The great Alan Menken and his latest companion Chad Beguelin talk and sing what it took to bring Aladdin’s music from the silver screen to a Broadway stage.
The promotional ball has started to roll for the Aladdin Musical.Â Mirvish Productions interviewed the key people behind Aladdin The New Musical that has a pre-Broadway run at their theatre from November 1, 2013 till January 2014. The clip shows rehearsals between the on-screen interviews with Composer Alan Menken, Writer/Lyricist Chad Beguelin, Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw and President & Producer of Disney Theatrical Thomas Schumacher.
The local Toronto based news channel 680 News sat down with the two leads, Adam Jacobs and CourtneyÂ reed to talk about their roles, the difference between the movie characters and their stage counterparts and some other stuff.
I haven’t followed the entire Aladdin musical much adaptations after last yearâ€™s Seattleâ€™s 5th Avenue Theatre in July run written and adapted by Chad Beguelin so this is a longer post than I usual do. Credits go the to Aladdin Musical Blog
This week, Jun 4 2012, opened the Aladdin: the new stage musical in Tuacahn Ivins, Utah USA. Under the direction of Scott S. Anderson and choreographed by Deanna Dys the cast is as follows
- Aladdin – Dan Domenech ~ Did regional productions like Rent and lots of others. Did sing with Lea Salonga A Whole New World at Tuacahn during the press day I assume. No video though.
- Jasmine – Haley Carlucci ~ Has Maria in West Side Story on her resume
- Genie – Edward Juvier ~ Did Les MisÃ©rables on Broadway, a number of local shows in St. Louis including Miss Saigon and Man of La Manche. For Disney did local version of Aristocats and Alice in Wonderland.
- Jafar – Michael G. Hawkin ~ A stage vet when it comes to musical including Sweeney Todd, Chicago and Captain Hook on local tour of Peter Pan.
The second 2012 musical adaption of our beloved Disney’s animated feature opens on July 5 2012 in The Muny theater, Forest Park USA. The outdoor theater announced their cast line up a little over a week ago. I’ll list the leads only, Broadway World has the whole cast.
- Aladdin – Robin De Jesus ~ Two time Tony winner for In the Heights and La Cage Aux Folles
- Jasmine – Samantha Massell ~ Is a The Muny veteran with roles in Kiss Me Kate, Show Boat, Singinâ€™ in the Rain, Sound of Music, and Titanic.
- Genie – John Tartaglia ~ Has a direct connection with the animated feature through playing the title character in Disney’s Johnny and the Sprites and played Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast
- Jafar – Thom Sesma ~ Played Scar in The Lion King in Las Vegas for 2 and a half years.
For tickets visit the theaters website: www.muny.org
Keep in mind that Disney’s Aladdin will have a very short run though as in only runs from July 5 to July 13 2012
In an interview with Broadway World held composer and lyricist Chad Beguelin he revealed that pretty much all movie cut songs make their grant debut on Aladdin the musical. He mentioned Proud of Your Boy, Call Me a Princess, Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim and High Adventure. Plus a couple of new songs he co-wrote with Alan Menken they are A Million Miles Away, Somebody’s Got Your Back, and A Royal Wedding. We already knew Why Me is back edited in so I have to assume Count On Me and Humiliate The Boy aren’t in because they are similar to Proud Of Your Boy and the earlier mentioned Why Me.
How Quick They Forget might still be in, I mean if they put back Aladdin’s pals why not this song. I remember that Alan told that Howard’s heart broke when Aladdin’s mom was nicked back in the early nineties and so Proud of Your Boy got strike through as well. I love that has in memory of Howard this song makes it’s come back.
As for the new songs it’s everyone’s guess where they are placed and if they push the story forward. Here’s my 2 cents. A Million Miles Away could take place when Aladdin is fighting his back to Agrabah after he is send to the ends of the earth. I imagine there’s room to expand there give Al more obstacles to overcome before the reaches Carpet. Somebody’s Got Your Back could be a bonding song between Aladdin and Genie after A Friend Like Me and before Prince Ali. Or perhaps it’s further up in the show. It’s complex without knowing how the story is structured now. A Royal Wedding makes me believe the AWNW reprise is expanded to a full song near the end of the show although in the Disney film musical adoptions I’ve seen it’s common to reprise the main theme song of the show. And there’s the question if Jasmine has a decent song of her own other than that bitchy Call Me A Princess like the Disneyland California show To Be Free. That’s a nice song but I never really like it that much.
With 11 days before the premiere the excitement is getting bigger and bigger.
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 havenâ€™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 doesnâ€™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.