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amBroadway: Disney Plus expected to stream stage version of ‘Aladdin,’ Alan Menken gets EGOT and more

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Disney expected to stream stage version of ‘Aladdin’

As a follow up to the smash success of the filmed version of “Hamilton,” Disney Plus is expected to next make the stage adaptation of “Aladdin” available on the streaming channel in the coming months. According to industry reports, Disney filmed “Aladdin” in London (where it is considerably less expensive to film live theater) last year. (Disney previously filmed the stage version of “Newsies,” which is already available on Disney Plus.) Prior to the shutdown, Disney had three shows running on Broadway: “The Lion King,” “Aladdin” and “Frozen.” It has since confirmed that “Frozen” will not reopen on Broadway following the shutdown. 

Menken achieves EGOT status

The prolific composer Alan Menken, who wrote the music of “Little Shop of Horrors” and most of the films comprising the 1990s Disney animated musical renaissance (including “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast”), achieved the rare and coveted status of an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner) on Sunday when he won a Daytime Emmy for a song he wrote for “Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure” on the Disney Channel. Eight years ago, he won his first Tony Award for the stage adaptation of “Newsies” (which combined new songs with songs from the original 1992 film). Menken’s body of work will be celebrated on Aug. 6 in “An Evening with Alan Menken,” an online fundraiser for the Walt Disney Family Museum. 

Actors’ Equity advocates for passage of HEROES Act

Actors’ Equity Association, the national union representing professional stage actors and stage managers, is continuing to advocate on behalf of its members (virtually all of whom are currently unemployed) for the U.S. Senate to approve the HEROES Act, which would continue to provide the unemployed with an additional $600 a week in assistance funds. “Equity members want to go back to work but the industry has been shut down since March because in most states, it is still not safe for mass gatherings…The artists who fuel our gigantic, nationwide economic engine have gone months without work and the weekly $600 included in the CARES Act is all that is keeping workers afloat as they stare down an uncertain future,” Equity president Kate Shindle said in a statement. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber presents social-distancing concert, presses for theaters at full capacity

In an attempt to prove that professional theater cannot operate under stringent social distancing regulations, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber hosted a socially-distanced concert by singer Beverly Knight last week at London’s Palladium, one of several theaters that he owns. Since the concert, Lloyd Webber and mega-producer Cameron Macintosh have called on the British government to begin the process of allowing theaters to reopen at full audience capacity. (By comparison, Broadway theaters owners and producers have not taken such a forceful stance in seeking governmental permission to reopen at either limited or full capacity seating.) Macintosh also announced that due to the costs of the shutdown, the original London production of “The Phantom of the Opera” has shuttered for good.

This week’s streaming recommendations:

  1. Liberty or Just Us: A City Park Story (Theater for the New City’s 2020 street theater tour paying tribute to outdoor city spaces shifts online), beginning Sat. Aug. 1, theaterforthenewcity.net.
  2. Stick Fly (reading of Lydia R. Diamond’s family drama, which played Broadway in 2011, with a cast including Daniel J. Watts and Jelani Alladin), Sat. Aug. 1 at 2 p.m., starsinthehouse.com.
  3. HAM4CHANGE (first of three virtual fundraisers organized by original cast members of “Hamilton”), Sat. Aug. 1 at 1 p.m.

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