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!

Trevor Dion Nicholas & Gregg Barnes Win What's On Stage Awards for London's Aladdin!

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

There was a party in Agrabah this weekend as the West End production of Disney's Aladdin celebrated not one but two What's On Stage Award wins!

First Gregg Barnes took home the award for Best Costume Design for his beautiful work.  I still think it's a crime that he wasn't nominated for the Tony Award back in 2014, his work on this show is simply exquisite, every piece is unique and the colours just breathe so much life onto the stage, so I'm delighted to see his work rewarded here.


Then, in what will hopefully be the first of many awards this season, Trevor Dion Nicholas was awarded Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his show stopping portrayal of Genie!  If you've seen the man live then you know that there's just no words to express how well deserved this award is.  Trevor is a star in every sense of the word and his energy and joy lift everyone in the theatre whenever he is on stage.


Massive congratulations to you both!  What a fantastic start to the awards season, here's wishing for many more to come!

Monday, 20 February 2017

"I Just Love a Happy Ending"

James Monroe Iglehart & Adam Jacobs as Genie & Aladdin, Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

It's been an emotional month at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre.  Adam Jacobs took his final bow as Broadway's original Aladdin on February 12th and yesterday James Monroe Iglehart granted his final wish as he concluded his Tony Award winning run as Genie.

I'll be honest, it's a day I always knew would come but hoped never would.  If I could have frozen the show in time with its phenomenal cast I would have (and if Disney Theatrical could get these guys back for a live recording like they just did with Newsies I would literally cry with joy).  But part of the magic of live theatre is that it is fleeting, it exists only for a moment and is constantly evolving as actors find new nuances in the characters they play and new actors take on the roles.  Adam and James originated these roles, they took words on a page and, with the support of their cast mates and an incredible creative team, turned them into something truly magical.  Now Adam gets to share that magic with the whole country on tour and James begins new journey at Hamilton where new challenges and opportunities await.  And at the New Amsterdam Major Attaway and Joshua Dela Cruz now have their chance to show audiences their versions of these beloved characters and make their own magic

I feel blessed to have seen the show on Broadway every year since it opened.  Being in the audience for Adam's final show is something I can't adequately put into words.  It felt like the end of a journey.  From Seattle to Toronto to Broadway, this has been an amazing journey for both men.  The crowd erupted with cheers as James urged them to "Give it up for Mr. Jacobs!" during Friend Like Me's tap dance and I had tears in my eyes at the end of the number when he turned to Adam and said "One last time buddy, let's take it home".  How Courtney held it together during that final magic carpet ride I have no idea, but the tears were flowing (hers and mine) as Aladdin and Genie and Adam and James said goodbye to each other on stage.  "Genie, I'm gonna miss you" and "You'll always be a prince to me" have never carried as much emotion as they did that evening.  It was a magical, emotional experience that I'll never forget and always treasure.

To have followed the journey of this show and these amazing actors has been an honour and a privilege, but more than anything else it's been a joy.  Every time I've seen the show I've felt that infectious joy radiate from the stage and life the spirits of the audience.  Every article, interview or tweet I've read from other fans about how Adam and James (and their fantastic co-stars) have inspired them to chase their own dreams.  That's the real magic.  I am so grateful to you both for sharing that with the world.

I just want to wish you both the very best for the future and whatever life may hold in store.  Thank you, for everything.  I know this show is going to run for years to come.  I'm going to see dozens of incredibly talented actors take on these roles and make them their own.  I already have.  But, no matter what happens, you guys will always be Al and Genie to me.



Saturday, 28 January 2017

James Monroe Iglehart in Concert


Fresh off his sold out solo concerts at 54 Below and in the final weeks of his Tony Award winning run as Aladdin's Genie, James Monroe Iglehart is performing in concert tonight at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in two solo shows!

You can still get tickets so if you're in the New York/New Jersey area today you don't want to miss this!  It's sure to be an incredible night of music and laughter.  You've never had a friend like him!

The Lamp is Passed on The View!

James Monroe Iglehart and Whoopi Goldberg as Genie!

Last week saw an extra special guest pay a surprise visit to Aladdin as Whoopi Goldberg took to the stage as Genie!

This week that magical moment was shared with the world as The View took viewers behind the scenes at the New Amsterdam Theatre to see how the magic was made.  Then The View played host to two extra special guests as James Monroe Iglehart and Major Attaway dropped by to discuss the passing of the magic lamp!

You can see the whole thing right here;



Watch that I just have to say Major's mom is the best!  That jumper was fantastic!

Whilst preparing for her Aladdin debut, Whoopi and James took a little time to discuss the role with Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher;


I just love what he says about getting the audience to cheer for freedom and how powerful that is.

And with an extra special performance the lamp is passed;



I've been lucky enough to see both James and Major play the Genie on Broadway and I can safely say that Aladdin has got a fantastic new Genie in Major and James is certainly going to bring some magic to Hamilton!

You can still catch James Monroe Iglehart as Genie until 19th February, then from 21st February Major Attaway will be making the magic.  James will make his Hamilton debut in April.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Major Attaway is Broadway's New Genie!

Major Attaway as Genie, Photo by Disney Theatrical
There's a new Genie in town!  On February 21st Major Attaway will take over the most magical role on Broadway as Aladdin's Genie!  Major is no stranger to the role, having been Stand By Genie for the last year, and now his wish is granted as he takes on the role full-time!

He's got a big magic lamp to fill but I'm sure Major will make the role his own and give audiences all the magic they could possible wish for.  He sure did when I was fortunate enough to see him last year!

Congratulations Major, I wish you all the best for a long and magical run!

And here's wishing a warm Agrabah welcome to Deonte L. Warren to joins the cast as the new Stand By Genie and Babkak!

James Monroe Iglehart Prepares to Grant His Final Wish

James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Photo by Disney Theatrical

I don't know why but I never thought this day would come, or maybe I just wished it wouldn't.  Disney Theatrical announced this morning that James Monroe Iglehart, who's brought the Genie to magical life since the first Seattle try out, will grant his final wish on Sunday February 19th.

So what's next for Broadway's most beloved wish granter?  Hamilton!  Yep, you'll need a real Genie to stand a chance of getting tickets to see him now!  James will take on the dual role of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in April (date to be confirmed) in Broadway's sold out smash hit!

But for the next month you can still catch him making magic and bring audiences to their feet in Agrabah and I would urge you to do just that.  No one makes magic quite like James Monroe Iglehart!

With both James and Adam leaving the show (or at least the Broadway production in Adam's case) it feels a bit like the end of The Return of the King and the breaking of the Fellowship.  Ok, that's probably a bit overly dramatic (unless Disney Theatrical have any more surprise announcements up their sleeve we still have original principals Courtney, Don Darryl, Jonathan and Brian from the Seattle production and Clifton who's been with the show since Toronto) but it really does feel like this is the end of an era in many ways.

James, I wish you all the best for Hamilton and can't wait to see you bring the house down in your final weeks in Agrabah!


Sunday, 15 January 2017

Adam Jacobs Taking a Magic Carpet Ride Across America

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, Photo by Disney Theatrical

Adam Jacobs may be leaving Broadway but he's not ready to hang up his fez and vest just yet as Disney Theatrical announced on Friday that Adam will star in the first National Tour of Aladdin!

Gotta admit, after Playbill announced that Adam was leaving the Broadway production earlier this week I'm overjoyed to learn that he's going to be starring in the tour this April!  This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who couldn't make it to New York to see the original Aladdin live on stage.  You're all in for a magical show, Adam simply is Aladdin.

You can still catch Adam in the Broadway production of Aladdin through to February 12th at the New Amsterdam Theatre (and you better believe I'm looking at flight costs right now!).  The National Tour kicks off in Chicago on April 11th at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.  Tickets for both are available now at www.aladdinthemusical.com


Thursday, 12 January 2017

Telly Leung to be Broadway's Aladdin!


Well it looks like the Genie's out of the lamp on this one!  On 11th January Playbill reported that Telly Leung will be replacing Adam Jacobs as the title star of Disney's Aladdin!

Whilst Disney Theatrical have not yet confirmed Playbill's story (and if past experience is anything to go by they likely won't until the day of the cast change) some of the show's cast have already taken to social media to welcome Telly to the show so it's safe to say that he will be our next Aladdin!

No date has been announced for Telly's debut or Adam's final show but expect both some time next month when the casts' current contracts end.

Welcome to Agrabah Telly!  I wish you a magical run with the show!