BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Sugababe Jade Ewen is on the Aladdin wish list to play Princess Jasmine in new Disney stage show
By Baz Bamigboye for the Daily Mail
Published: 19:12 EST, 29 October 2015 | Updated: 21:07 EST, 29 October 2015
Whole new world: Jade Ewen is in early negotiations to play Princess Jasmine in the Disney musical Aladdin
It's going to be a whole new world for former Sugababes singer Jade Ewen and West End actor Dean John-Wilson.
The pair are in early negotiations to play the lead roles in the Disney musical Aladdin.
If cast, they will feature in one of the musical’s most exciting scenes: singing the annoyingly addictive A Whole New World as they fly across the stage on a magic carpet (conjured up by designer Bob Crowley, illusion creator Jim Steinmeyer and special effects guru Jeremy Chernick).
Provided that terms are agreed, Ms Ewen — who is scorching as wannabe hair stylist Vanessa in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hot salsa musical In The Heights at the King’s Cross Theatre — will play Princess Jasmine, who becomes entangled with the seemingly unsuitable street hunk Aladdin.
And should the early talks progress, John-Wilson (right) will play the eponymous hero.
Trevor Dion Nicholas, who is in the Broadway production, has been cast as Genie by Disney theatre chief Thomas Schumacher and Aladdin director Casey Nicholaw.
Genie was the role that Robin Williams gave voice to in the hugely successful 1992 animated movie.
A spokesman for the show said he was unable to confirm whether Ewen and John-Wilson were in discussions.
‘Deals aren’t done and we won’t be announcing the full cast for some time,’ the spokesman added.
I’m guessing a lamp will be rubbed and names will emerge, amid puffs of smoke, around November 23, when tickets go on general sale (though you can buy seats now if you sign up for priority booking at aladdinthemusical.co.uk).
John-Wilson, a star in the making, played Benigno Aquino in the brilliant David Byrne and Fatboy Slim musical Here Lies Love, which opened the new Dorfman space at the National Theatre last autumn.
And Ewen is Disney family . . . sort of. When she was still a student at the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London’s Marylebone, she won the role of the young Nala in The Lion King.
Aladdin will begin performances at the Prince Edward on May 27, with an official first night on June 9.
Disney hero: Should the early talks progress, Dean John-Wilson (pictured with Cynthia Erivo at the Kinky Boots after party in September) will take the title role of Aladdin
Saints and sinners get tap happy
Sophie Thompson is kicking up her heels: showing off her canary yellow dance shoes and doing something with a hoe.
The actress has been rehearsing scenes from the great Broadway musical Guys And Dolls — the show created by Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, based on Damon Runyon’s tales about big-hearted gangsters, wise-cracking dames and saintly Salvation Army types.
Thompson and the rest of the troupe are hitting the road from November 10, playing the Palace Theatre in Manchester, followed by a stint at the New Alexandra in Birmingham from November 24, before rolling into the Savoy for a 13-week West End run from December 10.
Sophie Thompson (centre) is kicking up her heels, showing off her canary yellow dance shoes and doing something with a hoe in the musical Guys and Dolls
Thompson plays Miss Adelaide, the showgirl who develops a cold because her beloved, Nathan Detroit (David Haig), won’t commit.
Heck! I thought they got married when they did Four Weddings And A Funeral, 20 years ago. Thompson laughs and winks. All’s well that ends well. And, of course, it does. ‘Miss Adelaide’s such a joyful character to play — she’s like a heart on legs,’ she jokes.
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And those legs know how to move. Choreographers Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright have been ensuring Thompson, Jamie Parker (as Sky Masterson) and Siubhan Harrison (Sarah Brown) plus a crack ensemble can dance the day and night away.
Haig points out that Nathan, who knows how to roll a dice, ‘hardly sings and hardly dances, but carries the plot’. The actor was last in a musical a decade ago, in Mary Poppins.
Director Gordon Greenberg says that the show embodies the goodwill and optimism of post-war America; a golden era for classic musicals.
I must have seen it two dozen times, from Broadway to the National to the West End to Chichester and back again, yet I never tire of it.
Greenberg (who also directed the production at the Chichester Festival Theatre last year) believes its success is not simply down to its fabulous score. ‘It hits on unexpected contours of human personality.’
I just love watching those sinners trying to do a little bit of good, to help Sky Masterson hook up with Sarah Brown of the Save-A-Soul Mission.
It seemed appropriate that Harrison’s great-grandmother, Ethel, was in the Salvation Army.
‘My dad gave me a picture of Great Granny Ethel in a bonnet. There was a long line of religion in my family,’ she said.
And now she’s surrounded by sinners in tap shoes.
Tom Taylor is cast as Hardy’s son in an eight-part TV drama called Taboo
Taylor-made for success
Tom Taylor is hard to pick out in a crowd because you don’t expect him to be fair-haired.
I walk right past the 14-year-old and his mother, Amy, at the Savoy.
He explains that when he appeared in hit BBC drama Doctor Foster, and as the young Uhtred in The Last Kingdom, the film-makers opted to change his natural blond, spiky hair.
Whatever his hair colour, the camera likes Taylor. And so does Tom Hardy.
Taylor is cast as Hardy’s son in an eight-part TV drama called Taboo. It’s about a soldier cashiered from the Army, and will also star Jessie Buckley.
U.S. casting directors like him, too, because he has an adaptable face and, more important, talent.
Plus, he’s a real lad — a live-wire who likes joking and playing with his siblings.
I’m looking forward to seeing the two Toms on the small screen soon.
After that, Taylor will surely progress to some big screen work — and another hairstyle.
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