Planet Hollywood Celebrates Aladdin Star Courtney Reed
Courtney Reed, who made her Broadway debut in the long-running international hit Mamma Mia!, is currently starring as Princess Jasmine in the critically acclaimed new Disney musical Aladdin — directed and choreographed by Tony winner Casey Nicholaw — at the New Amsterdam Theatre. The Illinois native has been with the project since a 2010 reading; however, her connection to the material dates back to her childhood. Although Reed played Carla in the Tony-winning In the Heights, Jasmine marks the first role the young singing actress has created on Broadway.
The stage production, which expands the 90-minute film into a two-act format, has music by Alan Menken, lyrics by the late Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and book and additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin. Tony Award-winning director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon) directs and choreographs the musical, which officially opened on Broadway March 20.
The musical received five Tony Award nominations, winning for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (James Monroe Iglehart). It was also nominated for Best Book of a Musical (Beguelin), Best Choreography (Nicholaw), Best Original Score (Menken, Ashman, Rice and Beguelin) and Best Musical. Adam Jacobs (Les Misérables, The Lion King) and Courtney Reed (In the Heights, Mamma Mia!) starred in the show's Seattle premiere and recent Toronto engagement. Broadway performances began Feb. 26 at the New Amsterdam Theatre.
James Monroe Iglehart, of Broadway's Memphis, also reprises his performance as the Genie, and Jonathan Freeman, who voiced the nefarious villain Jafar in the 1992 animated Disney film and reprised his performance on stage, again plays that role.
Brian Gonzales, Brandon O'Neill and Jonathan Schwartz play Aladdin's sidekicks Babkak, Kassim and Omar, respectively, and Tony nominee Clifton Davis plays the Sultan with Don Darryl Rivera as Iago. Merwin Foard and Michael James Scott standby for several principals.
Rounding out the cast are Tia Altinay, Mike Cannon, Andrew Cao, Lauryn Ciardullo, Joshua Dela Cruz, Yurel Echezarreta, Daisy Hobbs, Donald Jones, Jr., Adam Kaokept, Nikki Long, Stanley Martin, Brandt Martinez, Michael Mindlin, Rhea Patterson, Bobby Pestka, Khori Petinaud, Aleks Pevec, Ariel Reid, Jennifer Rias, Trent Saunders, Jaz Sealey, Dennis Stowe, Marisha Wallace and Bud Weber.
Here's how the new musical is billed: "Aladdin, adapted from the Disney film and centuries-old folktales including 'One Thousand and One Nights' is brought to fresh theatrical life in this exuberant new musical. Aladdin's journey will sweep audiences into an exotic world of daring adventure, classic comedy and timeless romance. This new production features a full score, including the five cherished songs from the Academy Award winning soundtrack and more written especially for the stage."
Aladdin is designed by six-time Tony-winning scenic designer Bob Crowley, three-time Tony-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz, two-time Tony-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes and sound designer Ken Travis.
The production team also includes illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer and hair designer Josh Marquette. The music team is headed by music supervisor and music director Michael Kosarin, who also created the vocal and incidental music arrangements, joined by orchestrator Danny Troob and dance music arranger Glen Kelly.