A backstage pass to Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway

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The cast of Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway recently took to Reddit for an AMA (ask me anything) session. Adam Jacobs (Aladdin), James Monroe Iglehart (Genie), and Jonathan Freeman (Jafar) responded to fans questions. The whole interview is worth reading, but here are some of the highlights:

When was the last time they let their heart decide? James responded with a story from his recent trip to Walt Disney World:

I let my heart decide whether to go on Space Mountain or the new Seven Dwarves Mine Ride and Fantasy Land? I went on Seven Dwarves, because that was the coolest roller coaster I’ve been on in a LONG time. It shouldn’t be cool, and you expect because it’s Snow White it’ll be all kiddie and stuff, and the minute you go down, it’s not a regular thing – it was a good hard decision.

Where James’ take on The Genie comes from:

the AMAZING, Late Great Howard Ashman – he is the mind, the brain, behind Aladdin, the idea of it to be a Disney film. His original idea for the Genie was to be more like Cab Calloway and Fats Waller – and so because I’m such a huge fan of Robin Williams, and he’s such a legend, I didn’t want to touch his material. No one can be Robin. Only Robin. So when they told me about Howard’s original idea, I didn’t feel so afraid to make it my own, because that world – Cab Calloway, Fats Waller – that swing music – I know that world. And also, our wonderful director Casey Nicholaw, he told me to find my own Genie. So I started doing all the silly things I think are funny. What you see onstage is me with the volume onstage turned up to about 30. So I got to be as silly as I want to be, while still paying homage to the film. I saw the film when I was 17, in 1992, and i’m a HUGE fan, so I wanted to give play to that.

Jonathan Freeman (who also voiced Jafar in the movie) on stealing form the movie for Jafar:

Good point. I do try to steal a little bit of Jafar’s physicality from the film, since i’m not that much like him physically, I do try to steal what I can – because I think that was really a huge part of it.

I can’t get enough of Disney’s Aladdin. I hope to get up to NYC soon to take in a show for myself. But in the meantime, I’m happy that ABC7 in NYC has shared this backstage look at the musical.

Join Lori Stokes as she ventures backstage:

I love the reaction from Tony Award winning James Monroe Iglehart when he learns he’s going to be the Genie on Broadway. Iglehart is as big a Disney fan as they come (he was recently in Central Florida to attend the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party). So he really brings it every night because he knows that he’s now a part of Walt Disney’s legacy.

If there’s one thing this video makes clear, it takes a small army of talented artists and technicians to make Aladdin one of the top tickets on Broadway. You won’t find a better group on Broadway, nor a happier audience at the end of every performance.

Have you seen the show? What did you think?

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