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Audience of Broadway's 'Aladdin' salutes Robin Williams with a singalong

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Broadway lights will dim on Aug. 13 in memory of Robin Williams—who tread the boards multiple times during his illustrious career—but one show in particular owed much more to the late comic icon.

Disney’s Aladdin has been entertaining audiences on Broadway since February, but the Aug. 12 performance ended on a slightly different note when the entire audience joined in a singalong of “Friend Like Me,” the showstopping number sung by the Genie, Williams’ beloved role in the 1992 film.

Led by James Monroe Iglehart (who earned a Tony Award for his portrayal of the Genie), the Broadway company of Aladdin encouraged the audience to pay tribute to Williams by joyously singing to the rafters. It was a surprisingly touching moment, and certainly a gleeful way to honor Williams’ Aladdin legacy. Watch it below:

Broadway's Aladdin and Jasmine face off with Disney trivia

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2014 marks the 20th anniversary of Disney Theatrical Productions—so Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed, better known as the two stars of Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway, took time off from their magic carpet jaunts to drop by EW’s video studio and talk all things Disney.

EW decided to pit Aladdin against Jasmine as we tested the princely pair’s knowledge of the Mouse House’s stage hits, from 1994’s Beauty and the Beast to 2012’s Newsies and beyond. Both Jacobs and Reed have an exceptional amount of Disney trivia stored up there.

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Tony Awards: See every musical performance

There’s plenty of Tony Awards coverage to go around—you can peruse through EW’s list of the best and worst moments, or re-live Sunday’s ceremony through our live blog—but, let’s be real. Everyone just wants to see the performances.

Worry no more. Here are all of this year’s musical performances from the 68th Tony Awards.

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Inside the 2014 Tony Nominees: Best Musical

As we look ahead to the Tony Awards on Sunday, June 8, EW takes a closer look at this season’s nominated selection of new musicals, plays, and revivals, all of which will be competing for Broadway’s highest honor. Today, we dive into this year’s nominees for Best Musical.

After Midnight 

Opened: Nov. 3, 2013
Starring: Adriane Lenox, Dulé Hill, and a rotating list of celebrity guest stars including Fantasia Barrino, Gladys Knight, and Patti LaBelle
Concept by: Jack Viertel
Directed and Choreographed by: Warren Carlyle
Synopsis: Celebrating Duke Ellington’s years at the Cotton Club, After Midnight is a sexy and smoky musical revue of the Jazz Age. With original arrangements of Ellington classics and Langston Hughes’ poetry, After Midnight features 25 dancers and singers and a 17-piece big band picked by jazz legend Wynton Marsalis.
EW review: “But for the most part, After Midnight is a show that’s as light on its feet as its very talented ensemble. Be sure to hang around after the curtain call for Ellington’s ‘Rockin’ in Rhythm,’ a kind of it-ain’t-overture by Marsalis’ incomparable orchestra that is sure to put a spring in your step for days to come.”  A- –Thom Geier
Listen to this: “Women Be Wise”
Nominations: 7 — Best Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Adriane Lenox), Best Costume Design of a Musical (Isabel Toledo), Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Howell Binkley), Best Sound Design of a Musical (Peter Hylenski), Best Direction of a Musical (Warren Carlyle), and Best Choreography (Warren Carlyle)
Fun Fact: After Midnight was first performed as part of New York City Center’s Encores! program under the title Cotton Club Parade in 2011 and 2012.
Odds of Winning: A long shot for the gold.
Fantasia Barrino on her affinity for jazz“Jazz music is a different language — it’s not the same as R&B, it’s not the same as most music that a lot of us listen to, especially our young people, but I feel like it’s what people need to see because it’s where it all started. It’s so elegant, it’s so classy, it’s so sexy, and most of all, it stands for those people who came before us and who went through so much. Music was their way of feeling like they could make it through.”
Warren Carlyle on what attracted him to the show: “It’s been an amazing journey. I started working on it about 4 years ago. It’s been an amazing journey of development. I took the job, I wanted to do it because of the music, the music is really what attracted me. I don’t know, I love this music. It’s incredible. It’s a giant Broadway musical. All the story is told through music and dance. There’s a little bit of poetry that weaves it together but it’s sort of a wild artistic adventure.”

NEXT: Aladdin 

Broadway box office: 'Aladdin,' 'Raisin,' and 'Beautiful' are the season's hottest pre-Tony tickets

As we sneak up on this Sunday’s Tony Awards, the Broadway season’s box office winners are quickly emerging. And the biggest new hit appears to be on a magic carpet ride. For the week ending June 1, Disney’s Aladdin led new shows with nearly $1.2 million in ticket sales, according to figures from the Broadway League. The animated-film-based tuner is playing to full houses and nearly 88 percent of its potential gross in the cavernous 1,723-seat New Amsterdam Theatre. Right behind Aladdin, though, is a rare non-musical blockbuster: the Denzel Washington-led revival of A Raisin in the Sun, which soaked up $1.19 million last week (thanks in part to premium tickets selling for as much as $348). READ FULL STORY

'Aladdin' cast album: Listen to two tracks from the Broadway musical -- EXCLUSIVE

Given the SRO crowds that have swarmed Disney’s gorgeous New Amsterdam Theatre since Aladdin‘s Broadway bow in February, it seems a “whole new world” (forgive the pun) has opened up for the beloved 1992 movie’s appeal. One of the most beloved of Disney’s untouchable streak of films in the early 1990s, Aladdin boasts an incredibly memorable score by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. EW has landed two early tracks from the upcoming Broadway cast album (which will drop digitally on May 27, and will be available in physical form on June 17). The show, nominated for five Tonys, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book (crafted by Chad Beguelin), has carried on the 2013 Pippin tradition of stopping the production with a mid-show standing ovation — in this case, for the rollicking Genie number “Friend Like Me,” essayed with an insane amount of showstopping brio by Tony nominee James Monroe Iglehart. READ FULL STORY

Chris O'Dowd, Audra McDonald and more Tony nominees share weird warm-ups, campaign slogans -- VIDEO

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The month of campaigning for the 2014 Tony Awards is well underway, and that’s why you’ll see this year’s crop of nominees—from Bryan Cranston and Chris O’Dowd, to Audra McDonald and Idina Menzel—popping up all over the place as they remind you just why they all deserve to take home Broadway’s top honor this year at the Hugh Jackman-hosted ceremony on June 8.

The day after the nominations were announced, EW sat down with a slew of this year’s nominated performers (some first-timers, some veterans, all excited) to chat about their quirky backstage rituals necessary for warming up for the show. And since this is awards season after all, we also asked them to come up with a campaign tagline that sums up their Tony race.

Check back at EW.com all month long for a deeper dive into this year’s nominees, as well as interviews and analysis from our stage team. Let the Tony race commence! READ FULL STORY

Broadway box office: Denzel Washington's 'Raisin in the Sun' is season's biggest hit

There are no dreams deferred for the producers of the Denzel Washington-led revival of A Raisin in the Sun. In its first full week since its April 3 opening, director Kenny Leon’s well-reviewed revival earned a remarkable $1.18 million, according to figures from the Broadway League covering ticket sales for the week ending April 13. That makes it the fifth highest-grossing show of the week and the only non-musical to cross the seven-figure threshold. And thanks to premium ticket prices as high as $348, Raisin actually exceeded the estimated gross potential of the Ethel Barrymore Theatre by 16 percent. READ FULL STORY

'Aladdin': The original Jafar talks musicals, hanging with Ursula, and the 'brutal' scene you didn’t see

Last month, an incredible story hit the web about a young autistic child who was able to connect with his father because of a shared bond over Disney movies. The story went viral, but there was someone behind the scenes who is perhaps the reason it was ever written in the first place—Jonathan Freeman, a celebrated member of the Disney family who met the father and son after a performance in Broadway’s Mary Poppins.

While chatting with EW about his role in Disney’s latest Broadway outing Aladdin (in which he’ll reprise his original voice part as the villainous vizier Jafar), the story of Owen and Ron Suskind was just one delightful anecdote that Freeman offered when it comes to his Disney roots. And in fact, the veteran stage actor has kept his Mouse House relationship close to his heart.

Since voicing Jafar in 1992, Freeman has frequently returned to reprise the role whenever the villain pops up in the Disney realm (which is, surprisingly, fairly often). On stage, Freeman has appeared in three of Disney’s Broadway musical endeavors, but his fourth outing is particularly special as he takes up Jafar’s iconic turban once again in the big-budget live-action musical Aladdin, which opened on March 20 at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You said when you first were presented with the idea of reprising Jafar on stage, you were apprehensive. What was your initial hesitation?
JONATHAN FREEMAN: Except for Alan Menken, there wasn’t going to be anybody on the project from 23 years ago, and although that seemed like a great thing for the show and a challenge even for me, I wasn’t sure that I had anything new to bring to the table. And I think that was all it was. And then the first time we had a read-through with the company in Seattle three years ago, I heard all these new voices with all these new ideas. I heard things differently.

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This Week on Stage: 'Aladdin' flies onto the Great White Way

Disney can show you the world. Shining. Shimmering. Splendid. And given the mid-show standing ovation for “Friend Like Me” at every performance of Broadway’s Aladdin and the oohs and aahs of the young children who witness the literal magic carpet ride the show depicts, it’s safe to assume that Disney has its latest long-runner. (Now whether it can ever unseat The Lion King as the fourth longest-running show ever is another question.) In other news this week, Chris Pine and Lauren Ambrose will be taking on Sam Shepard’s lovers-in-squabble drama Fool for Love for three weeks in Williamstown, Mass. this summer, Daniel Radcliffe spoke to EW about his return to the NYC stage as the lead in Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan, Norm Lewis will become the first African-American to star as Broadway’s  Phantom of the Opera, beginning May 12 (opposite his Little Mermaid costar Sierra Boggess), and Tony winner Nina Arianda makes a long-awaited return to the stage (Off Broadway this time) in a new period play (click on the links below for reviews of this and other new productions of the week below). READ FULL STORY

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