Disney's Aladdin Will Come to Life on Stage at Seattle's 5th Avenue; Casey Nicholaw Will Direct
By Adam Hetrick
Tony Award nominee Casey Nicholaw will stage the world-premiere, two-act stage musical adaptation of the Academy Award-winning Disney film Aladdin at the 5th Avenue Theatre this summer.
The new stage adaptation will incorporate the Oscar-winning songs from the 1992 film, penned by composer Alan Menken and lyricists Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Aladdin will also have a new book by Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), who will pen new lyrics along with Menken.
Aladdin will debut July 7-31 with direction and choreography by Nicholaw. The pilot production will be used to launch the new two-act version as a licensable property for professional and amateur organizations through Music Theatre International, which handles rights for Disney Theatrical titles. Disney representatives told Playbill.com that the production is not being groomed for a Broadway future.
The new stage production of Aladdin will feature cut songs and moments from early drafts of the property. "Proud of Your Boy," a popular song with lyrics by Ashman, was originally cut from previous drafts and could make its debut in Seattle.
According to the 5th Avenue, "[Aladdin] 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."
The Seattle production will not be the first time that Disney has let the genie out of the bottle on stage. Disney California Adventure Park also showcases Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular and in 2009, Houston's Theatre Under the Stars debuted a pilot production of a dual-language version of Aladdin.
Other versions of Disney's Aladdin have been available for years through MTI's Kids and Junior series, which offers pared down versions of stage musicals, geared toward youth theatre performers and young audiences. Disney has also previously developed "Mulan," "Cinderella," "Alice in Wonderland" and "High School Musical" for its youth theatre series.
Disney is also at work on a theatrical adaptation of its 1992 live-action film "Newsies," which also features a score by Menken and a new book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein. The property has been sought after by numerous schools and theatre groups across the country for years, and will likely receive its own pilot staging in the near future prior to being released as part of Disney's theatrical licensing catalogue.
The 5th Avenue design team for Aladdin will include scenic designer Anna Louizos (High Fidelity, In The Heights), Tony Award-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes (The Drowsy Chaperone), Tony-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz (Beauty and the Beast, Aida), dance arranger Glen Kelly (The Producers, Drowsy Chaperone) and musical supervisor Michael Kosarin (Beauty and the Beast, Sister Act).
Casey Nicholaw received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for his work on The Drowsy Chaperone as well as Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Choreography for Spamalot. He also directed and choreographed the recent Broadway production of Elf: The Musical, as well as the Encores! productions of Follies and Anyone Can Whistle and choreographed the Encores! production of Bye Bye Birdie, the New York Philharmonic staging of Candide and the Carnegie Hall presentation of South Pacific.
Menken's Academy Award-winning compositions include "Under the Sea" from Disney's "The Little Mermaid," "A Whole New World" from "Aladdin," the title song from "Beauty and the Beast" and "Colors of the Wind" from "Pocahontas." His screen musicals also include "Newsies," "Hercules," "Enchanted" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" which was later adapted for the stage. His new musical Sister Act will debut at the Broadway Theatre this spring, while Leap of Faith is aiming for a fall Broadway bow. His stage musicals also include Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors, Weird Romance, A Christmas Carol and the oratorio King David.
For tickets visit 5thAvenue.
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