Disney’s Aladdin, the musical, is currently at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Performances run until July 1, and I highly recommend that you go. I went to a performance last night and the nearly sold-out crowd ate it up from beginning to end. Having watched a clip of this show from the Tony Awards a few years back, I knew that the Genie was going to be the star of the show and he was. Michael James Scott, who plays the role of the Genie and was the understudy for the Genie during the original Broadway run, is fantastic. Just watch him sing and dance to “Friend Like Me” and you’ll be blown away by his stamina and unending charisma. He’s the heart and soul of the show and made it a blast to watch.
A couple days ago I saw my favorite musical, Beauty and the Beast, for the fourth time. The first time was on Broadway in 1999, the second was at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, followed by a production at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia several years later. This time, once again, I returned to the Academy of Music. As expected, it was as brilliant and spine-chillingly good as the previous three times I’ve seen it. But let me take a minute to explain why I love this musical so much.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with the incredibly talented Johnny Colla of Huey Lewis & The News. Our conversation covered his entire career, including his early days playing with Jack Blades in Rubicon to his time playing with Van Morrison and Sly and the Family Stone. And of course, we discussed his influential role as a founding member of Huey Lewis & The News, a band that has been making great music for nearly 40 years.