As Disney Broadway Hits makes its way around the world, the world premiere hit the stage of the famed Royal Albert Hall and we were lucky enough to be a part of the magic.
Hosted by fan-favourite John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Arrow, Live & Kicking back in the Nineties, just everything, basically), who is essentially the true image of a Disney Prince, the audience were greeted by the dulcet tones of Alton Fitzgerald White (best known as Mufasa in The Lion King) crooning Lumiere’s famous ‘Be Our Guest’ from Beauty And The Beast. There’s no better way to open a show filled with the most famous musicals of all time, and some of those lesser known to the audience as well.
Other performers included Ashley Brown (the original Broadway Mary Poppins), who belted note-perfect versions of ‘Part Of Your World’ and had a Mary-Off with the West End nanny, Scarlett Strallen. Merle Dandridge (who has starred in Aida and Tarzan along with many other Broadway shows including Rent) gave a stunning performance of ‘Shadowland’ from The Lion King. The final performer was original Tarzan Josh Strickland gave a humorous take on ‘My Strongest Suit’ from Aida, a strong traditionally sung by a woman. Of course, Barrowman also lent his windpipes to a couple of numbers including singing ‘Out There’ from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
They also ran through songs from the lesser known King David and (now a cult hit) Newsies, rounding out the first act with a preview of ‘Let It Go’ from the upcoming Frozen (due to hit Broadway at the end of 2017) and closing the show with introducing the cast of the latest Disney animation to be given the Broadway treatment, Aladdin. Jade Ewan (Jasmine) and Dean John-Wilson (Aladdin) pleased the audiences with ‘A Whole New World’ before Trevor Dion Nicholas (who makes his West End debut as the Genie) closed the show with ‘Friend Like Me’ in a performance that Robin Williams would no doubt be touched by. It seemed a fitting tribute, and a dazzling performance.
What was most exciting, however, was a visit from Academy-Award winning Alan Menken – the man behind so many of Disney’s finest songs including some of the biggest animated outings from the House of Mouse. He gave a touching performance of a song from Aladdin that had been lost during the making of the film, ‘Proud Of Your Boy’. It is safe to say that he was given a standing ovation for about five minutes once he was done. It was a true treat.
There is no better venue to witness the magic of Disney than the Royal Albert Hall.
For more information on their upcoming events, head over to their website: www.royalalberthall.com