Sunday, 10 January 2016

2015 News Round Up! (aka Broadway News Round Up 39)

Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed as Aladdin and Jasmine, Photo by Matthew Murphy

Ok, new year, new start!

The second half of last year just flew by and I really fell behind with these news updates (I still can't believe the last one was done in July!).  For that I can only apologise and say I'll do my best to make sure it doesn't happen again.  Like I said, new year, new start.

This post is going to be really link heavy as I try and get this blog back on track and I'm afraid this post won't cover everything.  I've gone through all my Google Alerts but trying to go back that far through Twitter is insane so there will be things I've missed so let me apologise in advance for anything I've not covered!

Two things that do stick in my mind that weren't in my Google Alerts are the royal family of Agrabah's TV appearances!  Courtney Reed appeared on Showtime's The Affair (season 2 episode 8) and Clifton Davis appearing on Madam Secretary (season 2, episodes 8-10) so if you've not caught them already that's certainly something to catch up with on demand!

Ok, I'll try and break up all the links with as many pictures and videos as I can to help keep things interesting!  Here we go :o)

Aladdin will be taking part in the Theatre Development Fund's 5th season of autism-friendly performances as part of the Autism Theatre Initiative.  The performance will be on Sunday 6 March 2016.  Further details (including other featured shows) can be found at the TDF's website.  Tickets are expected to go on sale roughly 6-8 weeks prior to the performance and are expected to sell out quickly.

Aladdin will also be taking part in 2016's Kids Night on Broadway.  Taking place on Tuesday February 9th 2016 this is a special performance where kids under 18 can see the show for free when accompanied by a full paying adult in an effort to help more children experience theatre.  However,tickets are already sold out!

OnStageBlog has posted a new (and glowing) review of the show.

The new Bway Zone website dedicated to everything Broadway has a page dedicated to Aladdin.  Nothing you won't have already seen I'm sure but it's a nice page and the site has a LOT more to explore.

Walks of New York is now offering a magical new tour - "Disney on Broadway: Behind the Magic" - that includes a look behind the scenes at Aladdin's home, the New Amsterdam Theatre.  You can read more details on the tour right here.  I'm definitely signing up for this one next time I'm in the city!

But if you want something even more in depth then check out this video on Adventures by Disney's new New York City Adventure!  You get to take part in a Broadway dance class (seen in the video learning some of the choreography for "Arabian Nights"), visit the New Amsterdam's prop room and all the wonderful props from all of Disney's magical shows, see Aladdin and then go back stage for a Q&A with some of the cast (like Don Darryl Rivera and Jennifer Rias in this video).  This one is definitely on my list next time I head to NYC!

The cast of Aladdin perform at the White House! Photo by Scott Suchman
Back in July the cast of Aladdin gave a very special performance at the White House!  Afterwards, Broadway World posted a wonderful look behind the scenes of the cast's visit!

Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed as Aladdin and Jasmine at the White House! Photo by Scott Suchman
And, in case you missed it, you can still catch the entire performance right here courtesy of the White House's YouTube channel!

I never get tired of that!

As part of Good Morning America's 40th Anniversary they went back behind the scenes of Aladdin and you can watch the whole segment right here!

Aladdin also continues to set house records at the New Amsterdam Theatre, first taking over $2 million during a 9 show week this summer and then again at the end of November!  Then, as I already reported, they incredibly broke their 9 show record with an 8 show week at Christmas!  That means Aladdin has now set an astonishing 10 house records at the New Amsterdam Theatre!  In addition to its Broadway success, Forbes reports that Aladdin's Tokyo production has been sold out since it open earlier this year.

Ok, this next part I should probably just call the James Monroe Iglehart section!  That man was one busy Genie last year!

James Monroe Iglehart took part in the annual Broadway Barks event
James Monroe Iglehart introduced Wake Up with Broadway World
James Monroe Iglehart was the special guest star of the New York Musical Theatre Festival's final night concert, Under Construction

James Monroe Iglehart sang at the #Ham4Ham lottery pre-show performance in August.  And he wasn't the only one!  Lea Salonga also graced #Ham4Ham last month and performed a duet of "A Whole New World" with Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Playbill took a look at a week in the life of Seth Rudetsky that just happened to include JMI rapping about blue cheese at the NJPAC gala!

James Monroe Iglehart hosted the 15th annual Make Believe on Broadway gala, a special event to raise money to bring interactive theatre to chronically ill children.  As James told Backstage, "When you get into a hospital and you see kids are going through something and you realize you have a gift that you've been blessed with and that you can opens up a whole different world. All of a sudden you're not performing just for the applause, just for the money. You're performing because you're brightening someone else's day."

But I've still not mentioned D23!  Yes, as you all know James was a very special guest at this year's D23 convention in Anaheim!  And we didn't event have to wait for The Originals concert to hear him sing!

In the opening Legends panel, which saw Jafar's animator Andreas Deja become an official Disney Legend, James took to the stage to perform Oogie Boogie's Song from The Nightmare Before Christmas to honour another new Disney Legend, Danny Elfman.

And then there was the concert!!  Hopefully I'm ok posting this since videos are all of YouTube and it's just so good I wanted to share the full thing!

If you're reading this blog then I'm 99% certain you've seen this, but just in case you managed to miss it here's Aladdin's Courtney Reed singing the most adorable version of "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman" that you will ever hear;

(And you can read her heart warming reasons for making the video here)

Last October the New Amsterdam Theatre played host to a fashion showcase of the latest dresses in the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings Bridal Collection.  The dresses are modelled after the Disney Princesses and since the New Amsterdam is home to Aladdin who better to model the Jasmine inspired gown than Aladdin's very own Princess Jasmine, Courtney Reed!

Courtney Reed, Photo by Slaven Vlasic
Courtney looks absolutely stunning and you can see a full gallery of images at Broadway World.

Courtney also took part in the first reading of the new play Subletters.

Adam Jacobs and his sister Arielle sat down for a chat with

Adam also took part in a fantastic interview with Going for Broadway, covering everything from his early education to current success in Aladdin.

Adam Jacobs spoke with Celebrity Radio about Aladdin and his new album Right Where I Belong and you can listen to it right here!

Last summer Richard-Salvador Wolff and Myrthes Monteiro, who play Aladdin and Jasmine in the Hamburg production, came to Broadway to see the show and Adam Jacobs captured the moment on Instagram.

And now here's a few pieces I missed from my post about Aladdin's recent Blu-Ray release!  Scott Weinger spoke with Nuke the Fridge about the film and the new Blu-Ray (and touched upon the Broadway show as well).  The cast of Broadway's Aladdin spoke with E! about the challenges the show faced in the beginning and it's rocky road to Broadway success.  And something a little extra special - Brad Kane and Lea Salonga reunited on ABC to sing "A Whole New World" for the first time in over 20 year!

Aladdin is full of magic, but not all that magic takes place on stage.  Aladdin's Joshua Dela Cruz (with help from Donald Jones Jr. and Angelo Soriano) popped a very special question this summer;

Aladdin's Trent Saunders and his equally talented siblings were the stars of Broadway's Saunders Siblings at 54 Below in August.

Aladdin's Tia Altinay joined up with Newsies Adam Kaplan to speak at the Actors Connection's Perfroming Arts Camp to help educate and inspire Broadway's next generation.  Broadway World was there and has a video from the event!

Aladdin's Brian Gonzales also helped to teach and inspire the next generation last summer, taking part in A Class Act NY's summer camp.

Aladdin's Andrew Cao stopped by to help the students of Kirby's Dance Studio whilst visiting family in Aurora after meeting them on their trip to NYC.

Original Kassim, Brandon O'Neill, starred as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance in August at the Ordway Centre for Performing Arts.

Aladdin's Steel Burkhardt took part in 54 Below's Bring Him Home, a tribute concert for Kyle Jean-Baptiste.

Aladdin's Daisy Hobbs performed in a showcase of her original songs at URBO in October.  And you can read more about URBO here.  If you're a musical theatre fan it sounds like somewhere you should definitely check out when you're in NYC.

Aladdin's Lauryn Ciardullo took part in the annual Broadway Can! benefit concert, featuring the songs of Seth Bisen-Hersh.

Aladdin's Kathryn Allison made her solo concert debut at 54 Below last November with Sirens, Songs, and MusesBroadway World has pictures from the event.

Aladdin's Trevor Dion Nicholas (London's future Genie!) took part in Musicals Tonight!'s At This Performance, a concert series that showcases Broadway's talented Standbys, Understudies and Alternates.

Aladdin's Rodney Ingram recently appeared on the Tyler Mount Vlog;

Aladdin's original Standby Jafar and Sultan, Merwin Foard, has hit the road with a new production of The Sound of Music and is the focus of a new article in the Charlotte Observer.  I hope that the show does make it to Broadway, Merwin certainly deserves his time in the spotlight.

Aladdin's amazing Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw was honoured at last year's NYMF Gala.

Casey Nicholaw accepts his NYMF Award, Photo by Russell Rowland spoke with Jackie Gehrt about being part of Team Jasmine.

Aladdin's incredible book writer and lyricist Chad Begulin has a new show coming up this yearGotta Dance just finished it's out of town run in Chicago and is due to premiere on Broadway this Spring!

Huffington Post has posted a piece on New York's "Dr., Shoes", who makes and repairs the footwear for many Broadway shows, including Aladdin.

Before Aladdin was on Broadway there was Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular  at Disney's Californian Adventure.  Today the curtain will fall on that show for the final time as Aladdin and his friends bid Salaam and fly off to another Arabian Night.  Just before Christmas the LA Times spoke with the show's long running creative director, Shelby Jiggetts-Tivony, about the enduring appeal of the show.

I think that's just about it for Aladdin but there's still some important Hunchback news I want to share!

Samantha Massell at Fiddler on the Roof Opening Night, Photo by Walter McBride/Broadway World

Fiddler on the Roof recently made a triumphant return to Broadway and with it Samantha Massell made her Broadway debut as Hodel!  Congratulations Samantha!!  Samantha was voted Best Theatre Discovery of 2012 by St. Louis' River Front Times for her performance as Jasmine in The Muny's pre-Broadway production of Aladdin and was recently part of The Hunchback of Notre Dame's incredible cast (and will be on the cast recording due for release this month).  Sam's not the only Disney alum in Fiddler though as Aladdin's Brandt Martinez also stars in the show!

Ciara Renee as Hawkgirl
Continuing the trend of Disney's Broadway stars making the jump to DC Comic's TV multiverse, Hunchback's Ciara Renee made her DC debut on The Flash last year as Hawkgirl!  This month she'll star in CW's latest DC series Legends of Tomorrow!  As a pretty big comic geek I'm really excited to see this one!

Speaking of Disney stars who made the jump to the DCU - here's Newsies and Supergirl star Jeremy Jordan singing a fantastic Disney medley!  You just have to listen to this, Jeremy's amazing!  And when you're done, search for him singing Let It Go, you'll be glad you did!

I'm still crossing my fingers the circus comes back to town in Gotham so James can be on the show again.  Or, better yet, come back in a new role as a major character (hey, it worked for  Mark Hamill in the legendary animated series!).  It was nice seeing The Little Mermaid's Norm Lewis this season as well!

Back to Hunchback!  The Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Utah had another incredible season last year and their relationship with Disney seems to be going from strength to strength.  I loved their pre-Broadway production of Aladdin in 2012 and last year they teamed with Disney to launch a new musical, When You Wish (you can read the Salt Lake Tribune's review for that and their productions of Beauty and the Beast and Alan Menken's Sister Act here).  Well, this year they're staging another two Disney productions!  First they're bringing Tarzan back to stage in June, then in August they'll be staging The Hunchback of Notre Dame!!!  I might be wrong but I think this will be the first regional production following the US Premiere Productions at La Jolla and PaperMill Playhouse.  Both shows will run through to October along with Peter Pan.

If you've ever wanted to see these shows then I would urge you to go to the Tuacahn's productions this summer.  I've said it before but the outdoor amphitheatre is the most beautiful venue I've ever seen a show in and they use their unique venue to stage their productions in some truly breath taking ways.  Believe me, if I could be there I would be!

And, of course, it's not long now until the cast album!  Alan Menken took to Instagram to share a glimpse inside the recording studio!  I can't wait to hear this glorious show again!

Ok, that's everything for last year!  I'll be back next week with the first proper news round up of 2016!

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