Abracadabra! Adventure, comedy, romance, and dazzling special effects await. Hop on your flying carpet and make your way to the Paramount Theatre, where a new National Tour of “Aladdin” is playing October 12-29.
Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw, “Aladdin” the musical is based on the 1992 Disney animated film and centuries-old folktales including “One Thousand and One Nights” and the French interpretation by Antoine Galland. Alan Menken wrote the music, with lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin, who also wrote the book.
Returning to Seattle, “Aladdin” has made a full circle from its premiere at the 5th Avenue Theatre in 2011. The musical landed on Broadway in 2014, nabbing five Tony Award nominations.
What does a street urchin do when he wants to woo a beautiful and spunky princess? He finds a lamp containing a genie, who grants him three wishes. Using its magical power, he turns himself into a handsome Prince in order to vie for her love and thwart the sultan’s badass villain, the evil Grand Vizier.
The story is a mash-up of the movie version and an earlier version by songwriters Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman. In their version, Aladdin, much to the chagrin of his mother, is a busker who spends the days singing on street corners with his three layabout buddies Babkak, Omar and Kassim. In the Broadway version, Aladdin and his friends are thieves who are trying to go legit by becoming street performers. While the addition of these characters leaves no room for Abu the monkey, Aladdin’s three friends are one of the most entertaining elements in the musical.
All of the songs from the movie are featured, alongside four new ones written for the stage. Three of the songs that were cut from the film made it into the musical. But the musical version is not a carbon copy of the film. Abu the monkey and Rajah the tiger are gone, Rajah being replaced by three handmaidens who serve and advise Princess Jasmine. Iago is no long a parrot, but a mini-meanie of a man. Aladdin has three partners named Babkak, Omar, and Kassium. He has also been given a scene where he remembers his mother, and sings the song “Proud of Your Boy,” which was cut from the film. Two other songs cut from the film are added to the musical; “High Adventure,” and “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim” (performed at the 2011 Seattle tryout).
Four new songs are added, written by Chad Beguelin: “These Palace Walls,” sung by Jasmine and her attendants; “Diamond in the Rough,” sung by Jafar, Iago, and Aladdin; “Somebody’s Got Your Back,” sung by Aladdin, Genie, Babkak, Omar, and Kassim; and “Prince Ali,” the reprise sung by the Sultan and company.
Adam Jacobs, who originated the title role on Broadway, headlines the cast of the National Tour. His Broadway credentials include Marius in “Les Miserables,” Simba in “The Lion King.” He has also played those same roles on national tours, as well as Sky in “Mamma Mia” and the Prince in “Cinderella.” And in San Francisco Opera’s production of “Harvey Milk,” he portrayed young Harvey.
The charming Jacobs is joined by the irrepressible Anthony Murphy as Genie. He opens the show with the song “Arabian Nights,” but doesn’t return until towards the end of Act One where he kicks, flips, and riffs his way through a show-stopping rendition of “Friend Like Me.” One special effect follows another pyrotechnic, as Murphy’s razzle dazzle promises to bring down the house.
Join Jacobs and Murphy is Isabelle McCalla (Jasmine), and Jonathan Weir (Jafar), Reggie De Leon (Iago, JC Montgomery (Sultan), Zachary Bencal (Babkak), Philippe Arroyo (Omar), and Mike Longo (Kassim)
The film won the Oscar for Best Original Score and introduced the hit song “A Whole New World,” which won the second of the film’s two Academy Awards as Best Original Song. The Peabo Bryson/Regina Belle recording of the tune soared to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
“Aladdin” the musical leaves a global footprint wherever it plays, with productions in Tokyo, Hamburg, London, and Melbourne, in addition to the two U.S. productions. Expect amazing special effects, especially the magic carpet, a spectacle of color and plenty of pizazz–sequins and glitter galore, men in chest-baring vests, girls in diaphanous harem pants, and choreography that bounces between Vaudeville and high-stepping hoofing.
“Aladdin” runs Tuesday-Sunday, Oct. 12-29, at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre. Tickets start at $35 and are available on-line at STGPresents.org, Ticketmaster.com, by calling 800-745-3000 or in person at The Paramount Theatre Box Office (Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm). VIP Ticket Packages, which include prime seat locations, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available. Group orders of 10 or more may be placed by calling 1-888-214-6856. For tickets to the ASL/OC/AVIA performances, call the TTY line at 888-331-6774. For more information, visit AladdinTheMusical.com/tour.
Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, the show features music by Tony Award and eight-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by two-time Oscar winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony Award and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (Evita, Aida) and four-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), and directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon,Something Rotten!).
Adam Jacob (Aladdin)
Anthony Murphy (Genie)
Isabelle McCalla (Jasmine)
Jonathan Weir (Jafar)
Reggie De Leon (Iago)
JC Montgomery (Sultan)
Zachary Bencal (Babkak)
Philippe Arroyo (Omar)
Mike Longo (Kassim)
Korie Lee Blossey (Standby Genie & Sultan)
Ellis C. Dawson III (Standby Genie & Babkak)
Adam Stevenson (Standby Jafar & Sultan)
Director/Choreographer: Casey Nicholaw
Music Supervisor/Director/Vocal/Incidental Music Arrangements: Michael Kosarin
Orchestrations: Danny Troob
Dance Music Arranger: Glen Kelly.
Scenic Design: Bob Crowley
Lighting Design: Natasha Katz
Costume Design: Greg Barnes
Sound Design: Ken Travis
Illusion Design: Jim Steinmeyer
Hair design: Josh Marquette
Makeup Design: Milagros Medina-Cerdeira.