Disney's Aladdin May Fly Into Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre Following Mary Poppins
By Adam Hetrick
The Broadway production of Disney's Mary Poppins will fold up its umbrella this spring at the New Amsterdam Theatre, according to reports in the New York Times and the New York Post. Sources state that Disney is hoping to bring the musical based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature Aladdin to that Broadway venue.
Disney debuted a full-length stage adaptation of the 1992 film, penned by composer Alan Menken and lyricists Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre in the summer of 2011. The stage production, directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon), features a new book by Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), who penned lyrics along with Menken.
At the time of Aladdin's Seattle premiere, Disney representatives told Playbill.com that the material was not being groomed for a Broadway future, but was being staged to test the property for future licensing. That was also the case for a 2011 regional engagement of Newsies, which proved to be so popular Disney transferred it to Broadway last season. It nabbed Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Choreography.
Members of the original Seattle design team have indicated that they will work on the Broadway production of Aladdin, though a wholesale import of the Seattle staging is not planned. The writers and creative team have continued to refine the material since the 2011 pilot production. Broadway audiences will see a fresh take on the material.
Disney representatives could not confirm the report to Playbill.com. Tickets for Mary Poppins are currently on sale through August.
A timeline for its Broadway arrival was not revealed. Reports indicate that Mary Poppins will end its nearly seven-year run in March or April in order to allow the New Amsterdam Theatre to undergo renovations before the arrival of Aladdin.
Two separate productions of Aladdin, reflecting the original Seattle script and score, were staged last summer at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Utah and at the MUNY in St. Louis.
The new stage production of Aladdin features cut songs and moments from early drafts of the property. Here's how it was billed in Seattle: "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 film. 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."
The 5th Avenue design team for Aladdin included 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).
The Seattle premiere cast featured Adam Jacobs (The Lion King) and Courtney Reed as Aladdin and Jasmine, respectively, with James Monroe Iglehart (Memphis) as the Genie, and Tony Award nominee Jonathan Freeman, who voiced the nefarious villain Jafar in the 1992 animated Disney film, reprising his performance on stage.
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