[Opinion] Will Smith’s “Aladdin”

The live action version of Disney’s “Aladdin” hits theaters in late May. Award-winning star Will Smith, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott promise to bring the iconic Genie, Aladdin and Jasmine to life. There are also a host of other actors rounding out the classic main cast with a few new characters sprinkled in.

Like so many fans of the animated version, it will be bittersweet to see a new person take on Robin Williams’ Genie role. He will always be the first Genie. However, I’m actually looking forward to Will Smith introducing an all new mythical being to the next generation. Will has done an incredible job in the variety of roles he has taken over his 30+ year entertainment career. Even if Disney doesn’t add the blue aura to his Genie, I’m completely fine with that.

I’m not familiar with Mena Massoud or Naomi Scott, but if Disney cast them… they must fit the animated roles flawlessly. According to IMDB, Naomi is a Disney alum through her part in the 2011 DCOM “Lemonade Mouth”. “Aladdin” seems to be a homecoming for her. Their Disney character clothes is a definite upgrade from the cartoon’s revealing attire. In reality, they would need to protect their skin from the scorching desert sun.

Since 1992, I have been a diehard “Aladdin”, so I’m beyond excited for this new film. So far, I’ve seen the orginal film, “The Return of Jafar”, “Aladdin and The King of Thieves”, and I can’t wait to add this one to the list!

Photo Credit: Disney


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American Idol Alum Celebrates 28th Birthday

Happy Belated Birthday!


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Book Review: Jolina Petersheim’s “How The Light Gets In”

Ruth Neufeld’s unique story is one of healing as she struggles to adjust to her newfound life as a widow and single mother.

Jolina Petersheim’s “How The Light Gets In” centers on Ruth, her two young daughters and life unexpectedly changing around her. In the story, the modern woman moves her small family into a classic Mennonite community (where her deceased husband’s extended family resides) with her mother-in-law Mabel. While living there, she allows herself and daughters to grieve their father’s untimely death and slowly heal. Ruth is even open to the idea of a relationship with her late husband’s cousin, Elam. That relationship possibility opens up a whole new world full of surprises.

Jolina Petersheim’s “How The Light Gets In” is quite the tearjerker. If you love melodramas, this book is for you. It’s not the type of genre I seek on a regular basis, because I prefer rom-com and more lighthearted books. Nonetheless, this particular novel shares a good life lesson that is religious based. 

“How The Light Gets In” releases in March 2019.

*A Special Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for the advance reader copy of the book*

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Anna Karenina: Joffrey’s World Premiere and First-Time Collaboration with Australian Ballet

Photo Credit: Cheryl Mann

From February 13-24, The Joffrey Ballet intends to bring “Anna Karenina” to the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, according to an official press release. The Leo Tolstoy classic envisioned by Yuri Possokhov will be brought to the Chicago audience through a first-time collaboration between Joffrey and The Australian Ballet.

Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet, Ashley Wheater, had this to say about the upcoming production,  “Anna Karenina is a deeply emotional story that speaks to our turbulent times and offers the ideal muse for Joffrey’s tradition of powerful storytelling through dance. Our collaboration with the Australian Ballet is momentous on so many levels, and Yuri Possokhov is a creative powerhouse at the height of his career. His fresh classical vocabulary will no doubt lead to a phenomenal retelling that honors the classic story while exploring the modern ballet idiom.”

What is choreographer Yuri Possokhov’s version all about? “‘Anna Karenina’ centers on the tragic tale of a married aristocrat and her ongoing love triangle in Imperial Russia, a story that explores the complex politics of family, religion, morality and gender.” The show’s award-winning and famed creative team features Ilya Demutsky, Tom Pye, David Finn.

“Anna Karenina” premieres in Chicago this February, and The Australian Ballet plans to bring it to Melbourne in May 2020.

Learn more about choreographer Yuri Possokhov by clicking here.

A Special Thanks to The Silverman Group and The Joffrey Ballet for the exclusive press release. 

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Remembering SHINee’s Jonghyun

Photo Credit: SM Entertainment

On December 18, 2017, the world said farewell to the iconic musician Kim Jonghyun. Even though a year has flown by, he will never be forgotten by those who loved and respected him. As a longtime SHINee fan, I want to honor the memory of SHINee’s first lead singer, Kim Jonghyun.

Unfortunately, “Shinin” was released posthumously, so we never saw him beam with joy at the success of his single and album “Poet Artist”. (The album claimed the number one spot on the charts in South Korea, America and Japan.) “Shinin” alone is a beautiful and immortal single that will be loved forever. 

Jonghyun’s pink hair, the variety of colorful clothing and catchy beat made “She Is” irresistible! It’s impossible to forgot this one after listening to it. 

I have watched this video countless times marveling at his smooth vocals and dynamic stage presence. “Deja-boo” was one of his finest solo songs!

During happier times with his band SHINee, he was all smiles as they celebrated the Christmas season with fans (aka ShaWols). The song “Colorful” was so much fun!

Jonghyun was the master of selfies. He knew how to look perfect from any angle.

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Jjong knew how to enjoy a delicious yet colorful cake. This tasty social media post  was unforgettable.

 He took pride in his workouts. He seemed to be disciplined and dedicated at the gym.

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열시미 하쟈~~~

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He even enjoyed great friendships with his fellow labelmates. Jonghyun seemed to be a valuable senior to Red Velvet

Rest in peace, Kim Jonghyun.

Photo and Video Credits: Instagram and SM Entertainment’s YouTube/SMTOWN..

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BTS Photo of Michael B. Jordan and Co-Star Jamie Foxx

Yesterday, the Creed 2 star shared an exclusive photo on-set his upcoming biography/drama film “Just Mercy”. In the snapshot, Michael B. Jordan posed alongside Academy Award-winning star Jamie Foxx. He admitted that the candid image was a behind the scenes picture from their upcoming movie and wished Jamie a belated happy birthday.

Michael: “A lil BTS of me & @iamjamiefoxx on our new movie 🤫 but wanted to take this time to wish big bro a Happy Belated Bday one of the most humble, hard working and just overall greatest people I’ve encountered in this industry. Such a legend”

According to IMDB, “Just Mercy” is about famed civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson remembering a death row prisoner he worked hard to free from his sentence. It’s based on the biography written by Bryan Stevenson himself. Michael plays the lawyer, while Jamie portrays prisoner Walter McMillian. “Just Mercy” is scheduled to hit theaters in 2020.

Photos Credit: Michael B Jordan.  


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“La Bohème” and “Cendrillon” Kick Off the New Year at Lyric Opera

Siobhan Stagg “CENDRILLON ” Photo Credit: Todd Rosenberg

After successful openings this fall, Puccini’s romantic tearjerker and an Italian production inspired by the Cinderella tale are ready to return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago.”La Bohème” is scheduled  for a string of performances January 10 – 31, while “Cendrillon” has planned shows for January 11-20.

For “Cendrillon”, famed international performers Siobhan Stagg, Alice Coote, Elizabeth Bishop, Derek Welton, Emily Pogorelc and Kayleigh Decker round out the main cast. Lyric’s music director Sir Andrew Davis and international conductor Francesco Milioto headline the skilled crew who will bring this unique Cinderella tale to life.

Learn more about “La Bohème” by clicking here.

A Special Thanks to The Silverman Group and Lyric Opera of Chicago for the press release.

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