Adam Jacobs, Courtney Reed, James Monroe Iglehart, and Jonathan Freeman Look Back on Aladdin
The Disney musical celebrates its first anniversary today, March 20.
It's been a year since Disney's Broadway production of Aladdin opened on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Before cutting into a cake especially created for the occasion by Beth Bennett of Bebe Bakes, TheaterMania quizzed stars Adam Jacobs (Aladdin), Courtney Reed (Jasmine), Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart (Genie), and Jonathan Freeman (Jafar) on some of the most magical moments they experienced in the past 12 months. Here's what they had to say.
Adam Jacobs (Aladdin)
There are so many amazing memories, but this one sticks out to me. I was onstage with the cast at the Tonys behind the curtain while the crew was quickly setting up the Cave of Wonders set for "Friend Like Me." At the very same time, the cast of Les Misérables was in front of the curtain performing "One Day More," which was the show in which I made my Broadway debut. Hearing that music, knowing they were marching in that signature "V" formation just 15-feet downstage of me on the other side of the curtain, while I was dressed and ready as Aladdin was totally surreal. It felt like a cosmic convergence, the past and present came together to create one incredible moment in time. Didn't have time to dwell in it though, because 30 seconds later, the curtain was up and it was time to shine. I'll never forget that odd, wonderful feeling though.
Courtney Reed (Jasmine)
On opening night (on Broadway) we got a standing ovation for "A Whole New World," and that was such an unbelievable feeling. To think we had already gotten one for "Friend Like Me," and this was the second standing ovation out of three total that night! I have never heard of a show getting that many standing ovations. It is hard to put into words the love we felt that night. I will remember that forever!
Jonathan Freeman (Jafar)
On September 25, 2013, a few weeks before leaving NYC for our out-of-town tryout in "Snowronto," I was looking out of the enormous glass windows of the New 42nd Street Rehearsal Studios with my new friend and sidekick in Aladdin, Don Darryl Rivera (aka DDR). We both agreed that almost nothing could be as exciting as our special view, staring out onto 42nd Street, and looking directly at what, four months later was to become our new home for Aladdin, the glamorous New Amsterdam Theatre. When I asked DDR if he wanted to walk over after rehearsal and see what was going on inside the theatre, his excitement was palpable. Aladdin is DDR's Broadway debut. We slipped in and were standing at the back of the house, when I heard him say something like, "Oh my god, I'm shaking." His enthusiasm was so infectious that even a hardened old veteran of numerous Broadway shows (I made my Broadway debut in 1975), felt my heart melt a bit when DDR said to me, "I'm feeling very emotional." When I walked DDR down the aisle, through the pass door, and up onto the stage, he said, "I think I'm gonna cry," and he did… and so did I!
James Monroe Iglehart (Genie)
I remember moving back to NYC with my wife before rehearsals started and we were coming back from dinner and decided we were going to catch the ferry bus back to Jersey on 42nd Street. As we turned the corner I saw the New Amsterdam marquee all lit up in our Aladdin purple for the first time. I was overwhelmed. I just couldn't stop smiling and without even knowing it the tears began to flow. My wife and I just stood there holding hands staring at the marquee: "Aladdin tickets on sale now!" blazing across the LED screen. It was awesome! I also remember walking from rehearsal over to the New Am and one of the doormen walked up to me and said, "Get used to this now, because it won't last." And I said, "What won't last?" He answered "Walking under this marquee without getting recognized by people." I will never forget that.
Aladdin opened at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre on March 20, 2014, after a 2011 run at Seattle's Fifth Avenue Theatre. The principals recently extended their runs in the show through February 21, 2016. Featuring a score by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice with songs such as "Friend Like Me" and the Academy Award-winning "A Whole New World," Aladdin features a new book and additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin.
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