Aladdin opened at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre on March 20, 2014 to critical acclaim

By Dave Quinn
April 01, 2019 06:54 PM
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Disney came up with a Genie-us way to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Broadway production of Aladdin.

On Sunday, the musical rang in the milestone by uniting five of the actors who’ve played the character of the Genie on stage for a surprise medley capping off the show’s matinee.

James Monroe Iglehart, who created the role on Broadway and picked up a Tony for his performance, returned for the special event. He was joined by current Broadway star Michael James Scott, current Broadway standbys Juwan Crawley and Deonte L. Warren, and Major Attaway — Iglehart’s Broadway replacement and the Genie on Aladdin‘s first national tour.

All were dressed in the sparkling blue costume that designer Gregg Barnes crafted for the character.

Each got their chance to sing a few non-Genie songs from Aladdin in the medley. Iglehart kicked things off with “Proud of Your Boy,” Aladdin’s ballad that was cut from the original animated film and restored for the stage adaptation. Crawley then did a gender-bending take on Jasmine’s “These Palace Walls,” a new tune added for the show to help round-out the the princess character.

From there, Warren, Attaway and Iglehart tackled another new number, “High Adventure,” and then Scott and Attaway sang the Oscar-nominated love tune “A Whole New World.”

To end things, all five came together to perform “Friend Like Me” — Genie’s show-stopping song. Joining them on stage was the full Broadway company.

“See you at the 10th anniversary, y’all,” Iglehart boasted.

Aladdin opened at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre on March 20, 2014 to critical acclaim. The show was nominated for five Tony awards that year, including the coveted best musical nomination. A national tour is currently traveling across the country.

Its story mirrors the 1992 film closely with a few new additions. Alan Menken’s classic songs (with lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice) like “Prince Ali” and “One Jump Ahead” are all reprised here, though there are a handful of new ones to flesh out the story (by scribe Chad Beguelin, who adapted the film’s book and also provided new lyrics).

The play also features a handful of new characters, and one familiar one: the evil Jafar, played on stage by Jonathan Freeman, who provided the character’s voice in the animated film.

Will Smith in Aladdin
| Credit: Disney

Of course, those hungry for more Aladdin will have a whole new world to explore on May 24, when Disney’s live-action remake of the film hits theaters — starring Will Smith as the Genie.

For the movie, directed by Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes), the fictional city of Agrabah will be created from global influences, including the Middle East, India and even China. Not only will the 1992 animated movie be a major influence, but the screenplay will go back to the classic Middle Eastern folktales of Arabian Nights.

All create a pretty package in the end. “IT IS FIRE” Smith teased last month, while promoting the first full-length trailer. “I AM HYPED!!! I can’t wait for y’all to see it.”

Tickets for Aladdin are now on sale.