The 5th Avenue Theatre just opened the premiere of Aladdin, a new stage musical adapted from Disney's 1992 animated feature film. Aladdin, featuring the Academy Award®-winning score by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, previews on July 7 and runs until July 31, 2011. In the latest installment of Andrew's Blog-created by cast member Andrew Keenan-Bolger, the cast of Aladdin celebrates July 4th at Seattle's Cal Anderson Park. Click below to check it out!
The 5th Avenue Theatre's production of Aladdin features Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed as Aladdin and Jasmine, James Monroe Iglehart as the Genie, and Seattle mainstay Seán G. Griffin as the Sultan. Jonathan Freeman takes the stage to embody the role he originally voiced for the film, the Royal Vizier Jafar. He is joined by comedic favorite Don Darryl Rivera as Iago. Aladdin restores a trio of characters originally conceived by the film's creators: Omar, Babkak, and Kassim, played by Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Brian Gonzales, and Brandon O'Neill, respectively.
Several 5th Avenue veterans return for the production, including acclaimed director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw, who received his first professional choreography gig at The 5th Avenue Theatre (The Prince and the Pauper, 2001) and where he later choreographed My Fair Lady (2002). On Broadway, Nicholaw won praise as the choreographer of Spamalot, and director/choreographer of The Drowsy Chaperone and Elf: The Broadway Musical, garnering three Tony nominations for his work.
Music for Aladdin is by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Tangled), who has won a total of eight Oscars, more than any living person; lyrics are by the late Howard Ashman (Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid) and Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Chess, The Lion King). Librettist Chad Beguelin wrote the books for The Rhythm Club, Wicked City and The Wedding Singer, which premiered at The 5th Avenue in 2006. Menken and Beguelin contribute additional lyrics.
This new Aladdin incorporates all of the beloved songs from the film's Oscar®-winning score plus never-before heard Menken/Ashman songs restored from early drafts of the score. It marks a return to the authors' original vision: a loving homage to the Hope-Crosby road pictures with a score invoking the jazz sound of stars like Cab Calloway and Fats Waller.
The animated film Aladdin was released by Disney in 1992 and was a critical and box office smash, grossing over $504 million worldwide and becoming the highest-grossing film of the year. Adapted from Arabian folktales and the famous "One Thousand and One Nights," Aladdin tells the story of a resourceful young man who dares to woo a princess with the help of an all-powerful Genie. The film introduced the hit songs "Friend Like Me" and "A Whole New World," which won one of the film's two Academy Awards® as Best Original Song. Part of the "Disney Renaissance" that began with 1989's The Little Mermaid, the film Aladdin was praised for its witty script and tuneful, eclectic score.