www.whyville.net Sep 2, 2013 Weekly Issue

Veteran Times Writer

A Whole New Musical

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My family and I recently took the long flight over to southern California for a fun-filled vacation, determined to hit all the "must-sees". Of course, my favorite part of the trip was, hands down, three days in paradise at the ever so amazing Disneyland Resort. Memories like passing out on Space Mountain and a first aid station visit from Mickey and Minnie made stories to tell, but I'd have to say a stunning stage show of "Aladdin" definitely defined my experience. The whole performance was pure magic. I loved it so much that I went home and obsessively started looking up everything about it. My favorite find? Aladdin and his magic carpet are flying over to Broadway for a brand new musical to hit the stage this spring!

Previews for the show start on February 26th of next year, replacing the "Mary Poppins" run at the New Amsterdam Theatre, while opening night is set for March 20th. Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw will be directing, with a new book by play-write Chad Beguelin. The show will also feature music and lyrics from the original movie team of Alan Menken, Tim Rice, and the now deceased Howard Ashman.

While keeping with the fun and original idea of the film, there will be a few changes to "Aladdin" that Menken says hadn't made the cut for the movie, as well as to adapt the story to the stage. For instance, Aladdin's primate pal, Abu, has been entirely cut from the production, being replaced by Aladdin's 3 new best friends, Omar, Babkak, and Kassim. The trio will reportedly be serving as the narrators of the story. Additionally, Iago, Jafar's right-hand bird, will now be featured as a human sidekick, rather than his evil-doer feathered friend.

Among other things will be songs like "Proud of Your Boy" and "High Adventure", featured on the movie soundtrack but cut from the film, as well as new songs written by Alan Menken, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin specifically for the Broadway adaptation. Disney fanatics, myself included, have also been waiting for word if Princess Jasmine's solo "To Be Free", seen in the Hyperion Theater at Disney's California Adventure theme park will make the production cut, but there's been no official leak.

No set cast has been announced yet, although earlier in the year open auditions were held to the public, rather than just extending the invitation to those represented by an agent. This is hopefully a good sign that the casting directors were opening the talent pool as wide as possible, to find only the perfect actors for these beloved Disney characters.

Personally, I'm a little disappointed with taking out the animals such as Abu and Iago, to a point, and hope they decide to keep Jasmine's pet tiger, Rajah. Nevertheless, I still have high hopes for this musical and feel the preparations being put into it could make it as successful as the other currently running Disney show, "The Lion King". I love the magic, adventure, hope, and romance that are so synonymous with "Aladdin" and am incredibly excited to see it come to a Broadway stage. I can only hope I'll have the opportunity to make it over to New York City and see it for myself!

So what do you think, Times readers? Are you excited to see "Aladdin" on Broadway?

Author's Note: Sources: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/181617-Disneys-Aladdin-Will-Arrive-on-Broadway-in-February-2014


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