Thursday, 24 November 2016

Thankful for Theatre

The cast of Broadway's Aladdin celebrated 1,001 performances in August, Photo by Playbill

What a year it's been!  As a fan of Disney Theatrical and especially Aladdin it's been an incredible 2016 and there's so much to be thankful for!  With new productions opening to rave reviews here in the UK and in Australia, the original Broadway production celebrating 1,001 magical shows right in the heart of New York, and the superb Disney's Broadway Hits concert premiering at the Royal Albert Hall last month it's been a truly magical year!

Trevor Dion Nicholas as Genie in London's Aladdin, Photo by Deen Van Meer

I say this every year but it always bears repeating - I am so thankful for Disney Theatrical taking a chance and bringing Aladdin not just to Broadway but all around the world.  Of course this year I'm extra thankful that the show came to my home country, opening in London, and for all the success its had here!  I've not been able to see it as much as I would have liked this year, but I've loved it every time I've been, and I'm definitely planning to go more next year!

Once again, I'm so grateful for all the incredible people who bring the show to life every day all over the world, from the cast and creative team to the front of house staff and all the people behind the scenes who make live theatre possible.  The phenomenal casts of this show continue to amaze me, not only with their talent but with how welcoming they are after the show.  They really are some of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet.  I know this is true on Broadway and in London, and from social media I know it's true around the world as well.  These people make the show what it is and I'm so grateful to them.

Ainsley Melham & Arielle Jacobs as Aladdin & Jasmine in Sydney's Aladdin, Photo by Deen Van Meer

The last few years at Thanksgiving I've recounted my experiences with the show and how thankful I am for them (even that time I thought I'd die of embarrassment giving a one man standing ovation after Friend Like Me!).  I do hope to write a post like that later this year and I am so grateful for everything from the hug Trevor Dion Nicholas gave Jane and I after Aladdin's first London Preview to seeing Adam and Courtney again on Broadway to being in the audience at the Royal Albert Hall as Alan Menken sang Proud of Your Boy (oh there were tears!).  For me, it's been an amazing year.  But this year has also been one of the most divisive in recent memory on both sides of the Atlantic.  Whichever side of the debate you were on in the EU Referendum and the US Election, there's no denying it got pretty ugly.  It showed us at our worst.  Which is why, this year I want to say not just that I'm thankful for Aladdin and Disney Theatrical, I'm thankful for theatre.  I'm thankful for the way theatre and the theatrical community celebrates diversity, bringing together people of all backgrounds, races, religions, genders and sexual orientations to create art, to educate, entertain and uplift everyone who enters a theatre.  As we look forward to a hopefully more unify 2017 it's a lesson that everyone can learn from, to come together and create something beautiful.  Because when we do come together, embracing our differences and celebrating what makes us unique, there's no telling what we can accomplish.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

The cast of Disney's Broadway Hits, Photo by Manuel Harlan

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