Monday, 30 May 2016

A Star is Born!

Wow!  What an amazing way to start a West End run!

I'm not going to review the show yet (as incredible as Friday's performance was, it was still a first preview and it's not fair to the cast or creative team to review the show whilst they're still working to make it the very best it can be) but as first impressions go Aladdin burst on to the West End in spectacular style!

'Arabian Nights' is still my favourite opening to any Disney show.  When they gather the full cast on stage and Genie joyfully proclaims "Everybody sings!" that wall of music just hits you and it feels amazing.  The energy in this show is insane and the ensemble give everything they've got, especially here and in the show stopping 'Friend Like Me'.  It's no exaggeration to say they make the show what it is.

The cast, from leads Dean John-Wilson and Jade Ewen as Aladdin and Jasmine through to Nathan Amzi, Rachid Sabitri and Stephen Rahman-Hughes as Aladdin's new trio of friends all gave great performances and I'm looking forward to seeing them all again on opening night.  In fact I want to give a special shout out for the trio as 'High Adventure' had me in stitches, easily one of the best songs in the show.

Trevor Dion Nicholas as Genie
A year ago I was fortunate enough to see Trevor Dion Nicholas play Genie on Broadway.  It was only after the show that I learnt it was his first night.  I never would have guessed.  I wrote back then that Trev "gave a phenomenal performance ... he didn't have easy shoes to fill but he rose to the challenge and gave the audience everything they could wish for in a Genie."

On Friday night he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was born to play this role.  I saw a star being born on that stage and I wasn't alone.  I've never seen a mid show standing ovation in the UK before (heck, I've been to shows where they don't even get an ovation at the curtain call) but Trevor, along with Dean and the incredible ensemble, brought the audience to their feet for a well deserved ovation after the tour de force that is 'Friend Like Me'.  If there is any justice in the world this will do for Trevor what it did for James Monroe Iglehart in America.  Put his name on the Olivier Award now!

There's been some minor changes to localise the show for the UK.  Some of them worked great (I loved Genie's "No, I'm from New York!" and the Bruce Forsyth reference had the crowd howling), others felt a little like change just for the sake of change (I preferred the old Pyramid joke to the Ibiza reference) but that mostly just comes down to personal preference.

With this being a first preview there were one or two minor issues.  The microphone levels seemed to be slightly off during 'These Palace Walls' and in the finale I could see something that I shouldn't have been able to (and never have before even from the front row at the New Amsterdam).  I'd also love just a little more energy from 'Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim' as, whilst a great performance, it didn't quite capture that "I want to get up and join in" feeling that it has on Broadway.  I know that's not a fair comparison and it seems like an insane ask from a cast that is already giving so much but I know they have it in them, they proved it many times over on that stage on Friday.  And I'll be honest, I know that these (and any other issues) will be long sorted by opening night.  In fact, they probably have been already!

If Friday night is any indication Aladdin is going to be the biggest thing to hit the West End this year.  The audience loved every second and the show received two well deserved standing ovations.  My hands were still raw the next day from clapping so much.  As we were driving home on Saturday all I kept thinking was "I wish we'd bought tickets for tonight, I don't want to wait another two weeks to see it again."  This show isn't a diamond in the rough, it's shining, shimmering, splendid and I can't wait for everyone to see it!

Friday, 27 May 2016

Disney's Aladdin Opens in London!

Tonight is the night!  After making magic for over two years on Broadway Disney's Aladdin has arrived in London's West End!

This is a historic day for Disney Theatrical.  The last Disney Musical to open in London was Mary Poppins, which premiered here in 2004 before transferring to Broadway, and the last to transfer from New York to London was The Lion King all the way back in 1999!  Now, the wait is finally over and we have a new Disney musical to call our own here in the UK!

I just want to take this moment to wish the very best of luck to everyone involved whether on stage or off.  You've all worked so hard for this moment, enjoy it and let that passion and energy shine on stage.  This is your night - make some magic!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016


Is it Friday yet?!
I don't think I have anything else to say!  Just two more days!!

Aladdin Musical News 2016 (5)

Adam Jacobs & Courtney Reed as Aladdin & Jasmine, Photo by Mark Kitaoka
As Aladdin rapidly approaches it's West End debut I'm definitely starting to feel the excitement building!  It's been over a year since I saw the show and I can't wait to see it again when it opens here on Friday!

But before that there's plenty to catch up on with our Broadway friends!

Aladdin Broadway - Show News

Are you a Disney Vacation Club member?  If so then they have a magical treat in store for you!  A special performance of Aladdin just for DVC members and their guests that will be filled with member recognition and fun surprises!  To learn more and book your tickets go here!

Have you ever wondered how they make magic every night at the New Amsterdam Theatre?  Well wonder no more as CNET goes behind the scenes of Broadway's Aladdin to show you just how much work goes in to making magic very day.  And in case you're wondering - the carpet really is magic, even CNET can't tell you how it flies :o)

Aladdin's Mike Cannon and Jennifer Rias will be taking a short break from the show to star as Riff and Anita in West Side Story at the Schermerhorn Symphony Centre on June 3rd & 4th!  You can read more details and check out the trailer right here!

The Knockturnal recently posted a great video interview with Adam Jacobs, James Monroe Iglehart, Courtney Reed and Jonathan Freeman (including a well deserved shout out for their cast mates and the most incredible ensemble on Broadway)

Adam Jacobs and James Monroe Iglehart recently sat down with some of their Lion King cousins to discuss their show with Madame Noire;

Aladdin Broadway - Cast News

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
Adam Jacobs will be joining a host of Broadway stars at the Lincoln Centre in June to take part in A Night of Broadway Stars.  During the event, which is raising money for homeless children, Adam and his fellow stars will perform for and with the homeless children of Covenant House.  You can purchase tickets to the June 6th event and read more about Covenant House right here.

And you can watch Adam's recent appearance on the always hilarious Tyler Mount Vlog right here;

And if you've not got your tickets yet to Adam and Arielle Jacobs' Sibling Disobedience concert at 54 Below you can now get 35% off using the code SIBLING35

And you can catch's interview with the siblings right here;

Courtney Reed recently appeared on Style Code Live and you can re-watch the episode right here!  Plus Courtney was recently names one of Broadway's must follow SnapChatters!  If you're not following her then you're probably a dinosaur like me who can't figure SnapChat out to save his life, but seriously, follow her!

JMI and DDR's scare war has progressed to a creepy smile war this month with the following photos on Instagram!  DDR1, JMI1, DDR2, JMI2  Ain't it great to have friends like these!  Love all the back stage antics at this show!

Aladdin's Daisy Hobbs recently took part in the Vanguard Theatre's Broadway Buddy Mentorship Cabaret, helping to teach and inspire the next generation of Broadway stars.

Aladdin's Ben Jeffrey is performing a one night only concert next month to benefit the Gateway Centre for Performing Arts and he will also hold two Master Classes and Aladdin KIDS! production camps! You can get more details of all these event at Broadway World.

Last month Kathryn Allison performed at 54 Below and Famous in NY was there to capture her performance!

Aladdin's Lauryn Ciardullo and all the fantastic Broadway stars who too part in the first Broadway Bee raised an incredible $33,000 for Broadway Bound Kids!

Aladdin Broadway - Creative Team News

To celebrate Casey Nicholaw's historic achievement of having 4 shows running simultaneously on Broadway Disney Theatrical held a special celebration for the awarding winning Director/Choreographer and invited the casts of Aladdin, The Book of Mormon, Something Rotten! and Tuck Everlasting to celebrate his success.  Broadway World were there to capture pictures from the event.  Congratulations again Casey on this fantastic achievement!

Book writer and lyricist Chad Beguelin chats with Broadway World about how he became a writer and the process he uses when creating a show.  It's a fascinating read so make sure you check it out!

Aladdin Broadway - Old Friends

Andrew Keenan-Bolger hosted the Broadway Junior Student Finale last week and you can read a great interview with him about Tuck Everlasting over at Stage Door Dish.  You can also check out a review of Andrew and Kate Wetherhead's latest Jack & Louisa book right here!  And finally, here's Andrew and the rest of the Tuck Everlasting cast on NBC!

Aladdin's Giuseppe Bausilio is joining the Broadway revival of Cats as Carbucketty!  Congratulations Giuseppe!

Aladdin International

Dean John-Wilson in rehearsals, Photo by Johan Persson

As the Aladdin nears it's West End debut (tomorrow is the invited dress rehearsal for the show and previews begin on Friday) the interviews are starting to flow!

London Theatre stopped by the final rehearsals of the show to talk with our three leads - Dean John-Wilson, Jade Ewen and Trevor Dion Nicholas - and the result is a great interview!

Digital Spy spoke with Dean, Jade and Disney Legend Alan Menken about bringing Aladdin to the West End!  And you can read solo interviews with Jade and Alan Menken here and here.

The Daily Express also has some comments from Dean and Jade on their reactions to landing the dream roles of Aladdin and Jasmine!

Our Broadway Genie may be in London but that hasn't stopped him and his band, Neighbourhood Goliath, from putting the finishing touches to their LP!  Look out for it soon and follow them on Twitter!

The Financial Times has a great interview with Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw where he discusses his road from performer to creator and bringing Aladdin to the stage.

The Stage has a fascinating interview with Aladdin's fantastic designer Bob Crowley.  It's a fantastic piece that offers some great insight into how Crowley works and offers reflections on where his work has gone wrong as well as gone right.

The Stage also has an incredible interview with Alan Menken that covers everything from starting out right up to bringing Aladdin to the West End!  Check it out!

Aladdin's Ethan Le Phong and his Miss Saigon dressing room buddy share their latest updates in the latest Dressing Room 14 video;

The show hasn't even opened yet and already Aladdin's booking period has been extended!  You can now book tickets for the show through to 11th February 2017 so grab some fantastic seats now!

The cast are all there;

On Friday the audience will be too!  I can't wait!

Moving away from London for a moment (plenty more London to come this weekend!), Australia's Aladdin, Ainsley Melham is currently starring in Xanadu at Hayes Theatre (Broadway World's review here)!  Here he is performing "Don't Walk Away"

And I just had to share this!  It's really cool to see all the international stars together!

Other Disney Stuff

Some potentially very exciting news came out of ABC's recent fall schedule announcement.  In a call with Broadway World ABC President Channing Dungey revealed that the network is considering a live musical event following NBC and Fox's recent successes;

'Dungey told BWW, "we have some things we are currently in development on," but added the project must be one which, "speaks to the heart of who we are at ABC as part of the Disney family."'

So if you want to see your favourite Disney musical done as a live TV event then keep your fingers crossed as your wish may just come true!!

It's unlikely to be Aladdin as it's still a relatively young show and is only just being rolled out around the world but stranger things have happened and it would be great to do it now with as many of the original cast as possible.  Personally I think Newsies is a good bet or even The Lion King as part of it's 20th anniversary next year.

And speaking of adaptations;

There are no words.  If The Jungle Book is anything to go by then this is going to be very special.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame star Ciara Renee has written a new musical!  Anything But Love will have it's concert premiere at 54 Below on June 26th.

Not content with playing one Disney villain in Frollo, Hunchback's Patrick Page has taken on the role of another Disney villain as Hades in Hadestown (though this Hades probably doesn't have much in common with his Disney counterpart).  You can see photos from the show and an interview with Patrick at Broadway World and a video portrait right here.

One day I swear I'll make it to Broadway Con!  Next year has already announced some fantastic guests including Hunchback's Samantha Massell and Newsies' Jeremy Jordan!  You can see the full guest list so far and read more about the event right here!  And you can read a new interview with Samantha at and see Fiddler on the Roof's Fox News performance right here.

Is this really Disney related?  Well it's ABC and features Menken/Slater music so I think it's close enough!  Here's the #MoreGalavant video which has been shared by Alan Menken and Michael Kosarin!

Now for something a little different.  David Friedman, who was a conductor and vocal arranger on Disney Classics like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin before writing the music and lyrics for Aladdin and the King of Thieves, has written a new musical revue Listen to My Heart which will premiere at the Elmira College Theatre this week.  The show will run Thursday-Sunday this week and admission is free so it's definitely worth checking out if you're in the area!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Disney's Aladdin in Rehearsal!

Dean John-Wilson & Trevor Dion Nicholas rehearse "Somebody's Got Your Back" with Stephen Rahman-Hughes, Rachid Sabitri & Nathan Amzi, Photo by Johan Persson

In just 9 days time Disney's Aladdin will begin previews in the West End and today Disney Theatrical lifted that incredible show curtain just a little bit to give London a hint at what's in store!

First up, our three incredible stars!

Dean John-Wilson

Photo by Johan Perrson
Jade Ewen

Photo by Johan Perrson
 Trevor Dion-Nicholas

Photo by Johan Perrson

Next come three lovable rogues!  Aladdin's friends Babkak (Nathan Amzi), Omar (Rachid Sabitri) and Kassim (Stephen Rahman-Hughes).  Cut from the film and finding new life on stage these three join Aladdin on his magical high adventure!

Stephen Rahman-Hughes, Nathan Amzi & Rachid Sabitri, Photo by Johan Perrson

And last but certainly not least!  Aladdin's incredible ensemble!!

"Arabian Nights" Photo by Johan Perrson

"Prince Ali" Photo by Johan Persson

"Finale" Photo by Johan Perrson

But the cast aren't the only ones who've been working hard!  Whilst they've been making magic in the rehearsal studio, the crew over at the Prince Edward Theatre were just as busy transforming their new home into the mystical land of Agrabah;

The magic begins next Friday, 27th May, with the show officially opening on Wednesday 15th June.  Tickets (including limited availability for opening night!) are on sale now!

Walk the Purple Carpet - Aladdin Opening Night Now on Sale!


Make a wish, say a prayer!

If you've ever wanted to walk the Purple Carpet this is your chance as Disney Theatrical have just released a limited amount of tickets to Aladdin's West End Opening Night on Wednesday 15th June!!

So don't delay, get your tickets right here before they're gone!

Ok, you may not get to actually walk the Purple Carpet (that would be so cool but pretty sure that's a privilege reserved for the likes of Thomas Schumacher, Alan Menken and Casey Nicholaw) but you do get to see the show on it's official opening night when the atmosphere will absolutely be in a whole new world!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Arielle Jacobs is Australia's Princess Jasmine!

After months of searching Australia finally has its princess as Arielle Jacobs joins the cast of Aladdin!

Whilst her brother brings Aladdin to life on Broadway, Arielle will be a million miles away bringing Jasmine to life in the land down under!

And how do you tell your parents that you've just landed such an amazing role?  If you're anything like the Jacobs siblings you do it like this;

I just want to say a massive congratulations to Arielle.  I know you've going to be an amazing Jasmine and I hope to one day see you soaring on that magic carpet.

Aladdin opens in Sydney in August.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Music Beyond the Magic 3 - Adam Jacobs & Courtney Reed

Adam Jacobs & Courtney Reed, Photo by Matthew Murphy

In celebration of both Adam and Courtney being verified on Twitter this week I decided to a special double feature for this Music Beyond the Magic post and share with you some of their incredible performances from outside of Aladdin.

First up, here's Adam in an incredible duet with his sister Arielle performing Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's "Suddenly Seymour" from Little Shop of Horrors at the All in the Family concert earlier this year.

And (shameless plug here) you can get this and 12 other fantastic tracks on Adam's album Right Where I Belong!

Sticking with the Ashman/Menken theme, here's Courtney at 54 Below's fantastic Broadway Princess Party singing something a little closer to the show but I'll let Courtney explain that in the video;

Courtney and all her royal friends will be back at 54 Below for another Princess Party next month!  If you still need your invitation to the ball you can get one right here.

Ok, these posts are meant to showcase the incredible casts of Aladdin outside of the show, but sticking with the Ashman/Menken theme of this post and since it's Mother's Day for all my friends and family in America it feels appropriate to end with this classic Aladdin song;

Showing Genie the Town

It can't be easy moving to a new country but luckily London's new Genie had a Disney Prince and Princess waiting to show him the town.

Thanks to Disney Theatrical we can share in their adventures as they just posted a new video of Dean and Jade showing Trevor all that London has to offer!

Disney's Aladdin opens in less than 3 weeks at London's Prince Edward Theatre!  Tickets are available now with previews starting 27th May.  The show officially opens 15th June.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Aladdin Musical News 2016 (4)

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, Photo by Deen Van Meer

Welcome to the latest Aladdin musical news round up for all the latest goings on in the fabled city of Agrabah!  It's been a busy few weeks for the cast and creative teams on both sides of the Atlantic (I really need to start doing these posts more often!) so let's get started!

Aladdin Broadway - Show News

First up I just want to say a belated farewell to both Giuseppe Bausilio and Donald Jones Jr. who have both left the show recently and wish them both the very best for the future.  And of course to Trevor Dion Nicholas who's flown the magic carpet to London to make his West End debut!

Now, let's look at what is possibly my favourite video that Disney on Broadway have posted to their YouTube channel so far.  James and Don's Scare War was hilarious to watch (and still continues!) but here James just takes it to the next level for April Fools Day!

I love how much fun James is having here!

You can read a little more about the event at People.

And speaking of having fun, yesterday was May 4th, traditionally recognised as Star Wars Day so the Aladdin gang decided to get in on the fun with a little back stage lightsaber action!  I just love this picture!

Now you may be aware that some performances of Aladdin are interpreted in American Sign Language (ASL).  But in a touching video James recently showed that he doesn't need an interpreter to say you've never had a friend like him.  Check it out here.

Aladdin's had it's fair share of guest stars in its first two years and the latest is Telemundo's Veronica Albornoz who appeared in the show last month!  You can see some back stage pictures right here courtesy of Adam Jacobs' Instagram.

And just in case you missed it - last month Aladdin made the switch to a digital lottery.  This is, of course, much more convenient for most people (if you aren't lucky enough to win you'll know in the morning so you can plan something else for you evening) but I've got to admit I'll miss the videos of James and other cast members occasionally granting lottery wishes in person before the show.  Those moments were always magical to see.

Aladdin Broadway - Cast News

First up some big news for Aladdin fans - Brian Gonzales will be taking a break from Agrabah in August as he stars as Francis Henshall in One Man, Two Guvnors at WaterTower Theatre in Addison, Texas.  Congratulations Brian on your new production!

You can read more about the upcoming production right here and you can buy tickets here!

Aladdin himself is due to teach a musical theatre workshop next month as Adam Jacobs and his sister Arielle Jacobs teach A Class Act NY's Dynamic Duo Broadway Workshop on 7th May, coaching 7-18 year olds on Broadway audition techniques.  You can get on the wait list for the workshop right here.

For National Siblings Day last month Broadway World posted a great interview featuring Adam and his sister Arielle (as well as Andrew Keenan-Bolger and his sisters Maggie and Celia) that's well worth a read.

And you can catch both Adam and Arielle in their 54 Below show - Sibling Disobedience - later this month at 54 Below!  Tickets are now on sale!

Have you ever wondered what a Broadway star keeps in their dressing room?  Well wonder no more as Adam shows around his dressing room and his favourite back stage items.

In March, Adam performed at Lancaster Bible College and spoke about getting in to musical theatre and his career so far with Lancaster Online and KpopStarz.

If you read this blog then you have no excuse not to own this yet!

If you can't get enough of Adam's amazing voice on Aladdin's original cast recording and his own debut album, Right Where I Belong, then I've got exciting news for you - Adam is going to be lending his vocals to Daniel and Laura Curtis' new album, Overture.  The album is due to be recorded in both England and New York and feature some of Broadway and the West End's biggest stars.  It's due to be released in October and you can read more about it right here!  Can't wait?  Then check out the Studio Cast Recording of An American Victory which stars Adam along with Ashley Brown (Broadway's original Mary Poppins) and many more and is on sale now!

Courtney Reed last month did an interview with Fit for Broadway's Jane that was so big it had to be split into 3 parts!  You can read the first part right here, the second part is included with the My Broadway Hero piece that Jane did about Courtney which is a really inspiring read, and the third and final part is right here!

Last month Courtney Reed was one of the guest judges on Rising Star and this week she hit the red carpet in fun loving style for Broadway's School of Rock!

And check out the artwork Courtney did for #DoodleforHunger;
She's awesome!

James Monroe Iglehart will be joining a whole host of Broadway stars next week as part of the Performers4Peace ConcertYou can read all about the event and buy tickets right here.

And you can catch James right now in the Talk 4 Two podcast!  I've not had chance to listen to it all yet but it promises to be insightful, funny and just a good time so check it out!

Is this news?  I'm not sure but JMI's local Lego Store has fantastic taste in music!

PennState's School of Theatre recently posted a "Backstage Chat" with Aladdin's Nathan Lucrezio where he talks about the show, the audition process and offers some great advice to anyone hoping to break into musical theatre.  Nathan was also featured in Irish Dance Magazine last month (if you've seen his fantastic YouTube video then you can probably see why)!  And you can check out his latest YouTube mashup right here!

Last month Steel Burkhardt performed in Broadway Sessions in a special session for the graduating class of Baldwin Wallace University.

Last month Aladdin's Daisy Hobbs was the featured guest in Marty Thomas' Diva.

Aladdin's Rodney Ingram recently performed in concert in At This Performance. You can catch his full performance right here;

Aladdin Broadway - Creative Team News

As the majority of the creative team is gathered in London, rehearsing for the West End debut of Aladdin, Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw is celebrating a feat unequalled on Broadway since 2001.  With the debut of Tuck Everlasting Casey now has 4 shows running on Broadway simultaneously!  Congratulations Casey on this astonishing achievement!!

But that's not all - it could soon be 5!  Casey's next show, The Prom, will premiere at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre on 18th August where it will run through 25th September.  Could Broadway be next?  Keep your fingers crossed!  The book is by Bob Martin and Aladdin's Chad Begulin with music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Chad Begulin.  You can read more details at Broadway Buzz, it sounds like a funny and touching show and I really hope it makes it to Broadway.

And speaking of Chad Beguelin - Aladdin's fantastic book writer recently joined with other Broadway writers to speak with Broadway World about the role a writer plays in creating a musical.

Now back to Casey (what you thought 4, potentially 5, Broadway shows was enough?).  Playbill is reporting that Casey will collaborating with songwriter David Yazbek on a musical adaptation of Tootsie, but don't expect it any earlier than late 2017 due to Casey's busy schedule!

Yes, London Theatre's new profile is right - Casey Nicholaw "is potentially the hardest working man currently working in musical theatre."  In fact, I think you can take out that "potentially"!!

Disney Legend Alan Menken, lyricist Glen Slater and the rest of the A Bronx Tale creative team are to be honoured this Friday at the Paper Mill Playhouse's annual fundraising gala.  And you can check out a great new interview with Alan right here as he plays 23 Questions with D23.

Aladdin Broadway - Old Friends

Seattle's original Omar, Andrew Keenan-Bolger will be taking part in the Maize and Blue on Broadway benefit concert on May 16th.  And joining him will be Hunchback's Samantha Massel!  You can read more about the event and all the other stars at Broadway World.

You can tell that Tuck Everlasting has opened (check out the video montage here) as Andrew's everywhere right now!  He's's latest Vlogger (and you can catch up on all the episodes so far right here), answering 20 Questions with Broadway Box, talking about opening night nerves with Backstage and if you want to know the best advice Andrew has ever been given then check out this short Playbill interview!

Aladdin and Something Rotten! star Marisha Wallace recently took part in the Broadway Sings Whitney Houston concert.  Here she is nailing "So Emotional";

Marisha is taking a break from Something Rotten! this summer to star as Effie White in Dreamgirls in Dallas (so make sure to check that out if you're in Dallas this summer) but she'll be back with Broadway's Team Rotten in August!

It's been a busy month for Giuseppe Bausilio as he recently did an interview with Keith Price on Curtain Call which you can check out right here, appeared on Seth Rudetsky's Seth Speaks in a 3 part interview that you can watch here - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 - and an interview with Telebaern which you can watch here!

Aladdin on Tour

Aladdin's first US Tour may not begin until next April but the magic carpet will be making a quick stop in Chicago this summer as part of the Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert on Monday 15th August.  There's no word yet on whether this will be the Broadway or Touring cast but I'd imagine it will be the original Broadway cast due to the date of the event.  If you're in Chicago make sure you check it out for a fantastic preview of the magic that's heading your way next year!  More details and tickets can be found at the Broadway in Chicago website.

Aladdin International

Myrthes Monteiro & Enrico De Pieri at the LEA Awards, Photo by Morris Mac Matzen
First up a massive congratulations to the Hamburg production of Aladdin for winning Best Show of the Year at the LEA Awards last month!  What an incredible and well deserved achievement!

And another congratulations on your cast recording!

I'm pretty sure that the Tokyo cast of Aladdin have also released a cast album but I can't find a link right now!

Now, has it really been over 3 weeks since this magical moment?!

Time seems to fly faster than a magic carpet these days!  The Aladdin London gang have now completed their 2nd day of full run through rehearsals and are preparing to move into the Prince Edward Theatre and begin tech rehearsals next Monday!

Dean John-Wilson and Jade Ewen, Photo by Helen Maybanks

London's very own Aladdin, Dean-John Wilson, recently spoke with Digital Spy about earning his stripes and how Aladdin is allowing him to achieve his life-long goal of originating a role.

Before taking on the title role of Aladdin Dean starred in Miss Atomic Bomb.  You can catch an interview with him on The Curtain Up Show right here.

Jade Ewen, recently spoke with Sunday World about landing "a dream role" as London's Princess Jasmine.

And you can catch both Jade and Dean in the latest issue of Hello Magazine here in the UK.  Which means this is the first and only time I'm actually going to think about buying it!

But that's not all!  When Dean and Jade went to visit the Broadway cast of Aladdin What's On Stage went with them and now you can check out their video where they talk with the stars about the show!

Now here's something really special.  If you live in the UK and follow this blog then chances are you've already seen this but for those who missed it or live elsewhere here's the incredible Trevor Dion Nicholas bringing down the house with "Friend Like Me" on Tonight at the London Palladium;

And here's a special look behind the scenes of this one night only event;

Nathan Amzi (who will be playing Babkak in London's Aladdin) recently took part in a charity concert in support of cancer research.

Nathan Amzi with Christine Allado, photo by Bonnie Britain
Rachid Sabitri (London's Omar) recently guest starred in the new series Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.  Well, recently if you live in America - here in the UK we'll be seeing it in a few weeks on W!  If you want to watch out for it in the UK or watch it on catch up/on demand in the US then it's episode 7, Citizens of the World.

GTEN Media have posted a great interview with Aladdin's Mitch Leow.

Aladdin's Daniel de Bourg recently posted a video update to his YouTube Channel to keep his fans up to date with his work so naturally Aladdin came up!  Check it out right here;

And in addition to starring in Aladdin, Daniel will also be teaching at Rise Studios summer school this year where the performing arts class will be an Aladdin style workshop!  You can read more details here.

And if you're not following the London production of Aladdin on Twitter and Instagram then make sure you start following them today!

The Sydney Morning Herald posted an interesting article recently about Sydney's recent musical boom and the wave of shows due to open this season, including Disney's Aladdin.

Other Disney Stuff

Ok, first I just have to say, if you haven't seen The Jungle Book yet, why the heck not?!  Seriously, that film is beyond amazing and, dare I say it, even better than the original animated classic.  Disney have experimented a lot with adapting their classic animated movies to live action with mixed results but with The Jungle Book they've truly cracked it and the result is nothing short of a masterpiece.  I can't wait to see what next year's Beauty and the Beast has in store for us!  And, if it's done to this quality, bring on Aladdin!!

The next D23 Expo has officially been announced for 2017!  The Expo will once again take place at the Anaheim Convention Centre and will run July 14-16.  Tickets will go on sale July 14th this year.  Here's hoping they have another Disney on Broadway concert and bring back James Monroe Iglehart! And on that note I need to seriously consider going to this one!  It'd be nice if Anaheim didn't cost twice as much as Florida when you visit from the UK (otherwise I'd have definitely already been as I'd love to see the original Disneyland) but some things are worth it!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame's Patrick Page will be starring as Hades in the New York Theatre workshop production of Hadestown.  The new musical will run May 6th to June 12th.

Hunchback and current Fiddler on the Roof star Samantha Massell recently joined with her Fiddler co-stars to share alumni stories with the Birthright Israel Foundation for Passover.  And you can see a great video of Samantha and Monica Swayne (who's starring in Fiddler in Syndey) interviewing each other over at Broadway World.

And whilst we're on Hunchback - The Paper Mill Playhouse is to be honoured with this year's Regional Theatre Tony Award!  Massive congratulations to the entire Paper Mill team!  And another huge congratulations to Hunchback star Michael Arden for his best director Tony nomination for Spring Awakening!  What an incredible achievement!

The Little Mermaid's Tituss Burgess (perhaps better know these days for Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) will be making his West End debut at the London Hippodrome this September!  Now that's going to be an amazing show!

We're still over a year away from the Denver preview run of Frozen but casting has already begun with Betsy Wolfe as Elsa and Patti Murin as Anna according to the latest reports from around the web.  I'm really interested to see how this show develops and hopefully I'll get to see it in 2018.

And finally, if you're a Disney fan, this is just incredible to listen to!

Monday, 2 May 2016

Aladdin's Princesses Raise Money for Broadway Bound Kids

Next week Aladdin's Lauryn Ciardullo and Courtney Reed will be taking part in the first annual Broadway Bee in support of Broadway Bound Kids.

Just reading that tag line "Drinking is allowed, cheating is encouraged!" you know it's going to be a hilarious evening with some of your favourite Broadway stars!  I'd love to be able to see and support every event the Aladdin cast are involved in because I know how talented they all are, but every now and then there's one that I'd really love to go to just because it sounds like so much fun and this is one of them!

You can read more about the event and donate to their team right here!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Jade Ewen is London's Princess Jasmine!

Jade Ewen, Photo by Helen Maybanks
It's May!!  That means that Disney's Broadway spectacular Aladdin officially begins previews in London THIS MONTH!!

The entire cast and creative team have been hard at work for a month now to make Aladdin ready for its West End debut.  We've met Aladdin and Genie, now it's time to give a royal welcome and roll out the magic carpet for London's very own Princess Jasmine, Jade Ewen!

I love the preview of Jade and Dean singing "A Whole New World" and can't wait to hear the full song live later this month!
Aladdin begins previews at London's Prince Edward Theatre Friday 27th May and officially opens on Wednesday 15th June.  Tickets are available here!