Aladdin (2011 musical)
By Ron Clements
|Premiere||July 7, 2011: 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle|
2016 West End
2017 US tour
Aladdin is a Broadway musical based on the 1992 Disney animated film of the same name with a book by Chad Beguelin, music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Beguelin. It resurrects three songs written by Menken and Ashman for the film but not used, and adds four songs written by Menken and Beguelin.
Set in the fictional Arabian city of Agrabah, the story follows the familiar tale of a poor young man who is granted three wishes by a genie in a lamp, which he uses to woo a princess and to thwart the sultan's evil Grand Vizier.
Aladdin premiered at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle in 2011. After several regional and international productions in 2012, the musical was given a Toronto tryout in 2013. The Broadway production opened at the New Amsterdam Theatre on March 20, 2014 and has been produced globally since. It is the 11th highest-grossing Broadway production of all time, having grossed over $400 million at the Broadway theatre as of May 2019[update]. It has been seen in theatres by about 11 million people worldwide, as of September 2018[update].
In November 2010, Alan Menken confirmed that a musical theatre adaptation of the movie was in the works with a book written by Chad Beguelin. The musical premiered in Seattle, Washington, at the 5th Avenue Theatre from July 7 to 31, 2011. Jonathan Freeman, who voiced Jafar in the film, reprised the role onstage. Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed played Aladdin and Jasmine. Additional cast included James Monroe Iglehart as Genie; Sean G. Griffin as the Sultan; Don Darryl Rivera as Iago; and Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Brian Gonzales and Brandon O'Neill as Omar, Kassim and Babkak, a trio of characters conceived for the film but ultimately replaced by Abu. The production was directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw. The set designer was Anna Louizos, with costumes designed by Gregg Barnes.
In 2012, productions of the musical played at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Ivins, Utah, from June to October 2012 and The Muny in St. Louis in July 2012. In 2012, Aladdin was staged in Manila at the Meralco Theater. Directed by Bobby Garcia and Chari Arespacochaga, it starred Tom Rodriguez as Aladdin and featured Aiza Seguerra as Genie. The musical was staged in Spanish in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2013.
Toronto tryout (2013–2014)
Aladdin had a pre-Broadway tryout at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, from November 2013 to January 2014. Nicholaw, Barnes and Steinmeyer returned as director-choreographer and costume designer, with Bob Crowley replacing Louizos as scenic designer. The special effects were created by Jim Steinmeyer.
The musical premiered on Broadway on February 26, 2014, in previews and opened on March 20, 2014, at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Most of the Seattle main cast remained with the show, including Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, Courtney Reed as Jasmine, Jonathan Freeman as Jafar, Don Darryl Rivera as Iago, Clifton Davis as Sultan, Brian Gonzales as Babkak, and Brandon O'Neill as Kassim. Jonathan Schwartz joined the company as Omar, replacing Andrew Keenan-Bolger. The show was nominated for five Tony Awards, winning one for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for James Monroe Iglehart.
As of March 12, 2020, the show suspended production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The show's production was originally suspended until June 1, 2021 at the earliest. Aladdin is now scheduled to resume performances on September 28, 2021.
A Japanese production opened in 2015 at the Dentsu Shiki Theatre Umi in Tokyo, presented by the Shiki Theatre Company. The production sold 209,000 tickets in its first day, making it the biggest opening day for a musical in Japan.
West End (2016–2019)
A West End production officially opened on June 15, 2016 at the Prince Edward Theatre, with previews from May 27, 2016 and starring Dean John-Wilson as Aladdin, Trevor Dion Nicholas as Genie, Jade Ewen as Jasmine, Don Gallagher as Jafar, Peter Howe as Iago, Irvine Iqbal as Sultan, Nathan Amzi as Babkak, Rachid Sabitri as Omar, and Stephen Rahman-Hughes as Kassim. The show closed on 24 August 2019, after being seen by over 2 million people, and 1,361 performances.
Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore (2016–2019)
Aladdin had its Australian premiere in Sydney at the Capitol Theatre on August 11, 2016, where it played until February 19, 2017. Australian native Ainsley Melham originated the role of Aladdin alongside American actors Arielle Jacobs as Princess Jasmine and Michael James Scott as the Genie. Following performances in Sydney, Aladdin opened at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne on 15 April 2017. The Sydney and Melbourne productions performed an autism-friendly adaptation of the show which had the "removal of strobe lighting and pyrotechnics, reduction of any jarring sounds and house lights being dimmed (instead of off)" to provide a more supportive environment for autistic patrons. In 2018, the Australian tour included stops at Brisbane and Perth. In 2019, the show then transferred to a New Zealand production, playing Auckland, before returning to Adelaide in April and finally transferring to Singapore to conclude its tour on 1 September 2019.
On 15 and 19 February 2019 respectively, Michael James Scott and Ainsley Melham transferred to the Broadway company of the show, where they were reunited with Arielle Jacobs who had joined the Broadway cast in February 2018. This casting decision made the Broadway leads the same as the leads of the Original Australian Cast.
US tour (2017–2020)
Disney Theatrical launched a national tour on April 11, 2017 at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre.
The Netherlands (2021)
Stage Entertainment announced the show for the fall of 2020 in their AFAS Circustheater in The Hague, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the show was delayed with a year to the fall of 2021. The cast was announced on May 7th 2021 and will include Jonathan Vroege as Aladdin, Stanley Burleson as Genie, Keoma Aidhen as Jasmine, Roberto de Groot as Jafar, Darren van der Lek as Iago and Michel Sorbach as the Sultan.  Keoma Aidhen previously played the role of Jasmine in the German production, making her the first performer to play the role in two different languages. The production is set to have its premiere on September 26th 2021.
A man welcomes the audience to the middle-eastern city of Agrabah. He notes that Agrabah is a diverse place, full of revered nobles, misfits, and even a few villains ("Arabian Nights").
Aladdin is a young man who spends his days stealing food from the street vendors of Agrabah along with his three best friends, Kassim, Omar and Babkak ("One Jump Ahead"). After being referred to as a "worthless street rat" Aladdin expresses his dreams of showing the world he's more than just a common urchin ("One Jump Ahead (Reprise)" ). He notes his guilt in thievery, having vowed to never steal again after the death of his mother ("Proud of Your Boy").
Meanwhile, in the palace of Agrabah, Princess Jasmine is scolded by her father, the Sultan, for refusing yet another suitor. The Sultan demands that Jasmine must marry a noble prince before her birthday, which is only three days away. Jasmine laments the situation to her handmaidens ("These Palace Walls"). This news also disturbs the Sultan's Grand Vizier, Jafar, who wishes to usurp the throne himself. He and his assistant, Iago, search for a way to enter the "Cave of Wonders", a mysterious cavern in the desert said to hold untold power. The voice of the cave reveals that only one who is worthy, a "diamond in the rough", may enter. When Jafar asks the identity of this "diamond in the rough", it is revealed to be Aladdin. Jafar and Iago set out to find him.
While entertaining the locals ("Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim"), Aladdin meets Jasmine, who has disguised herself as a commoner to get a sense of life outside the palace. Aladdin has no idea who she is, but he is immediately smitten. After a brief scuffle with the guards, he takes Jasmine to his hideout, where they each reveal their unhappiness in their own lives ("A Million Miles Away"). They are discovered by the guards and Jasmine is escorted back to the palace. Aladdin is ordered to be killed, but he is saved by Jafar and Iago, who lead Aladdin to the Cave of Wonders ("Diamond in the Rough"). Grateful for saving his life, Aladdin honors Jafar's request to enter the cave.
Once inside, Aladdin is instructed to bring the magic lamp to Jafar and touch nothing else. Astonished by all the treasure buried within the cave, Aladdin attempts to take the Egyptian chain along with the lamp. The cave angrily seals itself, trapping Aladdin inside. Engulfed in darkness, Aladdin rubs the lamp which to his surprise unleashes a magical Genie (revealed as the man from the beginning of the show) who offers to grant him three wishes. Aladdin initially shrugs this off in disbelief, prompting the Genie to display his powers with an impressive musical number ("Friend Like Me"). The Genie then reveals that he has limitations to his powers. He can't grant wishes that include murder, romance, revival of the dead, or wishing for additional wishes. Amused and overjoyed at his good fortune, Aladdin tricks Genie into magically freeing them from the cave without actually using a wish; thereafter, Genie states that Aladdin will not receive any more magic help unless he explicitly states "I wish". After Aladdin asks what Genie would wish for, Genie muses that he would wish for freedom, since he is a prisoner of his lamp, so Aladdin promises to use his last wish to free the Genie. Aladdin decides to use his first wish to become a prince in order to be legally able to court Jasmine (Act One Finale: "Friend Like Me"/"Proud of Your Boy" (Reprises)).
A great parade storms through the streets of Agrabah, led by Genie, Babkak, Omar and Kassim. They announce the arrival of "Prince Ali of Ababwa" ("Prince Ali"). Once at the palace, Aladdin, disguised as Prince Ali, expresses to the Sultan his desire to marry Jasmine. Jasmine overhears the conversation and perceives Ali to be just another shallow prince. Jafar, who is suspicious of Ali, tells him the location of Jasmine's bedroom, not mentioning that it is against Agrabah law for the Princess to have a suitor in her quarters unsupervised. Aladdin courts Jasmine with a ride on his magic carpet provided to him by Genie ("A Whole New World"). Once they return, Jasmine recognizes Aladdin as the young man whom she met in the marketplace. Aladdin lies and says that he really is a prince, he just sometimes likes to dress as a commoner to escape the pressures of palace living, much like Jasmine did that day. Seeing he isn't shallow and self-absorbed like the others, Jasmine kisses Aladdin good night. After she leaves, Jafar has Aladdin arrested for entering the Princess' room unsupervised. Upon hearing the news, Babkak, Omar and Kassim storm the palace to rescue their friend ("High Adventure"). They are captured and thrown into the dungeon as well, but with a little help from Genie, Aladdin uses his second wish to free them ("Somebody's Got Your Back").
The Sultan greets Aladdin in the hall and gives him his blessing to marry Jasmine, meaning that Aladdin himself will inherit the throne as the new Sultan one day. Fearful of this great responsibility, he tells Genie he's going to save his third wish for a day he may need it rather than use it to free Genie like he promised. Distraught, Genie returns to his lamp and refuses to speak to Aladdin. Aladdin laments ("Proud of Your Boy" (Reprise II)). Meanwhile, Jafar and Iago manage to steal the lamp that Aladdin carelessly discarded.
As the Sultan announces to the public that Jasmine is to wed Prince Ali ("Prince Ali" (Sultan Reprise)), Jafar appears and reveals Ali to be merely a common street rat named Aladdin whom the former then threatens to send to "the end of the road" if no one changes the latter's personality to meet his standards ("Prince Ali" (Jafar Reprise)). Genie then enters with Jasmine in chains, saying that Jafar is now his master and that his first wish was to make Jasmine his prisoner. Jafar uses his second wish to crown himself Sultan, which Genie reluctantly grants. Remembering what Genie told him earlier about the limitations to his powers, Aladdin tricks Jafar into wishing for himself to become a genie so that his power will be unmatched. Genie grants Jafar's wish, and Jafar is sucked into a lamp of his own, bound to it for eternity.
Aladdin uses his third and final wish to set Genie free. He then admits to Jasmine that he loves her, but he cannot pretend to be someone he's not. Seeing the nobility in Aladdin, the Sultan decrees that henceforth the Princess can marry whomever she pleases. Babkak, Omar and Kassim are made royal advisors, while Iago is arrested. Aladdin and Jasmine are married, and Genie prepares for a long-awaited vacation. All ends well as Aladdin and Jasmine board the magic carpet and take flight (Finale Ultimo: "Arabian Nights"/"A Whole New World" (Reprises)).
Although the film was Disney's first to feature non-white human protagonists, Disney did not consider ethnicity in the casting process for the musical. This 'colourblind' policy sparked some controversy, with the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee receiving numerous complaints from actors of Middle Eastern descent. The executive director of a US minority rights organisation lamented that the production had 'missed an opportunity' to showcase Arab-American actors, who remain underrepresented on Broadway.
Roles and principal cast members
Original production casts
|Aladdin||Adam Jacobs||Dean John-Wilson||Adam Jacobs|
|Jasmine||Courtney Reed||Jade Ewen||Isabelle McCalla|
|Genie||James Monroe Iglehart||Trevor Dion Nicholas||Anthony Murphy|
|Jafar||Jonathan Freeman||Don Gallagher||Jonathan Weir|
|Iago||Don Darryl Rivera||Peter Howe||Reggie De Leon|
|Sultan||Clifton Davis||Irvine Iqbal||J. C. Montgomery|
|Babkak||Brian Gonzales||Nathan Amzi||Zach Bencal|
|Omar||Jonathan Schwartz||Rachid Sabitri||Philippe Arroyo|
|Kassim||Brandon O'Neill||Stephen Rahman-Hughes||Mike Longo|
Notable cast replacements
- Aladdin: Telly Leung, Ainsley Melham
- Genie: Michael James Scott
- Jasmine: Arielle Jacobs
- Iago: Alan Muraoka
- US tour
- West End
Three songs that were cut from the 1992 film following the death of Howard Ashman were restored for the musical, as noted below. Four others were newly written for the musical, as noted. All music is by Alan Menken. Lyricists are listed for the individual songs.
(*) This song was cut from the movie and restored for the musical.
(**) This is a new song written for the musical.
(***) This song uses the edit to Ashman's lyric which was intended to resolve a controversy with the original film.
(****) The Genie's part in this song was performed by Babkak, Omar, and Kassim in the Seattle and Vancouver productions.
(*****) A longer arrangement similar to the original demo, with Howard Ashman's original lyrics, is used for this song. However, the shorter arrangement from the film, albeit without some of the changes made to Ashman's original lyrics, was used for the Seattle and Toronto productions.
- Cut Songs
- "Arabian Nights (Reprise 1)", "Arabian Nights (Reprise 2)", "Arabian Nights (Reprise 3)" (Ashman**/Beguelin***) - Babkak, Omar, Kassim
- "Call Me a Princess" (Ashman**) - Jasmine and Attendants
- "Call Me a Princess (Reprise)" (Beguelin***) - Jasmine
- "High Adventure (Reprise)" (Beguelin***) - Babkak, Omar, Kassim
- "Somebody's Got Your Back (Reprise)" (Beguelin***) - Genie
- "Why Me" (Rice/Beguelin*) - Jafar and Iago
(*) This song was cut from the movie, restored for the musical, but later cut from the Seattle production.
(**) This song was cut from the movie, restored for the musical, but later cut from the Toronto production.
(***) This song was written for the Seattle production, but later cut from the Toronto production.
All music is composed by Alan Menken.
|2.||"Arabian Nights"||Ashman & Tim Rice||James Monroe Iglehart, Ensemble||6:16|
|3.||"One Jump Ahead"||Rice||Adam Jacobs, Ensemble||2:09|
|4.||"One Jump Ahead (Reprise)"||Rice||Jacobs||0:36|
|5.||"Proud of Your Boy"||Ashman||Jacobs||2:20|
|6.||"These Palace Walls"||Chad Beguelin||Courtney Reed, Tia Altinay, Khori Michelle Petinaud, Marisha Wallace||2:40|
|7.||"Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim"||Ashman||Jacobs, Brian Gonzales, Jonathan Schwartz, Brandon O'Neill, Ensemble||3:48|
|8.||"A Million Miles Away"||Beguelin||Jacobs, Reed||3:21|
|9.||"Diamond in the Rough"||Beguelin||Jacobs, Jonathan Freeman, Don Darryl Rivera||4:18|
|10.||"Friend Like Me"||Ashman||Iglehart, Jacobs, Ensemble||7:32|
|11.||"Act One Finale"||Ashman & Beguelin||Iglehart, Jacobs||2:08|
|12.||"Prince Ali"||Ashman||Gonzales, Schwartz, O'Neill, Iglehart, Ensemble||5:55|
|13.||"A Whole New World"||Rice||Jacobs, Reed||4:07|
|14.||"High Adventure"||Ashman||Gonzales, Schwartz, O'Neill, Ensemble||5:31|
|15.||"Somebody's Got Your Back"||Beguelin||Iglehart, Jacobs, Gonzales, Schwartz, O'Neill||3:24|
|16.||"Proud of Your Boy (Reprise)"||Ashman||Jacobs||1:05|
|17.||"Prince Ali (Sultan Reprise)"||Beguelin||Clifton Davis, Ensemble||1:13|
|18.||"Prince Ali (Jafar Reprise)"||Rice||Freeman||1:04|
|19.||"Finale Ultimo"||Ashman, Rice, Beguelin||Company||2:46|
|20.||"Proud of Your Boy (Piano Version)" (bonus track)||Ashman||Jacobs, Menken||2:42|
|21.||"Genie Medley" (bonus track)||Ashman, David Zippel||Menken, Jacobs, Iglehart||4:03|
Filmed West End production
A special performance of Aladdin was filmed on August 31, 2019 at the Prince Edward Theatre, after the show had already officially closed on August 24, 2019. The filmed production starred performers from the original Broadway, West End, Sydney and US Tour productions: Ainsley Melham as Aladdin, Trevor Dion Nicholas as Genie, Isabelle McCalla as Jasmine, Jonathan Freeman as Jafar, Don Darryl Rivera as Iago, Irvine Iqbal as Sultan, Brian Gonzales as Babkak, Brandon O'Neill as Kassim and Robert Tripolino as Omar. It will stream exclusively on Disney+.
The pre-Broadway production in Toronto received mixed reviews. The National Post review said "This Aladdin turns out to be the best ever stage version of a movie", praising its score, direction, choreography, staging, lighting, design, and altered characterisations. CHCH said "Artistically, this Aladdin is top grade. It will become a classic." The Globe and Mail reviewer gave the show 2.5 stars out of 4, however, saying that it was "strictly for the kiddies". The Toronto Star gave the musical the same rating, and said "You’re likely to hear the sound of deafening applause [during the] show-stopping staging of 'A Friend Like Me' and James Monroe Iglehart’s blessedly bravura performance as the Genie. It’s the kind of exhilarating moment we go to the theatre for. But ... nothing before or after it in Aladdin lives up to those six sublime minutes."
The Vancouver Sun said "Director Casey Nicholaw has served up a thoroughly satisfying confection for kids, who will no doubt delight in the swords, smoke and spectacular tunes of Aladdin – and will leave the theatre content to have been transported to 'a whole new world'. Their parents? Maybe not so much." The website BroadwayWorld said "the show had the unbelievable sights but sadly struggled with the indescribable feelings", adding "The problem is, Chad Beguelin's book fails to make us truly care for the characters – and the special effects can only take the show so far when the investment at the heart of the story isn't making the connection it should. It felt as though the book concentrated too hard on adding cheesy 'current affair' style jokes ... and clunky one-liners instead of giving depth and material to Aladdin, Jasmine and the Genie." The Toronto Sun said: "In short, it's a visual assault that doesn't so much draw one in as simply sweep one up in an overly long first act . ... With the exception of Iglehart's gigantically genial Genie, there is no character in which an audience can make an emotional investment – no quiet moment that might allow any of the characters, good or evil, to exist in three dimensions."
The Broadway production received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press gave the production a rave review, writing: "It's spritely ... well sung ... and hits that sweet spot Disney Theatrical Productions do so well, a saccharine fairy tale for the kids cut by some sly, vinegary quips for their parents." Elysa Gardener of USA Today gave the show 3.5 out of four stars and said, "If Disney Theatrical's latest production doesn't sustain that frenzied high throughout, it delivers a rush that may surprise folks who attend either as chaperones or to relive their own youths." Thom Grier of Entertainment Weekly gave the show a "B" and said, "Overall, this is one of the better Disney stage musicals, complete with several eye-popping production numbers that benefit from Nicholaw's spirited choreography, Bob Crowley's elaborate and chameleonic sets, and Gregg Barnes' glittery costumes."
Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal praised Iglehart's performance, especially during the number "Friend Like Me" but wrote: "The trouble is that nothing else in the first act can touch it. Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed, who play Aladdin and his princess, are pretty but bland, and the temperature doesn't start rising again until the magic-carpet ride, which comes after intermission and is the slickest thing to hit Broadway since the flying car in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. From then on, Aladdin becomes fun". Charles Isherwood of The New York Times was mostly positive in his review, writing that "this latest musical adapted from one of Disney's popular movies ... defied my dour expectations. As directed and choreographed [by] Nicholaw, and adapted by ... Beguelin, Aladdin has an infectious and only mildly syrupy spirit. Not to mention enough baubles, bangles and beading to keep a whole season of RuPaul's Drag Race contestants in runway attire." Marilyn Stasio of Variety gave the show a negative review, commenting: "The magic-carpet ride is magical. The Cave of Wonders is wonderful. And yes, you'll hear the tunes you loved in the 1992 movie. But the notion that Disney Aladdin somehow resurrects the spirit of the late Howard Ashman, who had the original inspiration for the movie and contributed most of its clever lyrics, is a joke. Restoring a person's work without respecting his artistic sensibility is no tribute at all."
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway Production
|2014||Tony Award||Best Musical||Nominated|
|Best Book of a Musical||Chad Beguelin||Nominated|
|Best Original Score||Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||James Monroe Iglehart||Won|
|Best Choreography||Casey Nicholaw||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Book of a Musical||Chad Beguelin||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music||Alan Menken||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lyrics||Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Adam Jacobs||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||James Monroe Iglehart||Won|
|Outstanding Choreography||Casey Nicholaw||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding Book Of A Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Choreographer||Casey Nicholaw||Nominated|
|Outstanding Costume Design||Gregg Barnes||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||James Monroe Iglehart||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lighting Design||Natasha Katz||Nominated|
|Outstanding New Broadway Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding New Score (Marjorie Gunner Award)||Nominated|
|Outstanding Set Design||Bob Crowley||Nominated|
|2015||Grammy Award||Best Musical Theater Album||Nominated|
Original London Production
|2017||Laurence Olivier Awards||Best Set Design||Bob Crowley||Nominated|
Original Australian Production
|2016||Glugs Theatrical Awards||Most Outstanding Mainstage Musical||Won|
|Best Actor in Musical Theatre||Michael James Scott||Nominated|
|Most Outstanding Performance by a Newcomer||Won|
|2017||Helpmann Awards||Best Musical||Nominated|
|Best Choreography in a Musical||Casey Nicholaw||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Nominated|
|Best Male Actor in a Musical||Ainsley Melham||Nominated|
|Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical||Michael James Scott||Won|
|Best Set Design||Bob Crowley||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Gregg Barnes||Won|
- Aladdin (franchise)
- Aladdin Jr.: another stage adaptation of Aladdin, made specially for youth theatre.
- Twisted: A musical parody of Aladdin, telling the story from Jafar's perspective.
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