A backstage pass to Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway

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The cast of Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway recently took to Reddit for an AMA (ask me anything) session. Adam Jacobs (Aladdin), James Monroe Iglehart (Genie), and Jonathan Freeman (Jafar) responded to fans questions. The whole interview is worth reading, but here are some of the highlights:

When was the last time they let their heart decide? James responded with a story from his recent trip to Walt Disney World:

I let my heart decide whether to go on Space Mountain or the new Seven Dwarves Mine Ride and Fantasy Land? I went on Seven Dwarves, because that was the coolest roller coaster I’ve been on in a LONG time. It shouldn’t be cool, and you expect because it’s Snow White it’ll be all kiddie and stuff, and the minute you go down, it’s not a regular thing – it was a good hard decision.

Where James’ take on The Genie comes from:

the AMAZING, Late Great Howard Ashman – he is the mind, the brain, behind Aladdin, the idea of it to be a Disney film. His original idea for the Genie was to be more like Cab Calloway and Fats Waller – and so because I’m such a huge fan of Robin Williams, and he’s such a legend, I didn’t want to touch his material. No one can be Robin. Only Robin. So when they told me about Howard’s original idea, I didn’t feel so afraid to make it my own, because that world – Cab Calloway, Fats Waller – that swing music – I know that world. And also, our wonderful director Casey Nicholaw, he told me to find my own Genie. So I started doing all the silly things I think are funny. What you see onstage is me with the volume onstage turned up to about 30. So I got to be as silly as I want to be, while still paying homage to the film. I saw the film when I was 17, in 1992, and i’m a HUGE fan, so I wanted to give play to that.

Jonathan Freeman (who also voiced Jafar in the movie) on stealing form the movie for Jafar:

Good point. I do try to steal a little bit of Jafar’s physicality from the film, since i’m not that much like him physically, I do try to steal what I can – because I think that was really a huge part of it.

I can’t get enough of Disney’s Aladdin. I hope to get up to NYC soon to take in a show for myself. But in the meantime, I’m happy that ABC7 in NYC has shared this backstage look at the musical.

Reactions from the world of Disney to Death of Disney Legend Robin Williams

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Reactions to the death of comic genius Robin Williams are coming in from across the entertainment industry and around the globe. Although Williams had a hot and cold relationship with The Walt Disney Company, there is no denying his influence and role in the success of the studio.

Chair and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Robert Iger on the passing of Disney Legend Robin Williams:

“We’re deeply saddened by the loss of Robin Williams, a wonderfully gifted man who touched our hearts and never failed to make us laugh.

An incredible actor and a comedic genius, Robin will always be remembered for bringing some of the world’s favorite characters to life, from his zany alien on ABC’s Mork & Mindy to the irascible genie in Disney’s Aladdin.

He was a true Disney Legend, a beloved member of our family, and he will be sorely missed.

We join Robin’s friends and fans everywhere in mourning, and offer our thoughts and condolences to his family during this difficult time.”

As mentioned in my brief summary of his career, Williams was made a Disney Legend in 2009. I want to use this post to collect reactions from around the Disney world to his much too early passing.

The Disney Theatrical Broadway production of Aladdin tweeted:

and current Broadway incarnation of The Genie, James M. Iglehart, said

Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy said: