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

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Awards Time for London's Aladdin

Trevor Dion Nicholas and the Cast of London's Aladdin, Photo by Deen Van Meer

It's awards time in the West End and you can help the cast of London's Aladdin by nominating and voting for them in both the What's on Stage Awards and the Broadway World UK Awards!

First up is the 17th annual What's On Stage Awards!  This is the only major UK theatre awards decided purely by the audience!  From now until the 24th November you can nominate who you want to see on the shortlist for the awards, then on December 1st the shortlist will be revealed and you can vote for your favourite stars and shows through to the end of January 2017.

London's Aladdin can be voted for in all the following categories;

Best Actor in a Musical
Best Actress in a Musical
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical
Best New Musical
Best Direction
Best Choreography
Best Costume
Best Set Design
Best Lighting Design
Best Video Design
Best West End Show

So please head over to What's On Stage and nominate this incredible cast and show!

But don't take my word for it!  Hear it from the cast;

And make sure you also vote in the Broadway World UK Awards as well!  Voting runs until December 31st and the awards will be announced in January!

You can vote for Aladdin in the following categories;

Best New Production of a Musical

Best Supporting Actor in a New Production of a Musical
Nathan Amzi
Rachid Sabitri
Stephen Rahman-Hughes

Best Actress in a New Production of a Musical
Jade Ewen (who is also nominated for In The Heights)

Best Actor in a New Production of a Musical
Dean John-Wilson
Trevor Dion Nicholas

Understudy of the Year in any Play or Musical (Female)
Lauren Chia
Marsha Songcome

Understudy of the Year in any Play or Musical (Male)
Albey Brookes
Ethan Le Phong
Leon Craig
Miles Barrow
Oliver Lidert

Best Costume Design of a New Production of a Play or Musical
Gregg Barnes

Best Set Design of a New Production of a Play or Musical
Bob Crowley

Best Lighting Design of a New Production of a Play or Musical
Natasha Katz (who is also nominated for Motown the Musical)

Best Choreography Design of a New Production of a Play or Musical
Casey Nicholaw

Best Costume Design of a New Production of a Play or Musical
Casey Nicholaw

Best Long-Running West End Show
The Lion King (ok this one's not Aladdin but let's help a Disney cousin out!)

Theatrical Venue of the Year
Prince Edward Theatre

Massive congratulations to all the cast and creative team for the nominations!  Please vote everyone!!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Making Magic for Children in Need

The cast of London's Aladdin, Photo by Johan Perrson

Tonight is one of the biggest charity events of the year here in the UK as Children in Need returns to our screens for its 36th year of raising money for good causes all around the world.

This year though is extra special for Disney fans as the fabulous cast of London's Aladdin will be opening the show with a special six minute medley featuring Arabian Nights, A Whole New World and, of course, the spectacular Friend Like Me!

So make sure you tune in tonight to catch them at 7:30pm on BBC One, it's going to be a magical start to the evening!

Oh, and how adorable is this!!

Monday, 7 November 2016

The Music Beyond the Magic 4 - James Monroe Iglehart

James Monroe Iglehart, Photo from 54 Below
In celebration of James Monroe Iglehart's return to 54 Below tonight I thought it was well past time for another Music Beyond the Magic post!

And thanks to's sneak peak at How the Heck Did I Get Here? I have the perfect video to share with you!

Does it get any more magical than that?  I swear, one day I'll make it to one of his solo shows!

If you're going tonight or next week I hope you have an incredible evening.  James, all the best, I'm sure it's going to be a fantastic night!