Stage Writer Chad Beguelinon Aladdin: The New Stage Musical

Stage Writer Chad Beguelinon Aladdin: The New Stage Musical

Jim Hill talked with Chad Beguelin who was asked to adapt the hit animated movie to a stage musical. While he kept a bit vague on what the stage production exactly will look like when it opens in Seattle in July. He did reveal some details. The most important thing, for us the fans, they don’t mess with the romance between Aladdin and Jasmine. Which to us and most other people who like the movie is, along with the friendship between Aladdin and Genie, the heart of the movie.

That’s why we’re playing the romance of Aladdin & Jasmine straight and sincere,” Chad explained. “That’s an aspect of the movie that people really love. So we’re not messing with that. Likewise that moment when Aladdin gives up his one chance at happiness to win the Genie’s freedom. That’s a scene that audiences are really looking forward to seeing being played out on stage. So we’re preserving all of the heart and the emotion of that moment from the movie.”

Chad Beguelin and the production crew use some but not all of the deleted songs that didn’t make it to the final film.

Of course, there were some drawbacks with Chad’s plan. In order to properly accommodate this material, that meant bumping out the borders of this project quite a bit. Deliberately stepping away from the storyline of this much beloved movie and then doing things like giving Aladdin a trio of street-smart friends — Omar, Babkak and Kassim – to hang out with. Would audiences in Seattle be accepting of a stage version of Disney’s “Aladdin” that differed so significantly from the animated feature?

He also told Jim that it’s still uncertain on what songs will make it to production until the cast is casted. For example he can’t confirm if Jasmine’s solo “To Be Free” written by Alan and Tim Rice for the “Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular” is in it. Chad said to him

“It’s a pretty fluid situation right now.”

Personally I’m afraid this stage production will stray to for from the movie I fell in love with 20 years ago by forcing the story around Howard Ashman’s songs just to pay homage to him. A homage is fine, of course, he deserves it but not on the cost of everything. That they haven’t decided on what songs will make it to the production has me worried, as the premiere is just a few months away. Like wise with the casting being done is May.
This interview does reassure me that they plan to keep Genie as he is minus the pop references. I’m not really familiar with Cab Calloway or Fats Waller. I know Cab from Blues Brothers, a favorite film of mine, with his Minnie the Moocher. As for Fats Waller I probably heard his work in many movies but his name doesn’t ring a bell. So Genie could end up more different than I’ll expect which is ok as as long he keeps his serious tone and doesn’t become a clown.
Another good thing is that because Disney Theatrical is making this stage production for the regional theaters and the international market I see it coming to the small and medium theaters of Holland. Normally it’s Stage Entertainment that brings Disney musicals to Netherlands, they have brought TLK, Aida, BatB and MP here as a big production with a big ticket price in it’s own theater in The Hague. Like I went to see Mary Poppins on Wednesday. Got it as seat 1 row 1 on 1e rang which you can compare with Orchestra rang the New York production that cost me 89 euro plus 18 euro train ticket and a small amount for the tram in the Hague. Prices of the other Disney productions where simelair. When this Aladdin production comes here it’ll be a whole lot cheaper I imagine because it’s A) smaller, B) probably different production company, C) in smaller theaters.

Anyway let’s wait a few more months and see what they cooked up.

Glen Keane reacts to Dreamworks move rumors

Glen Keane reacts to Dreamworks move rumors

Steve from TAG blog, that’s the watchdog of the animation industry employee’s, chatted with Glen Keane about the rumor that surfaced recently about him getting an offer by Jeffery Katzenberg to pack up and move to Dreamworks. The whole discussion in the comments isn’t really of interest to us industry outsiders.

“My contract is up at Disney in May, and I’m doing due diligence, looking around, seeing what’s out there. I’m 57 years old and I want to make the rest of my career count.

“I’ve known Jeffrey Katzenberg for a long time, and like him. And DreamWorks Animation is a dynamic studio. I also like what’s happening at Disney. I think Tangled was one of our best features, and I did more drawings on it than I did working on Tarzan. It was great working with the animators on the crew, helping them take the work to the next level …”

The Great Alan Menken goes at it again

The Great Alan Menken goes at it again

At the UK & Ireland Facebook is a video posted of Alan Menken, who doesn’t need any introdcution what so ever, doing a medley of his greatest work for Disney animated films. Something the good man has done a zillion times before but I for one can’t get enough to listen.

In other Aladdin crew news, Andreas Deja recently said in interview he likes to see a Disney character that is gay. And there are rumors that master animator Glen Keane is in talks with Dreamworks to work for him. Follow the thread at Ultimate Disney but take it with a grain of salt if I where you.