Did you ever hear that saying that it’s not official until it’s on Facebook?
Well, folks, it’s official.
Wait, there’s a Twitter account too!
Aladdin will be heading to Toronto in November 2013, where it will play for 9 weeks at the Ed Mirvish Theatre.
A few months later in 2014, Broadway will welcome Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theatre, where Mary Poppins will end its run in March.
The musical will cost about $12 million to make ($5 million more than Newsies, whose budget was a rarity as Disney productions go) and be directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, a director who won a Tony for his work on The Book of Mormon (one of the most popular shows on Broadway, that continues to bring in full-price ticket audiences.)
The book will be written by Chad Beguelin, who also assisted with the lyrics. (In the past, he’s co-written the book for The Wedding Singer and recently wrote the lyrics for Elf the Musical.) Bob Crowley, who has a history of working with Disney Theatrical, will be designing the sets. (This year, he won the Tony for his set design in Once the Musical.) Natasha Katz, another old Disney standby, will work on the lighting. Like Crowley, she worked on the same for Once the Musical and took home the Tony. Gregg Barnes will design costumes. (I really liked his work in the recent revival of Follies.) Ken Travis will handle sound design. His past work includes Newsies and Memphis.
Alan Menken, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin will be the masters of music and lyrics. (Along with some of Howard Ashman’s work from the animated feature. At least five songs will be used from it.)
As I’ve said before, I’m always a fan of more tenants in Broadway theaters, and I’m excited that Disney is bringing a new musical to New York City. But with that excitement comes apprehension too. Will such a beloved musical be able to translate to the stage in a new and exciting way, while still staying true to the reasons we loved it most?
Aladdin has always been one of my favorite animated films. It’s funny, it’s romantic, and the songs are fantastic. When I was young, I would play my cassette soundtrack over and over again, and pretend I had a good voice. But, as we’ve seen with musicals like The Little Mermaid, nostalgia cannot keep a Broadway show afloat. We can only hope lessons were learned.
I’m hoping a new script, new tunes, and a new set design will grant us the opportunity to experience a musical as monumental as The Lion King but with the room for it to grow its own unique identity.
As always, we must sit tight. There will certainly be more news to come.
Until then, check out this video of “Proud of Your Boy” — a track that didn’t make it in the animated feature but will very well hit the stage next fall.
You can sign up for updates about Aladdin the Musical at AladdinBroadway.com.