Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Aladdin to Premiere in Japan!

Firstly, a big thanks to Sotiris (@sotiris2006) for bringing this to my attention last week!  After some rumours about London earlier this year (more on that in a second) it's now been officially announced that the first international production of Aladdin will open in Tokyo in May 2015.
Disney Theatrical Productions is once again teaming up with the Shiki Theatre Company to bring Aladdin to Japan.  This will mark the 5th collaboration between Disney Theatrical and the Shiki Theatre Company following 1995's Beauty and the Beast, 1998's The Lion King, 2003's Aida and 2013's The Little Mermaid.  Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions said "The heart and wit of the timeless tale of Aladdin, the Genie and those three wishes are beloved by cultures across the globe.  We look forward to bringing Casey Nicholaw's joyous, spectacular production to Japan in partnership with our valued friends at Shiki."
Chiyoki Yoshida, President and Representative Director of the Shiki Theatre Company echoed Schumacher's excitement, saying "I am very honored to be able to bring Aladdin to Japan as its first production outside of Broadway.  Shiki Theatre Company and Disney will celebrate our 20th year of partnership next year.  Aladdin is sure to open a door to 'a whole new world' for the live entertainment industry in Japan."
The Tokyo production will be cast locally in Japan and will be performed in Japanese.  The production will debut in May 2015 at the Dentsu Shiki Theatre Umi in Tokyo.
Whilst this is the first international production of Broadway's Aladdin, an earlier version of the show has previously been performed in Denmark and the Philippines in 2012/2013.
On the subject of international productions the Daily Mail's gossip columnist and entertainment writer Baz Bamigboye has hinted a few times that word is that Aladdin will be coming to London's West End, though probably not before 2016.  He first mentioned this in his 1st May column, stating that it was initially hoped that Aladdin would play in the Palladium in 2016 but Disney wanted to wait for the Prince Edward Theatre (where they did Mary Poppins and where Miss Saigon was then due to open) so Aladdin's West End debut would be delayed until "late 2016 or 2017".  This changed in his 26th June column where he reported that the success of Miss Saigon had changed Disney's mind about waiting and that the "top executive for Disney Theatricals will meet Palladium officials to discuss whether the Palladium would be the right venue for the Disney musical Aladdin in 2016."  Whilst his first report went mostly unnoticed, or at least uncommented on, this second report had more traction, being reported on Broadway World and several West End sites.  I did reach out to Disney Theatrical UK back in June but, understandably, received no reply.  Whilst I would love for the show to come to the West End this remains strictly a rumour for now.

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