By Scott McPherson
Directed by Anne Kauffman
Amsterdam Theatre (214 W. 42nd Street)
NEW YORK CITY | Some good news (for once). This past March 20, Disney’s ALADDIN, the hit Broadway musical, celebrated its 3rd anniversary of performances at the New Amsterdam Theatre.
ALADDIN opened to critical acclaim on March 20th, 2014 and quickly established itself as one of the biggest new blockbusters in recent years; last year only the smash musical WICKEDwas seen by more people on Broadway. Since its opening, ALADDIN has set 12 New Amsterdam Theatre house records and welcomed over 4 million people worldwide. Its global footprint has expanded to include productions in Tokyo, Hamburg, London and Sydney, with a North American tour set to begin performances in Chicago next month.
Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, the show features music by Tony Award® and eight-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and NEWSIES, lyrics by two-time Oscar winner Howard Ashman (THE LITTLE MERMAID), three-time Tony Award and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (EVITA and AIDA) and four-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (THE WEDDING SINGER), with a book by Beguelin, and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner CASEY NICHOLAW (THE BOOK OF MORMON).
The cast currently features Joshua Dela Cruz (HERE LIES LOVE in the title role, Courtney Reed (In the Heights, Mamma Mia) as Jasmine, Major Attaway in his Broadway debut as Genie, and, as Jafar, Tony Award nominee Jonathan Freeman (Mary Poppins, The Producers, She Loves Me) brings to the stage the role he indelibly created in the animated film. The show also features Steel Burkhardt, Brian Gonzales and Brad Weinstock as Aladdin’s sidekicks Kassim, Babkak and Omar, Clifton Davis as Sultan and Don Darryl Rivera as Iago. James Moye and Deonté L. Warren stand by for several principals.
In a cast of 36, Aladdin also features Kathryn Allison, Tia Altinay, Netanel Bellaishe, Sam J. Cahn, Mike Cannon, Andrew Cao, Damian Chambers, Alicia Charles, Lauryn Ciardullo, Jacob Dickey, Josh Drake, Tiffany Evariste, Daisy Hobbs, Adam Hyndman, Donald Jones, Jr., Nathan Lucrezio, Stanley Martin, Michael Mindlin, Amber Owens, Bobby Pestka, Ariel Reid, Trent Saunders, Angelo Soriano, Dennis Stowe and Kathryn Terza.
ALADDIN, adapted from the Disney film and centuries-old folktales including “One Thousand and One Nights,” is brought to fresh theatrical life in this bold new musical. Aladdin’s journey sweeps audiences into an exotic world of daring adventure, classic comedy and timeless romance. This new production features a full score, including the five cherished songs from the Academy Award-winning soundtrack and more written especially for the stage.
The animated film Aladdin was released by Disney in 1992 and was a critical and box office smash, grossing over $500 million worldwide (not adjusted for inflation) and becoming the highest-grossing film of the year.
The film won the Oscar for Best Original Score and introduced the hit song “A Whole New World,” which won the second of the film’s two Academy Awards as Best Original Song. The Peabo Bryson/Regina Belle recording of the tune soared to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The production team also includes illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer, hair designer Josh Marquette and makeup designer Milagros Medina-Cerdeira. The music team is headed by music supervisor and music director Michael Kosarin, who also created the vocal and incidental music arrangements, joined by orchestrator Danny Troob and dance music arranger Glen Kelly.