The bad news about Aladdin and its long-awaited premiere on Broadway is Robin Williams was not tapped to reprise his role as “The Genie.” The good news about Aladdin and its original Broadway cast is Gilbert Gottfried was not tapped to reprise his role of “Iago.” We dodged a bullet there.
Aladdin the musical is based on the 1992 animated film of the same name. A 45-minute version debuted at the Hyperion Theater at the Disney California Adventure in January of 2003. Tryouts for a full-length version took place in Seattle in 2011. In 2012, the production traveled to Ivins, Utah and then to St. Louis, Missouri. A second tryout was held in 2013 in Toronto. The show opened on Broadway, at the New Amsterdam Theatre, on Feb. 26, 2014.
By the way, James Monroe Iglehart landed the role of the Genie. Adam Jacobs got the part of the titular character. The effervescent Courtney Reed was hired to portray Princess Jasmine and the amazing Jonathan Freeman was cast as the evil Jafar. If you recall, Freeman voiced Jafar in the movie. Rounding out the cast is Clifton Davis as The Sultan, Don Darryl Rivera as Iago, and Brian Gonzales as Babkak.
Like the movie, Alan Menken wrote the show’s music. Lyrics were provided by Howard Ashman, Chard Beguelin, and Tim Rice. Beguelin also wrote the book. The Broadway version was directed by Casey Nicholaw. That name should sound familiar to Broadway fans as he also directed the Tony Award winning The Book of Mormon. Don’t worry, Aladdin is appropriate for the entire family. And yes, “A Whole New World” is part of the score.
Aladdin tells the story of a young pauper who accidentally runs into an undercover princess. The two fall in love but her highness can only marry a prince. Not all is lost as Aladdin finds a genie in a lamp. This exotic tale of flying carpets and magical spirits is lifted from the classic Arabian yarn, One Thousand and One Nights.