadway World have the full cast list for the upcoming production.  Carousel runs February 5th through March 1st at The 5th Avenue.
Aladdin's Clifton Davis is to be one of the speakers in the 5th annual Lift Every Voice lecture series on 9th February.  As well as playing the Sultan on Broadway, Clifton is also a minister and will speak on "Strength for the Journey: Succeeding Against the Odds".  Further details on the event and other lectures in the series can be found here and here.
And in case you missed Jeopardy or like me you couldn't watch it live here's all the highlights; 

How awesome was that?!

And speaking of awesome, has listed Adam Jacobs' portrayal of Aladdin as one of the 10 stage turns that really wowed them in 2014.  Congratulations Adam!

Adam Jacobs and James Monroe Iglehart are both on Buzzfeed's list of "Hottest Broadway Hunks of 2014".

Aladdin topped's list to be proclaimed their best show of 2014.  It didn't quite make it as high on their fan poll but it still made the top 5!

Huge congratulations to James Monroe Iglehart for making it into USA Today's Top Life Photos for their 2014 Year in Review!  Incredible achievement, well done!

If you've been missing James' I Dream of Genie vlog (I know I have!!) then have something for you as all their vloggers look back on the year that was!

Disney Legend Alan Menken talks with D23 about his new show Galavant (I hope you're watching, it's brilliant) but also talks briefly about working simultaneously on the Broadway production of Aladdin and the US Premiere production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Speaking of the Disney Legend, here he is singing the soundtrack to your childhood at a recent ABC press event for Galavant.  Enjoy!

Not strictly Aladdin related, though it was where I first saw the show, The Spectrum has written a fantastic piece about Tuacahn's Artistic Director Scott Anderson and the Tuacahn's Disney connection (this year the Tuacahn is premiering Disney Theatrical's new revue show When You Wish).  And with the Tuacahn being considered for productions of The Jungle Book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Newsies it looks like the Disney connection will be strong with Tuacahn for many years to come!  I can't stress enough that if you have the chance to see a show at the Tuacahn then you owe it to yourself to go. It really is a unique experience and the memories will last a lifetime.

James Monroe Iglehart is to be one of the performers at the Drama League's 31st Musical Celebration of Broadway.  This year's gala will honour the career of the one and only James Earl Jones.

If you couldn't make it to Daisy Hobbs' solo debut earlier this month here's a sample of what you missed.  Enjoy!

This week Playbill spoke with some of the unsung heroes of Broadway - the Standbys!  Check out what Merwin Foard and Michael James Scott have to say about stepping into the shoes of Jafar, Genie and Sultan at a moments notice.

Already bought all of the Aladdin show merchandise?  Well Don Darryl Rivera has you covered!  Check out this new shirt he's created for anyone who's ever wanted to be a Disney villain and get yours here!

And finally a brief update on The Hunchback of Notre DameSDGLN's "Best of Theater" list for 2014 was quite extensive and Hunchback received several mentions - one of the best musicals, Scott Schwartz for direction, Patrick Page for his portrayal of Frollo and the set design by Alexander Dodge.  Well done all!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame has also been nominated for several Craig Noel Awards;

Outstanding Residential Musical
Outstanding Musical Direction - Brent Alan Huffman
Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical, Male - Patrick Page
Outstanding Lighting Design - Howell Binkley
Outstanding Scenic Design - Alexander Dodge
Outstanding Direction of a Musical - Scott Schwartz

Well done everyone, and good luck!

If you missed it at La Jolla, make sure you catch it at the Paper Mill!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

What is Aladdin? - Broadway's Aladdin on Jeopardy TONIGHT!!

James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Photo from Jeopardy Tumblr

That's right!  Tonight's edition of Jeopardy will feature a Broadway's Aladdin as one of its categories!

According to Playbill this is only the third time in the show's long history that an entire category has been dedicated to a single Broadway show.  And that's not all!  For the first time ever footage from the show will be used in the clues as the New Amsterdam Theatre welcomed the Jeopardy team into Aladdin's Broadway home.

In fact the Jeopardy tumblr has a special back stage look at Aladdin so make sure to check it out!

You can find out when tonight's episode of Jeopardy is airing in your area here (US only).

Sunday, 11 January 2015

New Year's News

Happy New Year everyone!  And for Aladdin a new year means a new look at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre;

How awesome does it look with the lamp there?!  I can't wait to get back to NYC and give it a rub!
And speaking of awesome I hope you all checked out Adam Jacobs, Courtney Reed and James Monroe Iglehart reading out wishes in Times Square on New Years Eve!  If not then here's some quick screen shots for you;

An Arabian Genie in Gotham?
If you follow JMI on Twitter (and if not, why not?! It's @jamesmiglehart) you will probably have seen his tweet earlier this week;
"On the set of @Gotham....WHAT? #BatNerdHeaven!"
Now JMI was out of the show for a few days earlier this week and subsequent tweets referred to working "outside of the theatre" and how good the craft services are on film and TV sets.  I'm not the World's Greatest Detective so maybe I'm putting 2 and 2 together and getting 5 but it sounds to me like everyone's favourite Genie will be guest starring on Gotham later this season!!
Ok, I'll be back next weekend with a full news round up to catch up with everything that's been happening over the holidays but before I go there are two more things I need to mention!
Thanks to Broadway World you could win tickets to Scott Alan's sold out 54 Below debut concert which will feature James Monroe Iglehart and a host of Broadway stars!
And finally, tonight is Daisy Hobbs' solo concert debut!  I just want to wish her the very best of luck for tonight's performance and if you're in NYC then I believe there are a few tickets left here!