BWW Blog: James Monroe Iglehart Appreciation
Since seeing Memphis in 2011, I have LOVED James Monroe Iglehart. His humour, voice, acting style and of course - how this living teddy bear can do the splits ON STAGE!
The following summer, I met him at the stage door. A man pretended to be his grandfather and said "Hey guys that's my grandson sing Happy Birthday to him!" James went along with it, turned to me and said - "I swear you guys I have no idea who that man is and it isn't my birthday!" We laughed it off and he was so kind.
When MEMPHIS closed, the first thing that came to mind was: What would be next for him? He has this talent that is suited for certain roles!
One day I scrolled through Broadway World and noticed the press release for ALADDIN on Broadway featuring the cast. To my surprise, James Monroe Iglehart was dressed as the Genie! Excited is an understatement.
James' performance shook me because I could feel his energy. I could feel that he put his entire heart on that stage and gave it everything. He isn't afraid to jump into something and make himself look like a fool - which he never does, because he's perfect.
What I admire is that the animated Aladdin movie inspired him at 17. Some people think of Disney as something for children, but I adore Disney for so many reasons as it has inspiring lessons that I take with me in my young adult years. James said in an interview that Robin Williams as Genie inspired his ENTIRE career. I admire that greatly.
James was flawless! He added many dimensions to the character of Genie - sass, humour, longing. Plus THAT MAN CAN DANCE LIKE IT'S NOBODY'S BUSINESS! He is a heavy man and I hope this inspires people to dance regardless of they might feel about themselves. Iglehart is quite versatile and I think what makes him unique is he has an energy like no other; on and off the stage. He is vibrant wherever he goes with such contagious energy.
Now this genie-ous (see what I did there?) is playing Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in HAMILTON. Of course we all probably assumed he would be Hercules Mulligan since he performed some songs with Lin before HAMILTON opened, but he will be flawless in these roles. I look forward to hearing reviews and possible snippets of his performances.