Sunday, 17 June 2012

The Muny Cast for Disney's Aladdin

Hi everyone, sorry this post is so much later than promised.  I kinda realised last weekend that we were VERY close to flying out to Utah and hadn’t got anything ready!  Pretty much all set now though, so on with the show!

Robin de Jesus is Aladdin

Two time Tony Award Nominee Robin is best known for bringing the character of Sonny to life in the musical In the Heights in both the off-Broadway production and then on Broadway (so it’s quite possible he worked alongside Seattle’s original Jasmine, Courtney Reed!) for which he received one of his Tony nominations. Robin has also appeared in the Broadway production of Rent and starred as Jacob in La Cage aux Folles (another Tony nominated performance).  In addition to his Broadway credits, Robin has also appeared in film and on TV, having appeared on Law and Order: SVU and How to Make it in America and having rolls in films such as Camp and Gun Hill Road (amongst others) with more movies due out later this year.

Samantha Massell is Princess Jasmine

Born and raised in New York City, Samantha has been performing since she was a child (asking her parents for an agent when she was just 8 years old).  Samantha made her Broadway debut in Baz Luhrmann’s production of Puccini’s La Boheme in 2002, staying with the production for its full 8 month run and also performing with the cast on the 2003 Tony Awards.  Studying musical theatre (with a double major in English) at the University of Michigan, Samantha has performed in a wide variety of shows including Little Women, Next to Normal, Brigadoon and Hair.  During her summer "holidays" Samantha was working at The Muny, starring in shows like Titanic, Sound of Music, Kiss Me Kate, Singin’ in the Rain and Bye Bye Birdie.  Graduating with highest honours, Samantha has now returned to The Muny to play Princess Jasmine.

John Tartaglia is Genie

John first joined Sesame Street as a puppeteer at just 16 years old, he remained with the show for 10 seasons and still guest stars today.  Given this history it’s no surprise that John’s Broadway debut was in the original production of Avenue Q where he created the roles of Princeton and Rod (for which he was nominated for a Tony Award).  John is still with Avenue Q, now as the resident director of the current off-Broadway production.  Between starring in and then directing Avenue Q, John originated the role of Pinocchio in Shrek: The Musical and has appeared in a wide range of children’s TV series.  Indeed, John is no stranger to Disney, being know to families world wide as Johnny from Johnny and the Sprites (for which he received the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series) and having appeared on the Broadway stage as Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast.

Thom Sesma is Jafar

A familiar presence both on and off Broadway, in regional theatres and on TV, Thom (like Jonathan Freeman and Michael G. Hawkins before him) has a very impressive and extensive resume covering everything from musicals like Miss Saigon to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night to TV’s Law and Order. Thom recently starred in the all-star Shinsai: Theatre for Japan benefit held in memory of the tragic events of March 2011.  He would seem a perfect fit for Jafar, having been playing the Disney villain Scar in The Lion King for almost 3 years now, first for a 2 ½ year run in Las Vegas before returning to New York in January to play the role on Broadway opposite Seattle’s original Aladdin, Adam Jacobs in the role of Simba!

Curtis Holbrook is Iago

Curtis Holbrook is a regular at The Muny, having starred in Footloose, Kiss Me Kate and Singin’ in the Rain (for which he won a Kevin Kline Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor).  In 2009 Curtis recreated the role of Action in the Broadway revival of West Side Story, and has previously appeared on Broadway in shows such as All Shook Up, The Adams Family and Xanadu amongst others.  He has also starred in a wide variety of off-Broadway and regional productions, as well as on film (Hairspray) and TV (most recently on the musical hit Smash which has also featured an appearance by Seattle’s Genie, James Monroe Iglehart).

Eddie Korbich is Babkak

Eddie made his Disney debut as Scuttle in The Little Mermaid, staying with the show from its preview run in Denver right through to its final bow in New York, and it’s great to see him back in another Disney musical.  Eddie last appeared at The Muny in 2003's Show Boat and has an extensive Broadway resume having appeared in shows such as Sweeney Todd, Wicked, Seussical, After the Night and the Music, Carousel, Singin’ in the Rain and a Drama Desk nominated performance in The Drowsy Chaperone. He also has extensive regional, TV and voice over credits to his name.

Jason Graae is Omar

Jason has starred on Broadway in numerous shows, including A Grand Night for Singing, Falsettos, Stardust, Snoopy! and Do Black Patent Leather Pants Really Reflect Up?  His off-Broadway credits include a Drama Desk nominated performance in Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh and his one-man show has toured the US and was featured in Time Out NY’s Top 10 Cabaret Shows.  As well as Broadway, Jason has worked regularly in Los Angeles, winning 2 LA Drama Critics Circle Awards and appearing in shows such as Guys and Dolls and The Music Man.  As well as musical theatre, Jason has also appeared on TV, in shows such as Friends and Frasier, and performed opera with LA Opera. On top of this, Jason is no stranger to Disney or Alan Menken, having had a role in Home on the Range.

Francis Jue is Kassim

A regular face at The Muny, Francis has previously starred in The King and I, Mame, Peter Pan, Miss Saigon and Damn Yankees.  His most recent production with The Muny was another Disney classic last year when he brought the role of Sebastian to life in The Little Mermaid.  On Broadway he has created the role of Bun Foo in Thoroughly Modern Millie and also starred in Madame Butterfly and Pacific Overtures.  As well as at The Muny, Francis has also starred in many other regional productions, winning multiple awards for shows such as In the Next Room, Cabaret and Into the Woods.  He has also appeared on TV, starring in shows such as Law and Order and The Good Wife.

Ken Page is the Sultan

A St. Louis native, Ken Page is perhaps best know as the voice of Oogie Boogie in the Tim Burton film The Nightmare Before Christmas (a role he has returned to numerous times over the years for Disney theme park shows, video games, etc.).  On Broadway Ken has an extremely impressive resume, featuring shows such as Guys and Dolls (1976's all black revival for which he won a Theatre World Award), The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (both the original production and the revival!), Cats and It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues.  He has appeared on stage internationally in London’s West End (including the recorded production of Cats) and in Paris.  A regular star at The Muny, Ken has performed award nominated and award winning performances in shows such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables, The Wizard of Oz and Aida, along with being the voice of Audrey II in the Ashman and Menken classic Little Shop of Horrors and King Triton in last year’s production of The Little Mermaid.

And that about wraps it up!  The show runs 5-13th July and tickets are available here.  With such a short run and the popularity of both the original Seattle production and the Tuacahn’s current production, I’d make sure you get tickets sooner rather than later if you’re planning to go as they likely won’t last long.

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