Friday, 21 January 2011

3 Wishes to be exact

Well, this was originally intended to be the second post on this blog, but then I found the casting calls and they started selling tickets, so this opinion piece kinda took a back seat to the actual news.
As everyone now knows, the Seattle run of Aladdin: The New Stage Musical is a pilot production to launch the show as a licensed production through MTI, and not a preview run for an eventual Broadway production.

I know a lot of people, myself among them, have been disappointed by this news, so this piece is going to look at my "wishes" for what will happen during/after this pilot production.

Wish 1 - Seattle Cast CD
At first I thought this was a real long shot as the show is only going to run for a month, but the more I think about it, this could be a real possibility. A lot of shows in the UK, including the 25th Anniversary Tour of Les Miserables last year, have started doing live recordings instead of studio recordings. Add to that the fact that MTI have accompaniment CDs for all their Disney shows (you can hear clips from Aladdin Jr. on their website), and it makes sense that Disney would want to record their cast as the "demo" CD to guide the professional and amateur groups who are going to perform the show in the future. If they don’t, then Disney or MTI are going to have to get other people in to do the CD to go with the show materials, so it makes sense to just record the Seattle cast whilst they’re performing the show.

Ok, I admit it’s reaching a bit, but it’s certainly not impossible. High School Musical On Stage (also developed to be licensed out) never received a CD, but then HSM didn’t have the amount of changes Aladdin is going to have. This is their best opportunity to get a professional recording of the "lost" Howard Ashman songs, and I just hope Disney take it!

A CD might be more of a certainty if wish 2 comes true...

Wish 2 - An Official Disney Tour
If Aladdin does well (and there’s no reason to believe it won’t) then it’s possible that Disney will want to do their own professional tour before allowing other professional groups to license the show through MTI.
I believe the same thing happened with High School Musical - developed primarily for licensing out to schools, the show was so successful that Disney did their own official tour. Add to this the fact that Disney registered the domain early last year (along with a LOT of other potential show domains) then this looks like a VERY good possibility if Seattle goes well. In fact, I’d probably say an official tour is more likely than a Seattle Cast CD.

As much as I hate the fact that this show isn’t Broadway bound, I’d be very happy if Disney did an official tour next year. Plus this being a touring production would hopefully mean it would come to the UK sooner rather than later. Beauty and the Beast has been touring here for years since ending its West End run, but neither Tarzan or The Little Mermaid have made the leap across the pond to the West End. A touring production could skip the West End and hopefully open in the UK within a year or two of the US Tour if the show is successful.

And if a tour happens it certainly makes the chances of cast recording much more likely!

Wish 3 - DVD
Saving the most unrealistic for last! As the show isn’t Broadway bound and Disney is only planning to license the show out for others to perform after the Seattle run, I’d love to see a recording of the Seattle production released on DVD/Blu-Ray.

Realistically I know this won’t happen, especially as there’s a very good chance Disney will do an official tour if Seattle goes well, but I can dream!

The 20th Anniversary DVD/Blu-Ray rumoured to be coming next year would be the perfect place to showcase this, allowing people to see the original version of the story that never made it to the screen.

Well, those are my 3 wishes... I guess someone else will have to free the Genie, I’m off to watch Aladdin!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

On Sale Today!

The 5th Avenue Theatre is now selling tickets for Aladdin: The New Stage Musical!  Follow this link to buy yours now!

If you do go, be sure to tell me what you think of the show and what the new (old?) story is like!

I remeber how excited I was when the Denver tickets for The Little Mermaid went on sale and I ended up having to call the theatre as their website wouldn't process my UK card.  I hope those of you who do get to see this are as excited now as I was then.

And in the unlikely event that anyone reading this went to the auditions today (which, if I'm working the time difference out right, are happening right now), I just want to say best of luck!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Can I call you Al?

Casting notices have gone out for Aladdin: The New Stage Musical.

BroadwayWorld's Equity Listings have posted the casting call which takes place tomorrow.  I'm posting the cast list below, if anyone wants more details on the actual auditions, please go to

BABKAK – 20s, chubby, romantic desert dweller, part of Aladdin’s band; the “Crosby” of this Arabian “Road” picture, although perhaps with a bit more flair.

OMAR – 20s, nervous, diminutive desert dweller, part of Aladdin’s band; the “Lamour”.

KASSIM – 20s, tough (inside and out) desert dweller, part of Aladdin’s band; the “Hope”.

ALADDIN – 20s, clever, resourceful street urchin with a heart of gold; best friends with Babkak, Omar and Kassim; seeks a life beyond the confines of poverty.

JASMINE – 20s, intelligent young princess with insight beyond her years and station; seeks a life beyond the confines of privilege.

SULTAN – 50s, kind-hearted, widowed ruler of Agrabah; gets so caught up in following the law and tradition that he overlooks his daughter’s desires and gets swindled by his own vizier .

IAGO – 40s, dim-witted, classic-comedy lackey to Jafar.

GENIE – 30s-40s, quick-witted, fast-talking, ancient genie who knows all time and place; an old-school song-and-dance man.

RAZOUL – stern captain of the Royal Guard.

ENSEMBLE - all shapes and sizes.

The cast list confirms that the cut characters of Babkak, Omar and Kassim have been added back into the story, so it seems likely the cut songs "Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim", "How Quick They Forget" and "High Adventure" will be in the show.
Interestingly Jafar isn't listed, so I guess it's safe to assume that the role has already been cast, or at least offered to someone!  Hopefully it won't be too long now before we hear more details!

Lets Make Some Magic!

First rumored earlier this month, Disney Theatrical have confirmed that the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle will host the World Premiere of Aladdin: The New Stage Musical, with a pilot production running from 7-31 July 2011.

In the words of the 5th Avenue's website;

"Because of our recent successes with the Tony Award-winning musicals Hairspray and Memphis, the producing and creative teams at Disney have specifically selected The 5th Avenue Theatre as the one and only place to bring an all-new musical production to life – Aladdin: The New Stage Musical. We are thrilled to partner with Disney on this prestigious new project.
Aladdin will feature a cast and creative team drawn from Seattle and Broadway. Several 5th Avenue veterans return for the production, including acclaimed director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw. The 5th Avenue Theatre is where Nicholaw received his first professional choreography gig (The Prince and the Pauper, 2001) and where he later choreographed My Fair Lady (2002). On Broadway, Nicholaw won praise as the choreographer of Spamalot, and as the director / choreographer of The Drowsy Chaperone and Elf: The Broadway Musical, garnering three Tony nominations for his work.
Music for Aladdin is by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Tangled), who has won a total of eight Oscars, more than any living person. Lyrics are by the late Howard Ashman (Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid) and Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Chess, The Lion King). Librettist Chad Beguelin wrote the books for The Rhythm Club, Wicked City and The Wedding Singer, which premiered at The 5th Avenue in 2006. Menken and Beguelin contribute additional lyrics.
This new Aladdin incorporates all of the beloved songs from the film's Oscar®-winning score plus never-before-heard Menken/Ashman songs restored from early drafts of the score. It marks a return to the authors' original vision: a loving homage to the Hope-Crosby road pictures with a score invoking the jazz sound of stars like Cab Calloway and Fats Waller.
Based on the much loved animated film, Aladdin: The New Stage Musical tells the story of a street-smart commoner whose whole life changes with one rub of a magic lamp. The new stage production will be a feast for the eyes and ears and a magical treat fit for the whole family.
We look forward to seeing you soon at The 5th."

Tickets are not yet on sale, but I've seen one site reporting they will be tomorrow.  I'm not sure how reliable that is, but those who had tickets for the now cancelled Oklahoma are automatically being transferred to Aladdin, so tickets are likely to be on sale sooner rather than later.  Be sure to keep checking for the latest information!

Sadly, it has also been announced that this limited run in Seattle is not an out of town preview before a Broadway opening.  It is instead a pilot production that Disney Theatrical intend to use to launch the show as a licensed production through Music Theatre International (MTI) for professional and amateur organizations.  MTI already licenses a wide range of Disney shows from full Broadway productions such as Beauty and the Beast, to single act Junior and Kids versions of popular animated classics such as Aladdin.

My aim with this blog is to follow the production and limited run of this show in as much detail as I can.  Mostly it's being done for me, as I love Disney Theatrical productions and Aladdin was my favorite film growing up, so this production is a dream come true for me.  At the same time, I'm hoping others will find it interesting and if (like me) you won't be able to see this for yourself, it may be the next best thing to being there... at least until the videos hit youtube ;o)