Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone!

James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

As another year draws to a close we're at Christmas Eve once more.  To get you in the festive mood here's some carols and messages from the cast of Broadway's Aladdin!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Adam Jacobs - Right Where I Belong

There was a new CD on sale in the lobby of the New Amsterdam Theatre today, sat proudly alongside the original cast recording of Aladdin, as title star Adam Jacobs celebrated the release of his debut album Right Where I Belong!

If, like me, you don't live close enough to the New Amsterdam to grab a copy in person (I wish I did!) then you can get it online right now at CD Baby!  If you're a fan of Adam, musical theatre, Disney or Alan Menken (or all of the above!) then you owe it to yourself to buy this wonderful collection of songs.

For his debut album Adam has brought together a collection of songs covering Alan Menken's entire career, from Little Shop of Horrors right through to Galavant, from the classic Disney tunes you knew as a kid to some pieces you've likely never heard of.  Alan Menken is a storyteller and Adam brings those stories to life with magnificent vocal performances on every track, showcasing his phenomenal range as a performer.

The album starts off strong with a spine tingling rendition of Hercules' "Go the Distance" and doesn't let up.  It's rare to find an album where there isn't a single weak track but having an album of Alan Menken songs is one way to do it!

I love that Adam, having already recorded the Aladdin songs for the cast album, took the opportunity to play with them a bit here.  The acapella rendition of "Proud of Your Boy" (with the aid of his Aladdin cast mates) is beautiful and his brilliant new take on "One Jump Ahead" may just be my favourite track on the album!

There are so many stand outs on this album, I could literally write about every track, but I just have to mention how much I love that it showcases some of Alan Menken's lesser known work.  From the previously unrecorded "Sailing On"  to the revised lyrics of The Little Mermaid's "Her Voice" this album is a treasure trove of Menken's music.  It would have been so easy for Adam to just pick Alan Menken's greatest hits but instead he dove deeper, choosing the songs that spoke to him, and the album is so much stronger for it.  This album is just a joy to listen to, a perfect meeting between singer and song writer that I believe will speak to anyone who listens.

Congratulations on your debut album Adam, I truly hope that it's the first of many to come!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Disney's Aladdin Premieres in Hamburg Tonight!

Richard-Salavador Wolff as Aladdin, Photo by Disney
Hamburg will literally be lit up purple tonight as it celebrates the European Premiere of Disney's Aladdin!
Hamburg lights up for Aladdin
Schmidt's Tivoli Theatre, Stage Entertainment's headquarters, Hotel Port of Hamburg, The Fairmont Hotel Four Seasons Hamburg, the Hotel Sofitel Hamburg and, of course, Aladdin's new home, the Stage Theater Neue Flora, will all light up with a royal purple glow tonight in celebration of Disney's latest musical masterpiece!

And check out the incredible magic lamp that they made for the theatre!  How amazing is that?!

I just want to wish the cast, crew and creative team of Hamburg's Aladdin the very best of luck for a magical opening night!  Make magic everyone, you're about to start an incredible high adventure!

Richard-Salvador Wolff and Enrico de Pieri as Aladdin and Genie with the cast of Aladdin, Photo by Disney

Tickets are available from Stage Entertainment's website!

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Adam Jacobs to Release Debut Album!

Your Christmas wish is granted as Adam Jacobs, star of Disney's Broadway smash hit Aladdin is set to release his debut album, Right Where I Belong, next week (December 13th)!

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly Adam said "The idea sort of hit me after working with Alan in Aladdin, which we started in 2010 and spent four years working on before it opened.  I always wanted to record an album, and I was sort of in this position of, 'I don't know what I'm going to do, is it going to be a generic Broadway album? No, I want it to be something more'. And I thought, I've always loved Alan Menken and I love working with him in Aladdin, and I'm going to perform an album of his songs because they've spoken to me since I was a kid. The thing with Alan Menken is, I don't think he gets enough credit. He's obviously got multiple awards, but now much he's interwoven into the fabric of our culture, especially people my age, and how much he's affected people through his storytelling, is powerful. And I thought, 'I wanted to highlight that.'"

A whole album of Adam Jacobs singing Alan Menken!  You can bet I'll be getting this the day it comes out!!

The album is set to be released digitally next Sunday on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and Google Music with physical copies on sale at Aladdin's Broadway home, the New Amsterdam Theatre.

So what's the set list?

The complete line up is still a mystery but the EW article does mention a mix of tunes both famous and less well known;

"Go the Distance" (Hercules)
"Suddenly Seymour" (Little Shop of Horrors), a duet with sister Arielle Jacobs
"If I Never Knew You" (Pocahontas), a duet with wife Kelly Jacobs
"Santa Fe" (Newsies) which you can hear at Playbill now!
"Out There" (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
"Sailing On" (I'll be honest, I have no idea where this is from and couldn't find it on Google either!)
"Proud of Your Boy" (Aladdin), a new acapella version created especially for this album

Adam also mentions some Hercules songs that didn't make it to the film so I'm excited to hear that!

In addition to the preview of "Santa Fe" at Playbill, you can find a fantastic sizzle reel at the end of the EW article!  If you're sharp eyed you may even spot some of Adam's Aladdin cast mates with him in the recording studio!  Yes, along with his real family, Adam's Aladdin family will also be featured on the CD, providing back up in some of the songs!

As for the title?  Well Adam's theme is "hero songs, dreamer songs, underdog songs... because those are the ones that are always the most powerful to me ... The title, Right Where I Belong, is a lyric from "Go the Distance" but it's sort of indicative of where I am in my life and how I feel about staring on Broadway and raising on family. Our business is very ephemeral, it's here and then it's gone with each passing show. To have something to look back on, when I'm old and grey, to have for my kids... it's special. And this being my first album makes it that much more special."

Speaking with Playbill he elaborated more about his theme and Alan's work, "Every song on my album carries the power to transport the listener and take them on a hero's journey.  Alan can make you laugh, cry, and jump for joy all in the same song. It's truly an honor to share some of my favorite tunes of this world-class composer - I hope they inspire people as much as they've inspired me, both professionally and personally."

This is definitely going to be something special!