Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Broadway's Princesses Take Their Party to the West Coast

Courtney Reed at a Broadway Princess Party, Photo by Nessie Nankivell

After five sell out engagements in New York, Broadway's favourite princesses are taking their magic carpets and pumpkin carriages on the road to the West Coast!

Aladdin's Courtney Reed will be joining Susan Egan (Beauty and the Beast) and Laura Osnes (Cinderella) for a special three night event at the Segerstrom Centre for the Arts starting tonight!  In addition to their evening performances there will also be a special matinee performance at Citrus College on the 16th December.

So if you've always wanted to see one if these fantastic events but couldn't make it out to NYC this is your chance to catch these incredible ladies on the West Coast.  You can find more information on the event right here.

Tickets are available here (matinee tickets can be found here).

But that's not all! In addition to this West Coast event, the Broadway Princesses will be returning to New York's 54 Below next February for another one night only event on 11th February.  Tickets will go on sale tomorrow for Club 54 members and on Friday for the general audience.  The guest line up for this event hasn't been announced yet, but I suspect Arielle Jacobs may be representing Aladdin ahead of her Jasmine debut on the 20th so let's give her a big, warm, Agrabah welcome!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Arielle Jacobs is Broadway's Princess Jasmine!!!

Arielle Jacobs as Princess Jasmine, Photo by Deen Van Meer

Arielle Jacobs is Broadway's new Princess Jasmine!

After originating the role in the Australian production, Arielle is all set to join the Broadway company of Aladdin on 20th February next year following the departure of Courtney Reed.

Honestly, I think this is one of the best cast replacements Disney Theatrical have ever done.  I seriously can't think of anyone I would rather see take over the role and I hope she has a long and magical run with the show.  Welcome back to Agrabah, Arielle!

Courtney Reed to Fly Beyond These Palace Walls in 2018

Courtney Reed as Jasmine, Photo by Angelo Soriano
To paraphrase the Sultan, "I always knew this day would come. Now I'm afraid that it has come all too soon."

Aladdin is saying goodbye to an original cast member next month as Courtney Reed will play her final Broadway performance on Wednesday January 10th.

But just because Broadway is saying goodbye to Courtney next month doesn't mean she's saying goodbye to Jasmine just yet as she's heading to LA to spend her final weeks with Jasmine on tour with her original Aladdin!!


Adam Jacobs & Courtney Reed, Photo by Disney
Yes, Adam and Courtney will be reunited on the magic carpet one last time as she joins the touring cast in Los Angeles for her final month from January 13th - February 18th!

Courtney and Adam have played these iconic characters with each other since the early work shops in 2010 right through to earlier this year when Adam left the Broadway cast to headline the National Tour so as heart broken as I am to see Courtney leaving the show, I'm overjoyed to learn that she'll be spending her final weeks as Jasmine with Adam on the tour.  It just feels right that she ends her run with him after all these years.

But that's not all!  Joining Adam and Courtney in LA will be none other than Michael James Scott!  Fresh off his incredible run as Australia's Genie, Michael is all set to join his original co-stars as Genie!  Talk about a reunion!  Michael will be with the tour for the entire Los Angeles run from 10th January through 31st March.

Whilst Courtney is reuniting with Adam in Los Angeles, Isabelle McCalla will be making her Broadway debut as Jasmine from 17th January through to 18th February before returning to the National Tour.


Courtney, I wish you all the very best for your final months as Jasmine.  I hope you've loved playing her as I have seeing you bring her to life.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for you as you fly beyond these palace walls.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

25 Years of Magic!


Has it really been 25 years?  "Look at me from the side, do I look different to you?" ;)

It's hard to believe but yesterday marks 25 years since Aladdin debut in cinemas!  Yes, Aladdin is 25 years young (and I feel really old!) and the casts of Aladdin have been celebrating around the world!

In London the cast of the West End production sat down to watch the movie that started it all;



Whilst in New York Oh My Disney went to see the show on Broadway and took the opportunity to watch the film with the one and only Jonathan Freeman;



And cast past and present took to social media to celebrate the film's anniversary;




It's not just the musical cast who are celebrating!  Mena Massoud, star of the upcoming live action movie, took time out from shooting to re-watch the animated classic!


If you're not following Mena on social media then you definitely should be!  He's be posting some fantastic pictures and videos whilst making the movie, including some absolutely breath taking views from when they were shooting on location in Jordan.  This film is going to look stunning!

And, of course, the ones who started it all!!



Happy anniversary Aladdin!  Here's to the next 25 magical years!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Next Stop - San Francisco!

Adam Jacobs & Isabelle McCalla as Aladdin & Jasmine, Photo by Deen Van Meer
Following a magical Seattle homecoming, Aladdin's magic carpet ride across America continues as the National Tour opens at San Francisco's SHN Orpheum Theatre tonight!

After a few short stops the show is settling in for a good long run in the City by the Bay, playing tonight through to January 7th 2018!  Tickets are on sale right here so make sure you grab yours now for a magical treat this holiday season!

Here's wishing everyone involved a incredible debut tonight! Make some magic guys!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Adam & Arielle bring Sibling Disobedience to San Francisco!


The Jacobs siblings are taking over the Bay!

Fresh off his star performance in the first national tour of Aladdin, Adam Jacobs is returning home to San Francisco and he's bringing his sister Arielle, fresh off her own star turn as Australia's Jasmine, with him as they present Sibling Disobedience at the Bay Area Cabaret!

You've seen them both on Broadway and both in Aladdin (just on different continents), now see them both in a more intimate environment as they take you on their journey from the Bay to Broadway and back again in this special homecoming concert.

Tickets are on sale now and you can even buy a meet and greet and photo op with the stars.  Make sure you don't miss this!

Updated - This concert is in San Francisco not Chicago (Oops! Sorry everyone!)

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Don Darryl Rivera Wins Gregory Award!


Well this is awesome!  Massive congratulations to Don Darryl Rivera who won a Gregory Award last night for his portrayal of Sancho in 5th Avenue's Man of La Mancha!!

And of course the award comes as Don Darryl is back home in Seattle with Aladdin at the Paramount Theatre, where you can catch him in all his evil sidekick glory until this Sunday!  You can still get tickets right here so make sure you catch him before he returns to Broadway!

Congratulations again DDR!  So happy for you and very much deserved!  You rock!!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Vote for Aladdin's Matt Croke in the Broadway World Awards!

Matthew Croke as Aladdin, Photo by Johan Persson

Voting is now open for the 2017 Broadway World UK West End Awards and London's new Aladdin Matthew Croke has been nominated as Best Performer (Male) in a Long Running Show!!  I say new, Matt's been Aladdin since June, I just still need to see the show again!

He's going to need some help to beat long running favourites like Les Mis and Phantom so please get voting everyone!  And congratulations Matthew on this incredible achievement!!

Cast your vote right here!

There's also an Aladdin alumni up for an award as Marisha Wallace is up for an incredibly well deserved Best Performance by an Understudy/Alternate for Dreamgirls (which Director Casey Nicholaw and Costume Designer Gregg Barnes are also nominated for).

If you need any convincing that these two deserve these awards then check out their incredible performances from London's West End Live earlier this year!





Let's get voting!!

Aladdin Returns Home & DDR Does Too!

Don Darryl Rivera is Iago in Seattle!

Aladdin is coming home!!  After an incredible run in Minneapolis Aladdin is returning to Seattle where it first premiered in 2011!

Even better, Don Darryl Rivera is coming with it!!!  Yes, DDR is returning home to play Iago!  Seattle is in for a treat!!

And so is Broadway!  Whilst Don Darryl is bringing Iago to life for his home town, Reggie De Leon will be making his Broadway debut bringing the villainous henchman to life in New York!  Congratulations Reggie!!

Aladdin will be playing at Seattle's Paramount Theatre from tomorrow through to 29th October and you can get your tickets right here!  Don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity to see Seattle's original Aladdin (Adam Jacobs) and original Iago share a stage again!  It's going to be magical!!!

Friday, 15 September 2017

Next Stop - Minneapolis!

Anthony Murphy as Genie & the Cast of Aladdin National Tour, Photo by Deen Van Meer
Wish granted!!

After an incredible run in Chicago, Adam Jacobs, Anthony Murphy, Isabelle McCalla and the incredible touring cast of Disney's Aladdin have flown their magic carpet to Minneapolis for the second stop on their first national tour!

The show opens tonight and runs though October 8th at the Orpheum Theatre.

Make some magic everyone! Here's wishing you an incredible run!

You can get tickets right here!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Aladdin Begins Filming


Mena Massoud (Aladdin), Naomi Scott (Jasmine), Will Smith (Genie) and Marwan Kenzari (Jafar) on their first day on set for Guy Ritchie's Aladdin
Exciting news from Disney this week as production officially began on the live action adaptation of Aladdin on Wednesday and to celebrate Will Smith (Genie) posted the very first selfie from the London set!

It's not even been two months since the first casting announcements at D23 this summer but additional casting information has been coming in fast these last few weeks and the cast is now officially complete!

We already know that Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott and Will Smith are playing our heroes Aladdin, Jasmine and Genie, but every great hero needs fantastic villains and Aladdin has found them in Marwan Kenzari's Jafar and Numan Acar's Hakim!

Completing the principal cast are Navid Negahban as the Sultan, Nasim Pedrad as Dalia (Princess Jasmine's handmaiden and confidante) and Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders (a suitor for Princess Jasmine from Skanland).

First impressions? I'm super excited! I said this after D23 and I'll say it again now - I love that Disney have cast relatively unknowns rather than big names for this because that shows they've been cast as they truly are the best people for the roles rather than just for their box office draw.

Also - I think this is going to be a very different Aladdin to either the animated original or the musical.  Disney aren't playing it safe with this and that's great.  As much as I loved this year's Beauty and the Beast it was arguably too similar to the animated classic, it added some wonderful touches, I loved the way the castle crumbled as the petals fell, but ultimately it invited too many direct comparisons that it could never live up to (and yes, I fully recognise that nostalgia does play a part in that).  A more direct adaptation may be the easier and safer option but it would mean the film would likely always be in the shadow of the original.  By doing its own thing, by being unique, Aladdin will succeed or fail on its own merits just as it did on stage.  It may not be as safe but it has a much better shot at being something very special rather than just a good adaptation of a superior original.

So what do the new castings tell us?  Marwan Kenzari as Jafar is much younger that the character is traditionally portrayed which suggests that the villainous vizier may be a more active role in this version and a more physical match for Aladdin.  This is interesting as Aladdin normally has to rely on his wits to defeat Jafar (of course at this point Jafar is normally an all powerful sorcerer/giant snake).  I'm sure that will still be the case but I definitely wouldn't be surprised to see a more personal throw down between the two first in this movie!

Numan Acar's Hakim is probably the most revealing casting that's been announced so far.  Described as both Jafar's right-hand man and the head of the palace guards Hakim effectively replaces both Iago and Razoul.  This, along with the creation of Jasmine's attendant Dalia, suggests that, like with the musical, the animals are out.  Though it is surprising that they went with a new character rather than just making fan favourite Iago human as they do on stage.  Combining the roles of Iago and Razoul also suggests a greater corruption within the palace guards this time around with ((at least) Hakim knowing Jafar is plotting directly against the Sultan.

Nasim Pedrad's Dalia will presumably fulfil the same role as her attendants in the musical - giving Jasmine someone to talk with and confide in in the absence of Rajah, though likely with a larger presence in the story.

Gotta admit, whilst it's now pretty much a certainty that the animals are out, I do hope they make an exception for Abu.  Jasmine has Dalia and Jafar has Hakim, since Babkak, Omar and Kassim haven't been cast Aladdin needs a friend and someone to interact with before he meets Genie.

I'm not sure there's much to read into the other castings yet.  Navid Negahban's Sultan rounds out the original classic characters and Billy Magnussen's Prince Anders seems likely to fulfil a similar role as Prince Achmed did in the original.  Of course I'm sure Disney and Guy Ritchie have some surprises in store for us all.  As long as they stay true to the heart of the characters and story then I'm sure everything will turn out just great.

And speaking of the heart of the piece. Alan Menken announced at D23 that he was working with the Tony Award winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land & Dear Evan Hansen) to create new songs for this new version of Aladdin and thanks to the Oh My Disney report we now know they'll be creating 2 all new songs for movie to go along with the classic Menken, Ashman and Rice tunes from the original.  I can't wait to hear who the new songs are for!  I'm guessing a new song for Genie and either a solo for Jasmine or a new duet for Aladdin and Jasmine.

Now, Beauty and the Beast got 3 new songs so I'm wishing with all my might that Proud of Your Boy makes the cut this time!  Long shot?  Maybe, but Aladdin is all about wishes coming true.

I'm sure I'll be writing much more about the movie real soon now that production has begun and they're officially making magic!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Aladdin Grants Final Wishes in Chicago

Adam Jacobs, Anthony Murphy and the cast of Aladdin National Tour, Photo by Deen Van Meer

They say all good things must come to an end and after an incredible six month run the first leg of Aladdin's National Tour is coming to a close this weekend!

If you live in the windy city and still haven't caught the show then make sure you head over to the Cadillac Palace Theatre this weekend as Adam Jacobs, Anthony Murphy, Isabelle McCalla and all of this incredible cast will be bringing the house down and audiences to their feet for three final wish fulfilling shows this weekend!  And you can still get tickets right here!

Make some magic this weekend everyone!  I hope you've had a fantastic run!

Next stop - Minneapolis' Orpheum Theatre starting Friday September 15th!  Tickets are available here.






Sunday, 3 September 2017

IARA Awards 2017


Last night was the annual International Achievement Recognition Awards (IARA) and Aladdin's own Ethan Le Phong, who is one of the few people to have featured in both the West End and Broadway productions of the show, was nominated as Best Emerging Actor 2017!

I would just like to say a (belated) congratulations to all the nominees and to winner Olisa Odele on this fantastic achievement!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Aladdin Celebrates 500 Performances in the West End!


What a cake!!

Last night Aladdin celebrated it's 500th performance in London's West End.  And to mark the magical occasion they had a cake worthy of a Sultan!

Congratulations to all the cast and crew of this incredible show on reaching this amazing milestone.  I hope the cake tasted as good as it looks!  Here's to one thousand (and one)!!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Brandon O'Neill Returns to Broadway


I posted this on Twitter at the start of the month but it definitely deserves its own post - Brandon O'Neill is back on Broadway!

For this month only (through to August 27th) Brandon has joined the ensemble of Alan Menken's new musical, A Bronx Tale!

Tickets are available at the show's official website so if you're in NYC this month then make sure you catch Brandon whilst you can!

Don Darryl Rivera Nominated for Gregory Award


Last year Don Darryl Rivera took a short break from Aladdin to return to Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre as Sancho in Man of La Mancha, now I'm thrilled to announce that he's been nominated for a Gregory Award for his role in that production!

You can see a short peak at Don Darryl's performance below


 
 
DDR, I'm so happy for you and so proud of this incredible achievement!  Fingers crossed for you buddy!
 
The Gregory Awards takes place on Monday 23rd October 2017 so make sure you send everyone's favourite evil sidekick all your best wishes between now and then!

Adam Jacobs is Back!

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, Photo by Matthew Murphy

I can't think of many posts that have made me as happy (and relieved) as this!  Adam Jacobs is back as Aladdin in Chicago!

Judging by social media I'm a little late posting this, I was hoping for some sort of official confirmation first (there's still no Aladdin listed on the official site's tour cast) and didn't want to post prematurely.

Then this happened;


Broadway in Chicago held an outdoor concert on Monday and there's Adam and Isabelle McCalla sounding fantastic singing "A Whole New World" so I think it's safe to say he's back!  And I'm overjoyed!

Welcome back Adam!  I think I speak for all the fans when I say we're so happy you're well again and back on stage where you belong.


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Casting Announced for Disney's Live Action Aladdin at D23


There's always big news out of Disney's D23 Expo and this year certainly didn't disappoint as Disney Studios officially announced the stars of Guy Ritchie's live action Aladdin to a packed Hall D23 at the Anaheim Convention Centre yesterday.

Mena Massoud will be bringing to life my favourite Disney hero in the title role, Naomi Scott will be Princess Jasmine and Will Smith be the Genie.

First impressions?  I've got to say I really happy with this cast.

Full disclosure - it's no secret I've championed Adam Jacobs, Courtney Reed and James Monroe Iglehart for these roles.  Heck, I've been shouting it all over Twitter since The Hollywood Reporter's claims that Disney was struggling to find its Aladdin and Jasmine last week.  I stand by that 100%.  I've followed them in these roles for 6 years, from Seattle to Broadway, and they are perfect to me.  I always knew it was a crazy long shot but it was a beautiful dream.  And I'll still continue to champion Jonathan Freeman and Don Darryl Rivera as Jafar and Iago until those castings are revealed.  But just because my dream castings weren't chosen doesn't mean I can't be happy with the people who were cast.

So let's start with Aladdin and Jasmine.  What excites me the most about Mena Massoud being cast as Aladdin is one simple thing - I've never heard of him.  I know that sounds crazy but it really is.  Because this means he's been cast for one simple reason, Disney believe he's the right man for the job.  Heck, they even delayed production trying to find him as filming was originally due to start this month!  The same goes for Naomi Scott.  Outside of this year's Power Rangers movie (which I actually really enjoyed) she's unknown.  Disney have made good on their promise from earlier this year and cast newcomers rather than stars, cast on ability rather than name.

Now, this is a musical just like Beauty and the Beast was, so the first thing I do whenever Disney announce the cast for these live action remakes is search for videos of the new stars singing.  Normally you can at least find something but you try searching for Mena Massoud videos - the first five pages on Google are all just video news/reactions to the Aladdin casting.  I did manage to find his acting demo reel (I'm not the best at judging based on short scenes but I think he shows a good range) but nothing of him singing.  This worried me when Emma Watson was cast in Beauty and the Beast but it doesn't with Mena Massoud.  He wasn't cast for his name, so if he couldn't sing he wouldn't have got the job.  Plus, Naomi Scott can sing!  Like, seriously sing.  Check out her YouTube channel!  There's no way they're casting an Aladdin who can't vocally match with Jasmine.  If she's a strong singer then I'm sure he is to.

So, yeah, I'm really excited by these two and can't wait to see them in costume and hear something of them singing together.



And now the announcement that seems to have split the internet.  After months of rumours it's finally official, Will Smith is the Genie.  And I think he'll be great.

Let's get one thing straight, he's not Robin Williams.  No one is.  No one is ever going to replace or replicate that iconic performance.  But he won't play it like Robin Williams.  When recreating the Genie for Broadway, James Monroe Iglehart was given the freedom to put his own spin on it, bringing the character closer to his original Fats Waller/Cab Calloway inspiration he maintained the spirit of the character Robin created whilst creating something new and uniquely his own that saw him take home a Tony Award for the role.

As long as Will Smith is given this same freedom, to truly make Genie his own whilst honouring the spirit of what Robin created, then I believe he could do something equally special with the role.  The man oozes star power and charisma, for all the movie's flaws he (along with Margot Robbie) pretty much carried Suicide Squad and even succeeded in making Deadshot a more likable character than Superman in the DCEU.  Plus, he can sing.  Genie was always going to be a big name, especially once it was confirmed Disney wanted unknowns for Aladdin and Jasmine.  Will Smith brings that star power to the movie but also has the skills to do a good job with the role as long as he's allowed to make it his own.


Now the waiting beings and it's gonna be a long one.  Disney revealed their production slate through to 2019 yesterday and Aladdin wasn't on it.  That means this movie is likely to be a 2020 release!  Best start saving for 2019's D23 as that's likely where we'll get a first look!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Aladdin's Telly Leung to Perform at Michener Art Museum

Telly Leung as Aladdin & Major Attaway as Genie & the Broadway cast of Aladdin, Photo by Matthew Murphy

Tonight Broadway's new Aladdin, Telly Leung, is taking a night off from making wishing and flying carpets to appear in PNC Arts Alive's Broadway: Cabaret at the Michener at the Michner Arts Museum alongside Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton) and Eden Espinosa (Wicked).

More details on the performers can be found at the Michener's website.

It's always great to see these incredible performers in a more intimate environment.  I just want to wish Telly and everyone attending and taking part a fantastic evening.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Major Attaway and Clifton Davies to Star in A Broadway Musical at 54 Below

Major Attaway as Genie

The amount of times I write about 54 Below I swear that place must be a home away from home for the Aladdin cast!

On July 16th Major Attaway and Clifton Davies will be trading Agrabah for New York as they bring to life Strouse and Adams' "lost" work A Broadway Musical at Broadway's favourite supper club.

According to Playbill A Broadway Musical had a rocky road to Broadway (with both cast and creative changes following its out of town preview run) and closed on its opening night in New York!  Joining our two Aladdin stars will be a cast of new talent and veterans of the original one night wonder original cast, recreating their original roles for another one night only performance.

It's always a treat to see Aladdin's incredible cast sink their teeth into new material and the addition of cast members from original production of the show mean this is sure to be a night to remember.  Tickets are available now from 54 Below.

Clifton Davis as Sultan, Photo by Walter McBride

Trevor Dion Nicholas to Premiere What's On Stage Live Solo Concert Series!



Hot off his incredible West End Live performance and the release of Neighbourhood Goliath's debut album last month (not to mention his What's On Stage Award winning day job as Aladdin's sensational Genie) Trevor Dion Nicholas will premiere the brand new What's On Stage Live tomorrow night!

Described by What's On Stage as intimate events that offer the chance to hear exclusive performances from some of the top West End talent, What's On Stage Live will also offer guests the opportunity to take part in special Q&A sessions with the stars during the evening.

Taking place at Above the Arts Studio Theatre (which, as its name suggests, is located above the Arts Theatre in central London) tomorrow's special event will begin at 7:30pm and you can get tickets right here!

I wish everyone going an incredible time, Trev is an amazing performer and a wonderful guy so I know this is going to be an unforgettable evening.


Thursday, 15 June 2017

Happy First Anniversary Aladdin London


Tonight was an extra special night at the Prince Edward Theatre as Aladdin celebrated one year in the West End!

Opening Night was simply magical and I will always treasure the memory of walking down that purple carpet and being in that audience.

Happy anniversary everyone! Enjoy tonight's celebration and here's to many more years of magic to come!

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

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

You've Never Had Friends Like These!

Don Darryl Rivera and Angelo Soriano

June 8th was National Best Friends Day and to celebrate Disney Theatrical posted a very special video of the cast of Broadway's Aladdin singing Friend Like Me with their BFFs, put together by Aladdin's own Angelo Soriano and Don Darryl Rivera!

Just wait until you see who Jonathan Freeman brought as his friend :oD



Great work everyone!!

Jacob Dickey Takes Over as Aladdin on Tour

Jacob Dickey as Aladdin, Photo by Matthew Murphy
The US National Tour of Aladdin has a new leading man as Jacob Dickey stepped into the title role last week (June 8th) following a month of bringing the character to life on Broadway.

Broadway in Chicago have stated that Jacob is temporarily taking over from Adam Jacobs who is "on a minor medical leave of absence until further notice".

I wish Adam a full and speedy recovery and hope to see him back in the show soon.  I also wish Jacob a fantastic run as Aladdin during his time in Chicago.

Aladdin is playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through to September 10th.

Telly Leung Sings Proud of Your Boy

Telly Leung as Aladdin, Photo by Matthew Murphy
Last night was Telly Leung's first night as Broadway's new Aladdin and to celebrate here's a video of him performing Aladdin's solo ballad (and my favourite Disney song ever) Proud of Your Boy at this year's Stars in the Alley concert!



After two trips in less than six months I'm not sure how soon I'll be able to go back to Broadway but I really hope I get chance to catch Telly's Aladdin, it looks like he's going to give a fantastic performance.  Hopefully Disney Theatrical will release some official clips soon as I'm dying to hear how he sounds singing A Whole New World with Courtney!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

London's Aladdin to Open West End Live



Last year Aladdin didn't have much of a presence at West End Live.  This was understandable though as the show had literally just opened earlier in the week.  The fact that we got Trevor Dion Nicholas giving a tease of Friend Like Me was more than enough.

What a difference a year makes.

This year the cast of Aladdin aren't just taking part in West End Live.  They're opening it!

Friend Like Me seems like a natural fit to open the event (especially after Trev's little tease last year) but I'm hoping we get Matthew Croke's rendition of Proud of Your Boy as well.  That's something I'm really looking forward to hearing.

West End Live 2017 will take place on 24th & 25th June with a jam packed schedule showcasing the very best the West End has to offer for free in London's Trafalgar Square.  Kicking off at 11:00 on Saturday (Gates open 10:30) and 12:00 on Sunday (Gates 11:30) make sure you get there early as this is a popular event and I speak from experience when I say the queues can be long (I watched Trev from the queue last year).

But the Aladdin cast's 15 minute opening segment on Saturday isn't the only time the stars of Agrabah will take to the stage next weekend.  On Sunday you can see Aladdin stars past and present in their own solo segments;

16:05 - Trevor Dion Nicolas & Neighbourhood Goliath (West End's incredible Genie & his band)
16:20 - Marisha Wallace (original Broadway cast, currently slaying it in Dreamgirls)
16:35 - Nathan Amzi (original London cast)

I definitely need to try and get back to London for this!

James Monroe Iglehart to Star in The Funkentine Rapture at 54 Below

It seems like 54 Below is the place to be for the Aladdin family right now.  We started the month with the Citizens of Agrabah cabaret, Courtney Reed makes her solo debut, Confessions of a Broadway Princess, this weekend and on Monday 19th the Genie is back in the house!

Yes, James Monroe Iglehart is returning once more to Broadway's favourite supper club, this time starring in The Funkentine Rapture as the Big Bad Man!

54 Below describes the show;

"On the eve of the Apollo Theatre's great Funkfest, The Big Bad Man is set to unleash his Disco Rainbows on the world'  The only thing that stands between disco ruination and True Funk is young funkmaster George Preston."

It sounds like a lot of fun.  I sure know I'd love to see James unleash "disco rainbows" on the world.  And, unlike Hamilton, you can actually get tickets to see him in this :oD

Tickets are available now at 54 Below for what is sure to be an incredible night of music.

Courtney Reed at 54 Below - Confessions of a Broadway Princess

 

You've seen her as Broadway's Princess Jasmine, you've seen her at 54 Below's Princess Parties.  Now catch Courtney Reed in her first ever solo concert at 54 Below!!

"Having spent the past five years creating the iconic role 'Princess Jasmine' in Seattle, Toronto, and on Broadway, Courtney is ready to share her own story in her first concert, Confessions of a Broadway Princess, with music director Benjamin Rauhala.  Audiences can expect songs and stories from throughout her theatrical career, as well as her favorite pop and theater songs as Courtney Reed steps off of the magic carpet to give you a glimpse of her life beyond the palace walls."

I really wish I could be there for this (I know I say that every time but it's true!)  Tickets are on sale now at 54 Below and I'm sure this will be a magical night for all involved.

Telly Leung Debuts as Broadway's New Aladdin!

Telly Leung as Aladdin, Photo by Matthew Murphy
It's finally time!  Tonight, Telly Leung will take his first bow as Broadway's new Aladdin!

It's been an interesting road to Agrabah for Aladdin's newest star.  First reported by Playbill back in January, Telly's casting wasn't officially confirmed by Disney Theatrical until May 5th.  Since original Aladdin, Adam Jacobs, departed to headline the national tour the title role has been played by both Joshua Dela Cruz and Jacob Dickey, and now it's Telly Leung's turn to make a wish, say a prayer and make the title role his own.

Speaking with ET Online on Friday, Telly showed that he already has a great grasp on the character and his emotional journey in the show saying "Aladdin has to learn that his own worth is not something that's material, it's not something that's outside of him, it's something that's inside of him ... Your worth is not the clothes you wear, your worth is not the big house you live in, or how much money you have in the bank.  It's something deeper than that"

I just want to wish Telly a fantastic opening night and a magical run in this incredible show.  Have fun and make some magic!

Monday, 5 June 2017

A New Dawn at London's Aladdin

Matthew Croke as Aladdin, Photo by Disney
On Saturday the original cast of London's Aladdin brought audiences to their feet one last time and even Abu the monkey got to make his West End debut as departing star Dean John-Wilson threw Aladdin's little buddy into the crowd of cheering fans before making his final bow.

Today its a whole new world at the Prince Edward theatre as a new cast begins granting wishes in the West End.

Speaking of wishes - leading the company will be Matthew Croke in the iconic title role of Aladdin and this really is a wish come true for our newest star!




Matthew Croke (Aladdin) with Trevor Dion Nicholas (Genie) in rehearsals, Photo by Johan Perrson

And did someone say promotion?  Leon Craig (original Standby Genie/Babkak), Miles Barrow and Daniel de Bourg (original ensemble) will be taking on the roles of Aladdin's trio of pals full time as Babkak, Omar and Kassim respectively.  I love to see hard work, dedication and talent rewarded so I'm really happy for these guys and excited to see what they bring to the trio next time I see the show.


Matthew Croke (Aladdin), Daniel de Bourg (Kassim), Leon Craig (Babkak) and Miles Barrow (Omar) in rehearsals, Photo by Johan Perrson

Completing new principal cast members is Nick Cavaliere, who will be taking over the role of Jafar's scheming henchman Iago.

Jade Ewen (Jasmine) with Don Gallagher (Jafar) and Nick Cavaliere (Iago) in rehearsals, Photo by Johan Perrson

And joining what is arguably the hardest working ensemble in the West End is Chanelle Anthony, Danny Becker, Cindy Belliot, Filippo Coffano, Nolan Edwards, Sinead Kenny, Travis Kerry, Dann Kharsa, Tarisha Rommick, Joshua Steel, Monica Swayne, Niko Wirachman and Damien Winchester.

Cindy Belliot in rehearsals, Photo by Johan Perrson
Sinead Kenny in rehearsals, Photo by Johan Perrson
Original ensemble member Oliver Lidert will now take on the Standby role for Genie, Babkak and Sultan.

I just want to say a massive congratulations to all the new and promoted cast members and to wish everyone, new cast and original cast alike, the very best for tonight's show.  I know it's going to be absolutely magical and I can't wait to get back to London and see you all on that stage!  Makes some magic!!

Matthew Croke and Jade Ewen as Aladdin and Jasmine, Photo by Disney

Friday, 2 June 2017

Salaam Worthy Friends! 15 Original Cast Take Final Bows at London's Aladdin

The cast of London's Aladdin, Photo by Johan Perrson
All good things must end and tomorrow night fifteen members of Aladdin's original London cast will be taking their final bow at the Prince Edward Theatre, including Aladdin himself, Dean John-Wilson.

Also departing are Aladdin's fantastic trio, Nathan Amzi, Stephen Rahman-Hughes and Rachid Sabitri, Peter Howe's villainous Iago and the insanely talented ensemble members Ivan de Freitas (Razoul), Seng Henk Goh, Michelle Chantelle Hopewell (Attendant/Fortune Teller), Ethan Le Phong, Thierry Picaut, Alex Pinder, Briony Scarlett, Katie Singh, Dawnita Smith and Marsha Songcome.

I just want to wish everyone all the best for tomorrow's final shows and whatever the future has in store.  I can't wait to see you all making magic one last time tomorrow afternoon.  Thanks for all the high adventures!

54 Below Celebrates the Citizens of Agrabah



Ok this is awesome!!!!

Tomorrow night cast members of Broadway's Aladdin will take part in an evening of cabaret at 54 Below with Brian Gonzales (Babkak) as Master of Ceremonies!

Featuring all your favourite sidekicks - Don Darryl Rivera (Iago), Steel Burkhardt (Kassim), Brad Weinstock (Omar) and Brian Gonzales - Aladdin's new Genie, Major Attaway, and Aladdin's incredible ensemble - Kathryn Terza, Alicia Charles, Tia Altinay, Daisy Hobbs, Lauryn Ciardullo, Kathryn Allison, Angelo Soriano, Jacob Dickey (currently starring as Aladdin), Damian Chambers, Trent Saunders, Deonte L. Warren, Nathan Lucrezio, Joshua Dela Cruz, Travis Ward-Osborne, David Gilleo, Stanley Martin, Tiffany Evariste and Amber Owens.

Every time I post about a 54 Below event I say I wish I could be there and boy do I ever mean that right now!  What a show this is going to be!!

I hope everyone taking part and everyone going has a great time!  Tickets are available now at 54 Below!

54 Below normally posts videos on YouTube a few weeks after the show so I can't wait to see all the performances from this one!!

Friday, 14 April 2017

From Making Magic to Making History


Here's wishing for a phenomenally cosmic first night for James Monroe Iglehart as he makes his debut in the sensation that is Hamilton tonight!

All the best James, you're gonna be incredible!


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Wish Granted! Aladdin's US Tour Premiere's Tonight!

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin

Make way here he comes!  Fresh from his incredible 3 year Broadway run Adam Jacobs is bringing Aladdin to life once more as Disney's Broadway sensation begins its first US Tour at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre tonight!

Joining Adam in bringing this classic tale to life are Isabelle McCalla as Jasmine, Anthony Murphy as Genie, Jonathan Weir and Reggie De Leon as the villainous Jafar and Iago, JC Montgomery as the Sultan and Zachary Bencal, Philippe Arroyo and Mike Longo as Aladdin's friends Babkak, Omar and Kassim.

You can't make the magic without a phenomenal ensemble and they are Mary Antonini, Michael Bullard, Michael Callahan, Bobby Daye, Lissa Deguzman, Matthew de Guzman, Olivia Donalson, Michael Everett, Karlee Ferreira, Michael Graceffa, Clinton Greenspan, Adrienne Howard, Albert Jennings, Kenway Hon Wai K. Kau, Jason MacDonald, Angelina Mullins, Celina Nightengale, Kameron Richardson, Jaz Sealey (from the original Broadway cast), Charles South, Manny Stark (another Aladdin Broadway alumni who played a fantastic Kassim when I saw the show in February), Annie Wallace and Michelle West.

Completing the cast are Ellis C. Dawson III, as standby Genie and Babkak, and Adam Stevenson, as standby Jafar and Sultan.

You can see the entire cast right here as Broadway in Chicago shared a special preview of the cast rehearsing for tonight's big debut!


And with tonight being the big debut, the cast, along with Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher and composer Alan Menken, have been meeting the local press ahead of their premiere, speaking with the Daily Herald, Chicago Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune (the last is an especially touching piece as Alan Menken reflects on his life's work and the influence of Howard Ashman).

After tonight's bow, Aladdin will play through to September 10th in Chicago (a run that's already been extended due to demand), then the magic carpet will travel to Minneapolis' Orheum Theatre from September 15th through to October 8th before returning to the show's birth city of Seattle from October 12th through October 29th with more tour dates still to come.

But that's the future.  For tonight I just want to wish the very best of luck to all of the incredible cast, crew and creative team who are about to bring this show to life.  You've worked hard to get this moment, now enjoy it, you've earned every success.  Make some magic everyone!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Aladdin Celebrates 3 Years on Broadway!



Three years already?! And what an amazing three years they've been!

Keep making magic everyone and thanks for all the wishes!


Sunday, 19 March 2017

One Last Chance to See Two Broadway Originals

Brandon O'Neill as Kassim with Jonathan Schwartz, Brian Gonzales and the cast of Aladdin

Once a citizen of Agrabah, always a citizen of Agrabah!

There's been a lot of comings and goings recently at New York's New Amsterdam Theatre, with Adam Jacobs and James Monroe Iglehart leaving and Joshua Dela Cruz and Major Attaway stepping up to lead the show.  Sometimes illness or injury can leave the cast a little short handed - last year I saw Michael Mindlin really step up and do double duty, playing both Omar and his ensemble role in the same show!  And that's what's happened recently, with Steel Burkhardt currently out of the show due to an injury and his understudy Manny Stark (who was a fantastic Kassim when I saw the show last month) leaving to do the tour, Brandon O'Neill returned last week to step in!  Yes, the ORIGINAL KASSIM is back!!


How awesome is that!!

Brandon's been back in the show these last two weeks and you can catch him having one last High Adventure today!

And he's not the only!

I just watched @jamesmiglehart do "Friendlike Me," at @aladdin the musical on Broadway.... am I dreaming??
— Courtney Reed (@RhodesReed) March 18, 2017

Yes, for this weekend only James is back!!

I guess this proves you can never be sure that it's a "final" performance as you just never know when someone's going to come home to Agrabah!  This just makes me even more hopeful that one day the band will all get back together to do a live recording like the awesome one they did for Newsies last year.

For now you can catch Brandon and James one more time at today's show!  So if you're in NYC you know where you need to be!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

There's a New Genie in Town!

Major Attaway as Genie, Photo by Matthew Murphy

It's the dawn of a new era at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre.  Tonight Major Attaway takes over as Aladdin's new Genie!

I just want to wish Major the very best of luck for tonight and for a long and successful run.  The lamp is yours now, enjoy the ride and make some magic!  You're gonna do great!