Inside the 2014 Tony Nominees: Best Musical

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Image Credit: Deen van Meer

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Aladdin

Opened: March 20, 2014
Starring: Adam Jacobs, Courtney Reed, Jonathan Freeman, and James Monroe Iglehart
Music by: Alan Menken
Lyrics by: Howard Ashman and Tim Rice
New Lyrics and Book by: Chad Begeulin
Directed and Choreographed by: Casey Nicholaw
Synopsis: Based on the hit animated Disney film, Aladdin tells the story of a young thief who finds a magic lamp and unlocks a genie that will grant him three wishes.
EW review: “Overall, this is one of the better Disney stage musicals, complete with several eye-popping production numbers that benefit from Nicholaw’s spirited choreography, Bob Crowley’s elaborate and chameleonic sets, and Gregg Barnes’ glittery costumes.” (Thom Geier)
Listen to this: “Friend Like Me” 
Nominations: 5 — Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Chad Beguelin), Best Original Score (music Alan Menken; lyrics Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin), Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (James Monroe Iglehart), and Best Choreography (Casey Nicholaw)
Fun Fact: This is not Disney’s first attempt at getting its magical musical onstage. In fact, another stage version of Aladdin has already been playing for over a decade. Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular opened in California’s Disneyland back in 2003; the 45-minute, scaled-down production still enchants audiences with multiple performances each day.
Odds of Winning: The Disneyfied hit will need a genie’s wish to land the prize.
Jonathan Freeman on re-creating the role of Jafar“I get a little Disney buzz sometimes. It takes a team of people — Gregg Barnes designed these incredible costumes, and Cheryl Thomas does my makeup every night, and Gary Martori gets me into my beard, and then my dresser Barry Hoff gets me into that big outfit and those metal cuffs and I put on the turban, I look in the mirror, and I’m like, ‘Yes, that’s him.’ And then we go downstairs and put the cape on because it’s too big to travel back and forth on. And the shoes. Oh, the shoes.”
Chad Beguelin on adding new songs to the show: “I think what we really wanted to do was make sure that people who loved the film and loved the characters got those big moments. Of course, we’ve got ‘A Whole New World,’ ‘One Jump,’ ‘Prince Ali’…we wanted to make sure that fans were really satisfied and happy, but we also wanted to bring in a lot of other themes and characters to sort of flesh it out.”

NEXT: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical 


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