Aladdin is the latest Disney animated musical to get a stage version [hat tip]. It just opened in Seattle. Testing the waters sands for a Broadway run? We'd love to hear opinions from any Seattle TFE readers who see it. (This is the sort of reason we wish we had a huge operating budget here at TFE. Imagine the sudden coverage of such things.)
That's Aladdin (Adam Jacobs) and Jasmine (Courtney Reed) in rehearsal and in previous shows. The royal couple get one original song in addition to the big famous ballad "A Whole New World". After the jump Anything Goes and two Aladdin-centric videos. One, is a history of stage and screen versions of this Arabian Night's Tale and the other is a fleshy festive Fourth of July video with the cast in a Seattle park. I guess sex sells... even when it comes to Disney musicals!
My favorite moment in the animated film is that very brief tuneful bit wherein Aladdin gets his 'I Want' moment. Instead of it being a big belting showstopper it's like a quietly self-reverent affirmation.
They'd find out, there's so much more to me.
That moment played on loop in my head so much in the early 90s; it's such an earworm. What's your favorite part of Disney's Aladdin?
Meanwhile here in New York City I finally got a chance to take in Sutton Foster's second Tony Winning performance in Cole Porter's classic "Anything Goes". Y'all know I love Sutton Foster -- happiness bottled in human form -- but to make the moment even sweeter I went with my bestie because we had a history with the show. Back in college in the 90s, he played one of the sailors and he told us which number to keep an eye on him during as he was going to really sell the last bit of the number. When the time came he did a head snap so enthusiastically that his sailor cap flew off. Any repetition of the move with accompanying dance gesture at any party thereafter brought a huge laugh. Good times.
Incidentally during intermission he reminded me that Broadway star Will Swenson who I've written about a couple of times here, was in the show with him at BYU. I'd totally forgotten that. But I digress.
If you're travelling to New York City or if you live here, you really should see the show. It's especially recommendable if you like the old classics -- the ones with corny humor (Joel Grey really hams it up) but thrilling song scores. When the Anything Goes revival was first announced there were concerns that Sutton Foster was miscast -- the part of conwoman preacher entertainer "Reno Sweeney" is usually played by someone brassier and older (Patty LuPone recently and Ethel Merman way back when) -- but Sutton is perfection. The weirdest thing about Anything Goes song score structure is that it peaks so insanely in the intermission bookends (first act closer "Anything Goes" and second act opener "Blow Gabriel Blow") that the rest of the show is almost only buildup and come down but those two numbers are so spectacular and Sutton sells them with her always effortless charm, physically gifted comedy and true triple threat skill. A lot of headlining theater stars have remarkable voices but few of them can dance as well as any chorus member. No choreographer has ever had to "work around" Sutton's limitations as a performer; she doesn't appear to have any.
If you don't love Sutton, you must start now. Here's just two examples of her awesomeness.
Her Tony winning debut in the Julie Andrew roles of Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Until Anything Goes (which is still "setlling" in my head) this was my all time favorite Sutton number. The Drowsy Chaperone is still the best show she's ever done. (She does too many movie-to-stage adaptations: Young Frankenstein, Millie, Little Women, Shrek)
Despite its classic status as a stage musical Anything Goes has never had a definitive film version. It was adapted in 1936 with Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman. Another version, also with Bing Crosby in 1956 is apparently nothing like the stage musical apart from one or two songs and the ocean liner setting (and why jettison a Cole Porter score?! Madness). While the humor is old fashioned there's no reason why this couldn't make a great screen musical with a certain winking retro flair. Since it takes place on a cruise ship you don't even have to "open" it up from stage to screen. You've got greatly cinematic views by its very nature. Plus the characters are very familiar screen types: gangsters, scheming women, aristocrats. I'd love to see this onscreen. Or maybe I'm just hoping that eventually Sutton Foster will be more available to the masses.