Cal State East Bay Grad James Monroe Iglehart Wins Tony Award for His Part as Genie in "Aladdin"

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    Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
    James Monroe Iglehart, center, and the cast of "Aladdin" perform on stage at the 68th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 8, 2014, in New York.

    A Bay Area actor has won his first Tony Award.

    Cal State East Bay alum James Monroe Iglehart, who won Best Performance Featuring an Actor in a Musical for his part as the electric Genie in ``Aladdin,'' was destined for show business but fought the impulse. His mother is a retired music teacher, his dad was an actor in the 1970s and an aunt was a dancer.

    Some of Iglehart’s fondest memories are watching ``Singing in the Rain'' or ``Cabin in the Sky'' as a kid. By high school, he gave up and embraced his skills.

    During his senior year at California State University, he auditioned for a swing role in a tour of ``Showboat'' and got it, not knowing what a swing does. He later was a replacement in ``The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'' on Broadway and a longtime star in ``Memphis.''

    A Disney and comic book fan, Iglehart is also a member of the improv hip-hop act Freestyle Love Supreme.

    Iglehart was raised in Hayward along with his two brothers and a sister. The first roles of his career were in performances at the American Musical Theatre in San Jose and TheatreWorks in Palo Alto.