Monday, 28 January 2013

Casting Calls Go Out for Broadway's Aladdin

Oh boy does it feel good to be writing that!

Late last week Playbill posted the official Equity listings for Aladdin, including Principal Auditions, Chorus Call for Dancers and Chorus Call for Singers for auditions early next month.  Full listings can be found by following the links.

The listings describe the show as;

"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. 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."

For those who are successful at the auditions (and those of us who want to know when we can expect to hear the first real hints about the new production) the show dates given are;

Rehearsals begin in NYC: Fall 2013.
Playing in Toronto: Early Winter 2013/2014
Rehearsals in NYC: Winter 2014.
Begin performances in NYC: Spring 2014

The principal roles on offer are;

20s, any ethnicity. Clever, resourceful street urchin with a heart of gold; best friends with Babkak, Omar and Kassim; seeks a life beyond the confines of poverty. Soaring bari-tenor voice.

20s, any ethnicity. Intelligent young princess with insight beyond her years and station; seeks a life beyond the confines of privilege. Fantastic belter that can mix through the break to soprano.

20s, any ethnicity. Chubby, romantic desert dweller, part of Aladdin’s band; the “Crosby” of this Arabian “Road” picture, although perhaps with a bit more flair. Power tenor.

20s, any ethnicity. Nervous, thin, reedy desert dweller, part of Aladdin’s band; the “Lamour.” Bari-tenor.

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

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

For those of you who can remember these listings are almost identical to those released for 5th Avenue's Pilot Production back in January 2011.  The only additions are "any ethnicity" and the vocal descriptions.

More interesting is who's missing.  Namely Jafar, Iago and Kassim.

Back when 5th Avenue's Casting Calls were released only Jafar was missing and the role was famously filled by Jonathan Freeman, making him the first actor from one of Disney's animated classics to bring his own character to life on stage.  Obviously nothing has been confirmed (or even rumoured) but my best guess is that Jonathan Freeman will once again be bringing Jafar to life when Aladdin hits Broadway.  Now that really would be a wish come true!

Could Jonathan Freeman be bringing Jafar to life on stage once more?
Jonathan Freeman and Don Darryl Rivera as Jafar and Iago in 5th Avenue's Pilot Production
But what about Iago and Kassim?  Does this mean that they've already been cast too?  In the 5th Avenue's Pilot Production the parts were played by Don Darryl Rivera and Brandon O'Neill and, whilst I'd love to believe that they've both already been confirmed for the roles (they did originate them after all), it seems strange that Disney Theatrical would make the rest of the original cast re-audition if this was the case.  Either way, Disney Theatrical clearly has people already in mind for these roles.  I can't find any rumours on who they might have approached to play the parts (so I'm going to continue championing the original cast), but if they are recasting then only one name comes to mind - Gilbert Gottfried!

For all the lastest news on the show, including casting, make sure you like the show on Facebook, follow @AladdinBroadway on Twitter and sign up for email updates from the show's official website!

And finally two quick updates from around the web.  Firstly The New York Times confirms that Proud of Your Boy WILL be in the show (didn't really doubt it but with the re-writes it's great to have that confirmed) and says that the expected budget for the new production is between $12 and $15 million dollars, which is significantly more than budget of the Pilot Production in 2011.  And secondly, Yahoo News' Mark Kennedy has posted an interview with Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher where he says that he wants the show to have a lot of humour and a lot of heart.  If it's anything like the production I saw at the Tuacahn last year, it will certainly have both.

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