Disney's Aladdin — Live On Stage, at the Hyperion Theatre at Disney's California Adventure park — begins performance at the Anaheim hotspot on Dec. 9.
The first production for Hyperion under the artistic direction of Anne Hamburger, Aladdin will feature direction by Francesca Zambello and choreography by Swing!'s Lynne Taylor-Corbett. Based on the Disney film, the live version will feature the film score that was written by Alan Menken, Tim Rice and the late Howard Ashman. Chad Beguelin has written a book, and casting is currently underway in both New York and Los Angeles.
Director Zambello is best known for her work with major opera companies throughout the world, including The Royal Garden, Covent Opera, English National Opera and L.A. Opera. Her production of Lady in the Dark for London's Royal National Theatre received a 1997 Evening Standard Award for Best Musical.
Zambello recently spoke about the upcoming production of Aladdin, which will feature numerous special effects. In fact, three of the musical numbers — "One Jump Ahead," "A Friend Like Me" and "A Whole New World" — will be staged with effects that will fill the entire theatre. Says Zambello: "Disney has engaged a notable design team to transform the theatre into a magical place with stunning imagery, brilliantly vivid sets and wondrous stage effects that include Aladdin and Jasmine on a magic flying carpet. The show will take us from the hustle and bustle of the marketplace in Agrabah, to the interior courtyard of the castle, to a trip around the world. We hope that our audiences will walk away with their eyes opened about the magic of theatre and its ability to transport us to another time and place that stimulates our minds and touches our hearts. And in all of this, there are some fabulous musical song and dance numbers with all of the glitter and panache of Broadway — borrowing just a bit from Las Vegas and the Catskills."
The design team Zambello mentions includes Tony Award-winning set designer Peter J. Davison; costume designer Anita Yavich; and lighting designer Mark McCullough. The show's musical arranger is Timothy Mark Williams. A spokesman for the show said there are no plans for a Broadway production of Aladdin at this time. For more information, visit www.disneyland.com.
Written by Roger Allers and Ron Clements and directed by Clements and John Muser, Disney's 1992 "Aladdin" featured the voices of Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman, Frank Welker, Gilbert Gottfried, Douglas Seale, Bruce Adler, Brad Kane and Lea Salonga. It won the 1993 Academy Award for Best Original Score.
—By Andrew Gans