Alexandra Villarreal
June 05, 2015 7:31 am

As a child, I dreaded going to the airport. For me, it was always about the destination, not the journey, and I shuddered at the possibility of ear-popping changes in altitude, crowded terminals that smelled of to-go cuisine, and baggage claims where my luggage had mysteriously disappeared.

Now, I view my trips to airports as a kind of sport, where people-watching is the objective and I score points for removing my earbuds to observe. But I’d still be pretty peeved if I was trying to escape the never-ending rush of New York City for Orlando and my flight was delayed because of a roaring storm.

Such was the situation at LaGuardia last Sunday, where vacationers stalled at gates, waiting for the wind and rain to still. Luckily, they were in good company — the Broadway casts of Aladdin and The Lion King were also on their way to Disney territory, and they gave an impromptu concert to keep tired travelers entertained.

The Lion King ensemble burst into “The Circle of Life,” relaxed and natural after long hours of practice. James Monroe Iglehart, on the other hand, didn’t come prepared for a sing-off. Still, he had no problem riffing with his peers from Aladdin, showcasing the ingenuity and charm that earned him a Tony last year for his role as the Genie. Of course, the crowds whooped and cheered, and encores ensued, including an off-the-cuff “Arabian Nights.” 

If Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, Disney’s productions are  the happiest places on the Great White Way. Dazzling sets, show-stopping numbers, catchy tunes — Mickey Mouse + Broadway is a surefire formula for an enjoyable evening at the theater. But with ticket prices soaring, not everyone can afford to attend The Lion King or Aladdin while visiting Manhattan. That, in my estimation, marks the importance of a fleeting moment at LaGuardia: some of Broadway’s bigwigs gave back to the community, sharing their talents for free. Their generosity and vibrance make them my heroes for the day.

Check out footage from the sing-off below!

[Featured image via]

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