If you missed ALADDIN during it’s long run in London then fear not, Disney’s critically acclaimed Broadway and West End musical has now flown into Cardiff for this Christmas and New Year on its first ever UK and Ireland tour. And trust us, you ain’t never seen a show like this.
One look at the spectacular production trailer and you’ll be hooked – HERE.
If you need anymore convincing then join us on the Donald Gordon stage at the Wales Millennium Centre as we had an all access, hands-on morning with the cast, crew, set and props of this disney classic.
This really is one of Disney’s timeless stories. Aladdin is a thrilling production filled with unforgettable magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle! Don’t miss this extraordinary theatrical event already seen by over 14 million people worldwide, where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite.
We met the Genie himself played by YEUKAYI USHE (Disney’s The Lion King, A Strange Loop, Kinky Boots and Motown The Musical). GAVIN ADAMS – a recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Music – in his debut professional role as Aladdin. Fellow RAM graduate DESMONDA CATHABEL (Miss Saigon, From Here to Eternity) is Jasmine. ADAM TAYLOR Cabaret) is Omar – the Penarth performer is delighted to be spending the festive season back home.
We also chatted to the Company Manager NEIL WHITE, who is on his 11th professional visit to the Centre. He also made sure we didn’t pocket the magic lamp – which is actually really heavy.
It’s fair to say that Disney has now become a theatrical force, each film that makes it onto the stage has been a massive success. Just look at the likes of The Lion King, Frozen and The Little Mermaid.
Adapted from Disney’s 1992 animated film and centuries-old folktales including ‘One Thousand and One Nights‘, this smash-hit musical is brought to theatrical life in a unique and dazzling way. The show continues its record-breaking run on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre, and since opening there in March 2014, nine subsequent productions have launched around the world, including its 2016 West End premiere at the Prince Edward Theatre, London where the show ran until August 2019.
Also in the cast is Adam Strong (Rock of Ages) as Jafar, Jo Servi (Dreamgirls) as Sultan, Angelo Paragoso (The Reporter, Miss Saigon) as Iago, Nay-Nay (Once On This Island) as Babkak, and Nelson Bettencourt (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Les Misérables) as Kassim.
AlsoHannah Amin, Dammi Aregbeshola, Rico Bakker, Daisy Barnett, Sarah Benbelaid, Erin Gisele Chapman, Tau-En Chien, Zac Frieze, Juan Jackson, James Lim, Harriet Millier, Aaron Elijah Patel, Abbie Platts, Joseph Poulton, Olivier Scheers, Kerry Spark, Ricardo Spriggs, Damien Winchester and Niko Wirachman.
I was fortunate enough to spend a little time with Thomas Schumacher, President & Producer Disney Theatrical Productions some years ago. He is a man with fantastic vision. Talking about Aladdin he said…….
“As Aladdin approaches its second decade onstage, we are thrilled that the 11th production of the glorious Broadway show will soon be seen by audiences throughout the UK and Ireland. Thanks to Casey Nicholaw’s direction, Alan Menken’s music and the peerless design team of Bob Crowley, Natasha Katz and Gregg Barnes this show is a powerful tonic, an irresistible lift for every audience who sees it.’
The musical theatre performers in the UK and Ireland rival any on the planet and we look forward to presenting the best of them in this joyous new production.”
THE SOUTH WALES LIFE – TEN FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT ALADDIN
- To land Robin Williams, the animators created test sequences of the Genie performing the comedian’s stand-up routines.
- The character of Aladdin was meant to do for Disney Princes what Ariel and Belle had done for Disney Princesses.
- Aladdin is only one of 1,001 tales
- In the stage show there are over 300 costumes in the show – 337 to be exact. Which means a lot of outfit changes. In fact, one scene (that only lasts three and a half minutes) sees 24 actors wearing 71 different outfits
- In the original telling of the story Aladdin lives with his mum
- The film’s song “A Whole New World”, by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, became the first Disney song to win a Grammy for Song of the Year
- The first Aladdin sequel, “Return of Jafar,” was also the first direct-to-video sequel that Disney ever made
- Aladdin was initially modelled after Michael J. Fox, but Disney changed that to Tom Cruise
- Lea Salonga provided the singing voice for both Princess Jasmine and Mulan
- The stage show set is massive – weighing the equivalent of 4.5 double decker buses
Aladdin features the timeless songs from the animated film, as well as new music by Tony®, Olivier®, Grammy® and eight-time Acadamy Award® winner ALAN MENKEN (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by two-time Academy Award® winner HOWARD ASHMAN (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony® and three-time Academy Award® winner TIM RICE (The Lion King, Evita, Aida) and six-time Tony® nominee CHAD BEQUELIN (The Prom, The Wedding Singer), with a book by Beguelin, and is directed and choreographed by Tony® and Olivier® Award winner CASEY NICHOLAW (The Book of Mormon).
The show is designed by seven-time Tony®-winning scenic designer BOB CROWLEY, seven-time Tony®-winning lighting designer NATASHA KATZ, two-time Tony®-winning costume designer GREGG BARNES and sound designer KEN TRAVIS.
The production team also includes illusion designers JIM STEINMEYER and ROB LAKE, hair designer JOSH MARQUETTE and makeup designer MILAGROS MEDINA-CERDEIRA. The music team is headed by music supervisor and music director MICHAEL KOSARIN, who also created the vocal and incidental music arrangements, joined by orchestrator DANNY TROOB and dance music arranger GLEN KELLY. Casting by Jill Green CDG.
On the subject of illusions, and without spoiling anything – you will absolutely believe the carpet can fly. In fact, it’s not an illusion, Disney has waved it’s magic and created a real flying carpet. You’ll see what we mean when the show opens.
Here’s a sneak peek behind the scenes of the photoshoot and a chance to meet the three main stars…..
Disney’s ALADDIN is at the Wales Millennium Centre through to Sunday 14th January 2024. For more information go HERE. Incidentally, the performance lasts approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes including an interval.