The Disney film "Aladdin" is heading to Broadway, and in a NY1 exclusive, Frank DiLella was on hand for the show's pre-Broadway opening in Toronto. He filed the following report.
TORONTO - It's been more than two decades since Disney's prince burst on to the big screen, and now, all these years later, the time has come for his Broadway bow.
"Aladdin," which is currently having an out-of-town run at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto, is based on the Arabian folktale about a young boy who is granted three wishes by a genie. Adam Jacobs plays the title character, and Courtney Reed plays his princess.
"I always loved the movie growing up. I watched it a million times," Jacobs says. "To be playing Aladdin here in Toronto and then on Broadway, it's going to be, it's just a dream come true."
Q: How does it feel to be a Broadway princess?
Reed: Oh my gosh. It is just so surreal. I mean, I feel like I'm flying high on a carpet ride.
As for the creative team, Casey Nicholaw, the Tony award-winning director of "The Book of Mormon," is at the helm. In addition, the production continues a long-standing partnership between Disney and celebrated tunesmiths Alan Menken, the late Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.
Chad Beguelin, who was represented on Broadway in years past with "Elf" and "The Wedding Singer," is responsible for the book and new lyrics.
"The original score with Howard Ashman that never made it into the movie, and to be able to have those songs now enriching what we did for the movie is huge, but then also, that experience of working for the first time with Tim Rice, also on Aladdin, which was an amazing experience," Menken said. "And then the next level is working with Chad Beguelin, who wrote a fabulous book and wrote some of the new songs."
Stage veteran Jonathan Freeman is no stranger to his character, the evil Jafar. He originated the villain in the 1992 film and is the first actor in history to reprise an animated role on Broadway.
Broadway audiences, get ready to make way for Prince Ali. "Aladdin" is set to begin previews at The New Amsterdam Theatre starting in February.