A few months ago, we let you know about a new stage musical adaptation of Aladdin coming to Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, and we’re happy to report that its opening night is now here. The highly anticipated new musical, based on the 1992 Disney animated film of the same name, began preview performances on July 7, and will celebrate its official opening tonight, July 21. The show will run at The 5th Avenue Theatre through July 31.
Heading this new musical, a collaboration between The 5th Avenue Theatre and Disney Theatricals, is director/choreographer Casey Nicolaw. Nicolaw’s work on Broadway includes such shows as Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Elf, but he is perhaps most known for his recent collaboration with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone on the hit Broadway smash The Book of Mormon. His work on the show, which is currently the hottest ticket on Broadway, earned him a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical.
Starring in the new musical is actor Adam Jacobs (Simba in the National Tour of The Lion King) as Aladdin, with Courtney Reed (In the Heights, Mamma Mia) as Jasmine. The Genie will be played by James Monroe Iglehart, and the Sultan will be portrayed by Sean G. Griffin. Jonathan Freeman, who lent his voice to the villainous Jafar in the animated film, will reprise this role in the stage production, joined by Don Darryl Rivera as his sidekick Iago. Rounding out the show’s leads will be Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Brian Gonzales, and Brandon O’Neill as Omar, Babkak, and Kassim, a trio of characters originally envisioned to be in the animated film.
The new musical will, of course, bring to life the classic songs from the 1992 film that we all know and love, but theatergoers will be able to enjoy some songs that didn’t make it into the final film as well. Included in the musical’s score are some previously unreleased songs from early drafts of the film, written by Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Tangled) with lyrics by the late Howard Ashman (The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast). With these changes, the stage musical will more closely represent Ashman and Menken’s original vision for the film: “a loving homage to the Hope-Crosby road pictures with a score invoking the jazz sound of stars like Cab Calloway and Fats Waller.”
In addition to these new songs, as well as the existing songs written by Menken, Ashman, and lyricist Tim Rice (The Lion King, Jesus Christ Superstar), the show will feature a libretto by Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer, The Rhythm Club). Menken and Beguelin contributed additional lyrics to the show.
As for what will happen once the show finishes its Seattle run, it’s still hard to tell. Currently, no plans are in the works for Disney Theatricals to bring the show to Broadway. However, The 5th Avenue Theatre has been home to many other musicals that have made the move to Broadway following their runs there, including the current Broadway shows Memphis and Catch Me if You Can. If the show is successful in Seattle, it would certainly make sense for Disney to move the show to Broadway, especially with Casey Nicolaw’s involvement, considering his success with Book of Mormon. Disney Theatricals may also choose to license the show out to theaters for regional or amateur productions, as they’ve been doing with such shows as High School Musical, 101 Dalmatians, and Alice in Wonderland. Only time will tell what the future holds for the musical, but we hope to hear more news from this exciting new show.
Check out a sneak-peek from the show with this video of one of the new songs from the musical, “A Million Miles Away”:
To purchase tickets to the show and learn more about The 5th Avenue Theatre, visit the theater’s website at http://www.5thavenue.org/.