Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Ring Bells, Bang the Drums! Aladdin is Going on Tour!!

If you can't make it to New York then the magic carpet is coming to you!

Disney Theatrical today announced the North American Tour of Aladdin!  The first stop on this magic carpet ride is a 12 week engagement in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre from April 11 to July 2 2017 with future venues still to be announced.

Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher announced the tour saying "We've had the privilege of entertaining more than one million people in New York City with Casey Nicholaw's glorious production.  I am delighted that audiences in Chicago and throughout North America will soon have the opportunity to experience Aladdin in their own back yards."

"Aladdin will be the fourth new production we've launched in Chicago in 16 years.  Chicago's canny audiences, its theatrical infrastructure and its stunning theatres make it a peerless town for creating new productions.  We are thrilled to return with Aladdin."

Lou Raizin, President of Broadway in Chicago, added "We are excited Chicago will be the first North American city outside of New York to see Aladdin."

Group bookings (for 15 people or more) are now on sale and you can find more details at the show's official website http://www.aladdinthemusical.com/tour where you can also sign up for email updates.

Call me sentimental but I really hope that Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre is one of the stops on the tour!

Friday, 22 January 2016

The Bells of Notre Dame Ring Once More!

Is it too soon to call something album of the year?  I don't care, I'm calling it!  This is the best album you will hear this year!  The Hunchback of Notre Dame Cast Recording is now on sale!

Glorious! Epic! Beautiful! Powerful! Emotional! I could go on but you get the idea.  If you buy one thing this weekend make it this album.  I promise you won't regret it!

I've waited years for an English recording of this incredible show and it doesn't disappoint! It moved me to tears and sent shivers down my spine, a powerful record of this incredible piece of theatre.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Aladdin Musical News 2016

Hello and welcome to the first Aladdin musical news post of 2016! (Last week's 2015 round up totally doesn't count!)

With this being a new year and Aladdin soaring to international success I figured it was time to make a few changes to the way I've done things before and make these posts a bit more organised than they've been in the past... or at least try to!

Aladdin Broadway - Show News

First up, show news!  Any news about the show, like the recent GMA sing off with the cast of The Lion King or any cast changes/contract extensions, will be featured here.

So let's start on some fantastic news!  Aladdin rang in the New Year by breaking the New Amsterdam house record for the 11th time, taking $2,398,110.00 and beating the previous record, set only the week before, by over $300,000!  Aladdin's record breaking run made it the 3rd highest-grossing show of 2015!  Massive congratulations to the cast, creative team and everyone at the New Amsterdam Theatre who bring this magical show to life!  What an incredible way to start the year!

And New Year, new cast member!  Please give a warm Agrabah welcome to Giuseppe Bausilio who joined the cast on 6th January!!  Welcome to the show Guiseppe, I wish you a fantastic run!

As well as looking forward, New Year is also a time to look back and reflect on the year that was.  And that's exactly what Disney Theatrical did with this video of their Best Moments of 2015;

Aladdin Broadway - Cast News

This section will feature everyone's favourite citizens of Agrabah!  The amazingly talented cast of Broadway's Aladdin!  Here you'll find links to interviews, news about upcoming performances and maybe even a few videos!

Adam Jacobs sang the National Anthem at the Brooklyn Nets V. Boston Celtics game earlier this month.  Sadly it's not turned up on YouTube yet but I'll keep looking!  Congratulations Adam!

Courtney Reed as Princess Jasmine, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

At the end of last year Courtney Reed was interviewed for Forbes about being a Disney Princess and a role model for the next generation.

Think I missed this last year - James Monroe Iglehart appeared on the Shock and Awesome podcast to discuss development of Genie for Broadway and his comic book obsession!

Clifton Davis was recently photographed by Brent Dundore as part of his Broadway Legacy series and next month will have his new film released, Prayer Never Fails.  You can see the trailer for it below;

Aladdin's Rodney Ingram recently appeared on NBC news in a feature on Latino success on Broadway.

Aladdin's Nathan Lucrezio has released tribute video to Michael Flatley showcasing his incredible dancing skills!

As someone with two left feet I wish I could move like that!  Absolutely amazing!

And if you need any more reasons to love this totally crazy, but totally amazing, cast then just check out these pictures and videos from Courtney's Instagram showing just when the cast get up to in their rehearsal breaks!  Here and here!

Aladdin Broadway - Creative Team News

Want to know what Aladdin's incredible creative team did next?  Well this is the section for you.  Expect lots of Alan Menken updates to dominate this section!

Speaking of Alan Menken - you are watching ABC's Galavant, right?  If not then check it out!  It's hilarious!!  A weekly dose of Menken/Slater music can't help but make you smile!

And Alan was also Lin-Manuel Miranda's special guest for the first ever digital #Ham4Ham performance!  You can check out their brilliant Little Mermaid medley below;

On Tuesday 19th January the Metropolitan Room will be host to Gone to Soon - Now and Forever an evening of Howard Ashman celebrating the life and music of the musical genius who helped inspire generations.  You can read more about the event and purchase tickets here.

Hot off the success of Aladdin in 2014 and  Something Rotten! last year, Casey Nicholaw is bringing Tuck Everlasting to Broadway this Spring!  Tuck also reunites Casey with his original Omar, Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Newsies, Submissions Only), who starred in the successful Atlanta pilot last year.  Previews are due to begin 31st March with Opening Night set for 26th April.  If his previous shows are anything to go by then this will be a hit!

Aladdin Broadway - Old Friends

They may no longer be with the show, but they'll always be in our hearts.  This section is for news and updates on those who have left Agrabah behind for new adventures.

Brian Gonzales, James Monroe Iglehart, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Adam Jacobs and Brandon O'Neill in 5th Avenue's Aladdin, Photo by Chris Bennion

Aladdin's original Kassim, Brandon O'Neill was nominated as Favorite Actor in a Musical by Twin Cities Theater Blogger Awards for his role in the Ordway Centre's production of The Pirates of Penzance!  And the Ordway's production of Pirates won the award for Favorite Musical!!  Congratulations to all involved!

Seattle's original Omar, Andrew Keenan-Bolger's novel 'Jack & Louisa' is out now in paperback!  Written with his Submissions Only partner Kate Wetherhead, 'Jack & Louisa' is described as "A show-stopping series about life in the spotlight".  It sounds like a real fun read!  And, as mentioned above, Andrew will be returning to Broadway this year in Casey Nicholaw's Tuck Everlasting!

Genie & Babkak's former Stand By Michael James Scott is currently starring in Casey Nicholaw's latest smash, Something Rotten!, and took some time out to talk with Broadway Box about why he loves the show and why Casey Nicholaw is his Broadway Genie!

Last week original Aladdin cast member Marisha Wallace and Nick Rashad Burroughs sold out their 54 Below show Baptized by Broadway!  Due to the overwhelming response Marisha's even hinted that they could do another show!  Congratulations both!!

Aladdin International

After becoming "the surprise hit of the season" on Broadway Aladdin has continued to soar to a whole new world of success.  Last year saw productions open in Tokyo and Hamburg and this year will see new productions opening in London and Sydney with more still to be announced!  This section is all about the international productions of the show.  And I'll admit right now that it'll probably have a pretty heavy London bias as I can't wait to see that show!!

The Wall Street Journal this week posted an interesting piece on how Disney Theatrical is subtly tweaking the international productions of Aladdin to appeal to their national audiences (like renaming Kassim to Kasser in Germany as nothing rhymes with Kassim!)

You can check out footage from the Tokyo production right here;

The Hamburg production;

And finally, some interviews and footage from Hamburg's Opening Night last month;

London's Aladdin, Dean John-Wilson, made What's On Stage's list of "11 faces to look out for in 2016"!  Congratulations Dean!

With Aladdin due to open in London in a few short months, London Theatre Direct took a look at some little known facts about the animated classic and the Broadway sensation.  You can read Part 1 and Part 2 right here.

Other Disney Stuff!

And finally this section.  With the cast album coming up next week (so hyped!) I'm expecting this section to be mostly about The Hunchback of Notre Dame for now, but we'll just see what happens in the future.  After all, I'm sure Disney Theatrical have lots of exciting projects coming up and there's a live action Beauty and the Beast movie coming next year.

Hunchback's Esmeralda and upcoming Legends of Tomorrow star Ciara Renee has started her own blog which you can read right here!

And now for something very special.  Last weekend saw the curtain fall for the final time on Disney's Californian Adventure's Aladdin: A Musical SpectacularThe Orange County Register was there to talk with fans as the magic carpet soared away for the last time.  This is one of those shows I always wanted to see.  It was one of the reasons I wanted to go to the original Disneyland one day.  My friend posted this to my Facebook page this week (they know me so well!) so now I'm going to leave you with the full last ever performance of Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Paper Mill's Hunchback Wins Big at Broadway World Awards!

Michael Arden & Ciara Renee as Quasimodo & Esmeralda in Paper Mill's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Photo by Matthew Murphy

It's been quite a day for The Hunchback of Notre Dame!  As well as seeing six preview tracks released from next week's cast recording, The Paper Mill Playhouse's production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is celebrating 3 wins from Broadway World's New Jersey Awards including the award for best musical theatre production!!!

Best Actor in a Musical Theatre Production - Michael Arden (Quasimodo)
Best Director in a Musical Theatre Production - Scott Schwartz
Best Musical Theatre Production - The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Paper Mill Playhouse)

Massive congratulations to Michael, Scott and everyone who helped to bring this fantastic production to life!!

Listen to Glorious Previews from the Hunchback Cast Album

We're just over a week away from the release of The Hunchback of Notre Dame's Studio Cast Recording and if you've pre-ordered the album digitally then the chances are that you've already heard the fabulous opening 'Bells of Notre Dame', 'Top of the World' and Ciara Renee's beautiful rendition of 'God Help the Outcasts'.  I believe US readers may also have received 'Topsy Turvy, Pt. 1' as well.

Well, now Disney have opened the marketing floodgates and unleashed a wave of previews in anticipation of the albums release!

Buzzfeed has an exclusive first listen to Michael Arden's breath taking performance of 'Out There'

Broadway.com has a special preview of Ciara Renee's 'God Help the Outcasts' for anyone who hasn't already pre-ordered the album or is waiting patiently for the CD to arrive.

Theatre Mania has the exclusive first listen to Patrick Page's show stoppingly villainous 'Hellfire'

Playbill has an exclusive first listen to the Act 1 Finale, 'Esmeralda'.  Out of all the tracks on the Berlin album, this was easily my favourite, I listened to it that much I practically hear it in English these days, and now I can listen to it in English for real!  A truly magnificent performance from the entire cast!

Broadway World has an exclusive first listen to Ciara Renee and Andrew Samonsky's incredible duet, 'Someday'

And finally, this is another one I can't believe they released before the album, EW has the exclusive first listen to Michael Arden's phenomenal 'Made of Stone'

If these don't send shivers down your spine and make you want to buy the album then I don't know what will!  This album is going to be glorious.  Incredible music sung by a superb cast.  Next Friday can't come soon enough!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Studio Cast Recording is due for release Friday 22nd January and features music by Alan Menken and lyrics Stephen Schwartz.  The book is by Peter Parnell and the album is produced by Michael Kosarin, Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz, Chris Montan and Executive Producer Kurt Deutsh.

The cast stars Michael Arden as Quasimodo, Patrick Page as Dom Claude Frollo, Ciara Renee as Esmeralda, Andrew Samonsky as Captain Phoebus de Martin and Erik Liberman and Clopin Trouillefou.

The Congregation includes Julian Decker, Mary Joe Duggan, Ian Patrick Gibb, Beth Kirkpatrick, Samantha Massell, Neal Mayer, Nora Menken,William Michals, Anise Ritchie, Vincent Rodriguez III, Richard Ruiz, Joseph J. Simeone, Jeremy Stolle and Dashaun Young.

The Road to Broadway

As I've just posted, it's been 5 years since Disney Theatrical and 5th Avenue Theatre officially announced the World Premiere Aladdin.  Well if you fancy a look back at the journey then Disney has you covered!

Coming in August, author Michael Lassell will take you back stage and behind the scenes of the creative process in A Whole New World: The Road to Broadway and Beyond.

"The Tony-Award winning Aladdin is a veritable hit on Broadway and is just beginning national and international performances.  In A Whole New World, readers will discover the journey from ancient legend to screen to stage in the words of its creators."

Given the changes that the show went through and its unique road from Pilot Production to Broadway sensation this promises to be a very interesting read and I can't wait to add it to my book shelf!  I already own the Tarzan: The Broadway Adventure and The Little Mermaid: From the Deep Blue Sea to the Great White Way and they're both fascinating reads with gorgeous production pictures and behind the scenes photos so I know this will be something very special.

5 Years Ago...

It's hard to believe but 5 years ago this week (yesterday to be precise) Disney Theatrical announced the World Premiere of Aladdin at Seattle's historic 5th Avenue Theatre!  Yes, the original production of Aladdin will celebrate it's 5th anniversary this summer!

Back in January 2011 5th Avenue said "We are thrilled to partner with Disney on this prestigious new project ... This new Aladdin incorporates all of the beloved songs from the film's Oscar-winning score plus never-before-heard Menken/Ashman songs restored from early drafts of the score ... The new stage production will be a feast for the eyes and ears and a magical treat fit for the whole family."

I just can't believe it's been 5 years.  That means I've been doing this blog for 5 years!  Not bad considering I didn't expect it to last past 2011!  I can only imagine how life altering it must have been for some of the cast and creative team who've been with this show from the beginning!  It's been an amazing journey and it isn't over yet!

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 use...it 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 Broadway.com

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
Broadway.com 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!

Good Morning 2016!

What a way to start the year!

Last week the casts of Broadway's Aladdin and The Lion King appeared on Good Morning America in an epic sing off inspired by their airport sing off last year.

Ok, I'm bias but I'm voting Aladdin  ;-P

Seriously though, both casts are amazing and here's Adam Jacobs talking with Good Morning America about how the original sing off came about!

Seeing this reminds me how much I'd love to get back to New York and see this amazing cast again!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Congratulations Don & Kate!!

Don Darryl Rivera, Photo from Broadway World
Yesterday afternoon Aladdin's Don Darryl Rivera and his wife Kate celebrated the birth of their daughter, Eloise!

I just want to say a massive congratulations to Don and Kate.  I'm so happy for you both and I know you're going to be amazing parents.  Wishing you both all the love and happiness in the world at this magical time.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year!

Adam Jacobs, Courtney Reed & James Monroe Iglehart
Happy New Year! May all your wishes come true in 2016!

2015 was an amazing year for Aladdin with the show celebrating it's first anniversary on Broadway as well as opening international productions in Japan and Germany.  Aladdin ended the year by breaking the New Amsterdam Theatre's house record again last week (I think this is the 10th house record but I've honestly lost count!) so a massive congratulations to all the hard working cast and crew of this amazing show!

As good as 2015 was, 2016 promises to be even better as the show heads towards it's second Broadway anniversary and prepares for new productions in the UK and Australia!

Make a wish and say a prayer, it's going to be a magical year!