Two years ago, one month before beginning Broadway previews for Aladdin, Adam Jacobs didn't need a magic lamp for his wishes to come true. On Jan. 27, 2014, his wife, Kelly Jacobs (also seen on Broadway in a Disney musical — Mary Poppins) gave birth to fraternal twins, Jack Loren Jacobs and Alex Gregory Jacobs.
"What's been great is my wife has been such a pillar — such a strong…force. I just saw 'Star Wars,' so I'm thinking of the force," laughs Jacobs. "She lets me sleep in a little bit, especially [on] two-show days. I don't have to get up when they get up. They get up around 6:30-7 or sometimes earlier. She'll spend the morning with them for a few hours before I crawl out of bed around 9:30. I just have to have my sleep in order to perform at that top level."
Jacobs had just finished his first show on a Wednesday afternoon — the last Wednesday in 2015, to be exact — and was talking about his boys from the Disney offices above his theatre on 42nd Street, where he plays the scruffy street rat Aladdin eight times a week.
"Just now there was a young boy who looked like he could be Alex grown up in a few years," he says. "I guess I'm a little partial now to the boys than to the girls, in a way, but I'm still, in general, more partial to children now that I'm a father. I try to give them a little bit more attention and ask them questions [at the stage door] — how they liked the show and what they liked the best. I like that. It's really cute, and the parents appreciate that, too."
For the entirety of the show's New York run (the twins were born on the first day of rehearsals for Broadway), Jacobs has been balancing fatherhood with performing, and the best part has been being able to spend his afternoons with the boys until he has to hit the streets of Agrabah.
"Recently, they've been saying goodbye to me because now they can speak. They're doing two-word/three-word phrases, and just recently they're able to say, 'Goodbye, Daddy.' When I say, 'I've got to go to work now. I'm off to work! I'm going to go to the show. Daddy's got to go to work,' Jack will come up and say, 'Goodbye, Daddy' [with a hug], and Alex will try to say, 'Goodbye, Daddy,' but it comes out, 'Da-ga-boo-buh,'" he smiles as he explains. "He's not as facile with the words yet, and he'll sometimes come up and give me a hug, as well. He's usually the one that's busy with his toys and stuff, but it's sweet now that they can really relate to each other and to us and to the world and communicate."
Although twins, they couldn't be more different, according to their dad. Jacobs describes Jack as the more verbal child while Alex is a bit more athletic.
"[Jack is] sort of the bully in a way, but he's also not as physically strong as Alex," he says. "Alex is a climber. He's all over the place. He was riding the scooter at like eight months. He picks things up very quickly. However, Jack — even though he's…not as strong as Alex — will go up to Alex and take toys from him!"
No magic lamps for the two-year-old twosome, though. "They've been backstage, [but] they have not come to see the show yet. They're still a little young, but I'm hoping that maybe by the end of this year/next year, they'll come see it… Maybe we'll just have them pop in in the back for a second!" he says. "They know that I'm Aladdin. They don't 'get it,' per se. They'll see the cast recording CD or they'll see me dressed up as Aladdin, and they'll be like, 'Daddy! Aladdin.' So they sort of know that. They'll see the T-shirts that Squigs drew [with] a cartoon version of me, and they're like, 'Daddy!' It's really cute."
As for Aladdin, Jacobs says that he's never worked on a show for as long as this one (with the exception of Les Misérables, in which he performed a year-and-a-half on the road and a year-and-a-half on Broadway, so his run spanned two different companies).
But, the Disney gig hasn't gotten old. Both Aladdin and Simba (the part he played in Broadway's Lion King) were dream roles. "I have to pinch myself. How did that happen? What are the odds of that happening?" he asks. And, when he did have a few minutes to spare over the last two years — when he wasn't playing Dad or Disney Star — he worked on his album of Alan Menken tunes, "Right Where I Belong," a fitting title for this chapter in his life.
"I feel like I'm sort of getting into an old leather chair that's your favorite chair," says Jacobs of where his path has led him, and more specifically of his nightly Magic Carpet ride during "A Whole New World." "That's what it feels like now. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride."