Sunday, 22 February 2015

Broadway News Round Up 30

Courtney Reed as Princess Jasmine, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann
A shorter news round up this week (probably because I've finally got back to doing these weekly!) but still plenty of updates from the cast of Disney's latest Broadway blockbuster Aladdin!
The big news of the week was, of course, James Monroe Iglehart's appearance on Gotham.  I'm trying to avoid spoilers (the show is still on hiatus here until next month) but it sounds like it was a fantastic episode, so congratulations once again James on your DCU debut!
You can also check out an awesome behind the scenes picture of James with series star Ben McKenzie on JMI's Instagram.

We all know that the cast of Aladdin love to support good causes and this week Princess Jasmine herself, Courtney Reed, announced that she is taking part in Cycle for Survival to help raise money for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to support lifesaving research into rare cancers.  I've donated and you can to right here.  Courtney's nearly reached her goal already so let's help push her past it!  The event takes place on 8th March.

And Aladdin is also showing his support for a good cause this week as Adam Jacobs' donated to Charitable Act, a non-profit foundation that gives underprivileged children the opportunity to learn and enjoy theatre arts at summer camps.  You can find out more information and donate yourself by clicking on the link.
With Aladdin now a smash hit on Broadway, Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw is keeping busy with two new shows.  Tuck Everlasting (featuring Aladdin's original Omar Andrew Keenan-Bolger) concluded it's premiere run this afternoon but Playbill is reporting that the creative team is aiming for a Broadway future.  Meanwhile, Broadway World has photo's from the press day of Something Rotten! (featuring Aladdin's own Michael James Scott, Marisha Wallace and Bud Weber) which is set to open on Broadway next month.
It's not long now!  On Friday the cast and creative team of The Hunchback of Notre Dame finished re-staging the show for their upcoming run at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse and yesterday they completed their first full run through of the revised show.  How much has been changed since last year's US Premiere Production at the La Jolla Playhouse?  I've no idea but we'll have the answers soon enough and I can't wait to finally see it!

You can check out the new trailer below;

No new footage in the trailer but here's a few more production images from the La Jolla run of the show to help tide you over until the show opens at the Paper Mill next month (make sure you click the link for more images in part 2 as well).

Until next time!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Broadway News Round Up 29

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

Here we go again!  Welcome to the latest news round up for Disney's Aladdin on Broadway! (with a little bit of The Hunchback of Notre Dame thrown in for good measure, but more on that later!)

Firstly, the biggest Aladdin news for this update comes not from Disney Theatrical but from Disney Home Entertainment as they finally announced the American release of Aladdin on Diamond Edition blu-ray on 6th October!

Now I know I live in the UK so shouldn't get too excited over this (we were lucky enough to get the blu-ray of Aladdin way back in April 2013) but I'm just thinking about the special features this new edition could have.  The UK edition carried over most of the old Platinum Edition's special features (meaning it's still got some of the best special features of any Disney blu-ray) but since then Aladdin has opened on Broadway.  When The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning was released on DVD it included a short special feature taking you behind the scenes of the Broadway show, so I'm just crossing my fingers and wishing for something similar for Aladdin.  Maybe something even bigger, looking at how the film went from Howard Ashman's concept to the film version then returned to some of Howard's ideas for stage.  Disney aren't exactly known for their amazing special features these days but I'm going to keep on wishing!

Oh, and "A whole new world in a whole new way"?  I've definitely heard that somewhere before... Looks like Home Entertainment have been stealing some of Theatrical's taglines!

Back on the stage, Aladdin had a very special edition to its ensemble earlier this month as Jimmy Kimmel Live's Guillermo joined the cast for one night only!

Aladdin's incredible director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw was honoured at the end of last month by the Broadway Dreams Foundation and the ArtsBridge Foundation with a special musical journey through his career so far at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre as they celebrated his contribution to American Musical Theatre.  Broadway World was on hand to photograph the event.  Congratulations Casey!!

I'm sorry to announce that later this month Aladdin will be losing three more original cast members.  Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw is stealing his own cast as Michael James Scott, Marisha Wallace and Bud Weber are all departing Agrabah to join his new show Something Rotten!  Rehearsals for the new show started last Monday so all three are currently doing double duty (Something Rotten! rehearsals in the day, Aladdin performances at night) in preparation for their new show's opening next month.  I'll do a full post nearer the time but for now I just want to say a massive thank you to all three for their time in Aladdin and congratulations and good luck for their new show.

And you can catch Marisha Wallace on the latest episode of 5 Minute Call with Cessalee Stovall talking about her road to Broadway and doing three shows with Casey Nicholaw (including Aladdin naturally!)

Something Rotten! isn't Casey's only new production this season.  Tuck Everlasting is currently running at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta and Playbill has your first look at the show, including Aladdin's original Omar, Andrew Keenan-Bolger.

And speaking of original cast members, Broadway's original Kassim, Brandon O'Neill has made a triumphant return home to Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre where he is starring as Billy Bigelow in Roger and Hammerstein's Carousel (running now through March 1st).  Below you can see him talk about his time in Aladdin and what it's like coming home to The 5th as well as the newly released sizzlereel for the show;

It's great to see Brandon back on stage again and you can read reviews of the show here and here.  Welcome home Brandon.

Here's a new video from Disney Theatrical's YouTube channel which shows Alan Menken, James Monroe Iglehart and Adam Jacobs recording the fantastic Genie Medley from Aladdin's Broadway Cast Recording.

Michael James Scott took part in #SoBlessed Live at 54 Below last weekend.  More information about the performance can be found at Broadway World.

And last but certainly not least, Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed did a fun little video with Pop Sugar for Valentine's Day telling you how to achieve a fairy tale love just like Aladdin and Jasmine's.  It's a lot of fun :o)

After an incredibly successful run at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse Hunchback's creative team wisely decided not to mess with success so when the cast was announced for the upcoming production at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse it was virtually identical to last year's acclaimed production.

Michael Arden, Ciara Renee, Patrick Page, Andrew Samonsky and Erik Liberman once again lead the cast as Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Frollo, Phoebus and Clopin respectively.  And returning in the ensemble are Julian Decker, Mary Joe Duggan, Ian Patrick Gibb, Beth Kirkpatrick, Samantha Massell, Neal Mayer, Nora Menken, William Michals, Anise Ritchie, Vincent Rodriguez III and Richard Ruiz.  Joining them for this new production are Joseph J. Simeone, Jeremy Stolle and Dashaun Young and the Continuo Arts Symphonic Choir.
Before starting rehearsals at the Paper Mill several cast members stopped by Broadway Sessions earlier this month.
Congratulations are in order as La Jolla's production of Hunchback took home 3 Craig Noel Awards last week as Alexander Dodge and Howell Binkley picked up the awards for Outstanding Scenic Design and Outstanding Lighting Design respectively whilst Patrick Page took home the award for Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical for his portrayal of Frollo.  Congratulations everyone!

And not to be outdone by Aladdin and Jasmine, the Belles of Notre Dame put together a little something for Valentine's Day;

Tickets for the Paper Mill production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame are on sale now, and don't forget if you're a member of Disney's D23 you can have the VIP Experience on 15th March!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed as Aladdin and Jasmine, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  I hope your Valentine's Day was a magical whole new world.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Next Week on Gotham...

James Monroe Iglehart and the cast of Gotham

Aladdin's James Monroe Iglehart will be in #BatNerdHeaven next Monday as he makes his debut on Fox's Gotham!

If you follow James on Twitter or read any interviews with him then you know he's a big comic book fan and his favourite character is Batman (you can see his Batman tattoo in this incredible episode of The JMI Show where he interviews himself!) so this really must have been a dream job for him!  And what an episode he gets to star in!  Not only is he playing the Ringmaster of Haley Circus (which is inspired casting!) but he also gets to appear in an episode that may, just may, feature the debut of the man who will be Joker...

James' episode of Gotham will air on Monday 16th February at 8pm ET and you can see him centre stage every night at the New Amsterdam Theatre as the Genie in Disney's Aladdin.