The Genie is back on Broadway!
Following its temporary closure since October 1 due to breakthrough COVID-19 cases detected within the company, the international hit Disney musical Aladdin resumes performances at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre October 12.
The musical reopened on Broadway September 28 following the 18-month coronavirus shutdown, but the September 29 evening performance was canceled due to breakthrough COVID-19 cases. Performances resumed September 30 following two rounds of testing, but the show announced October 1 that it would again temporarily close.
“I believe these positive cases are most likely related to an exposure from one positive case,” Blythe Adamson, an epidemiologist working with Disney Theatrical Productions, said October 1, adding that the extended hiatus would allow individuals who tested positive the time needed to fully recover and allow the company to identify any additional breakthrough cases before the cast gathered again.
The musical is the first, and to date only, Broadway production to cancel a performance due to the coronavirus since productions started to welcome back audiences in June. Aladdin, like all other shows, requires all company members and audiences to be vaccinated; those ineligible to receive a vaccination against COVID-19 (due, for example, to age) must show proof of a recent negative test.
The reopening cast features Michael Maliakel in the title role and Shoba Narayan as Jasmine. Maliakel is making his Broadway debut, having recently toured the country in the 25th anniversary production of The Phantom of the Opera. Narayan’s previous Broadway credits include Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and Wicked.
Aladdin's reopening also welcomed Zach Bencal as Babkak and Frank Viveros as a Genie/Sultan/Babkak standby, both joining the Broadway cast after performing the roles in the North American tour. Also returning to the production: four original company members in principal roles (Michael James Scott as Genie, Tony nominee Jonathan Freeman as Jafar, Don Darryl Rivera as Iago, and Dennis Stowe as the Jafar/Sultan standby) as well as Milo Alosi as Kassim, Brad Weinstock as Omar, JC Montgomery as Sultan, and Juwan Crawley as a Genie/Sultan standby.
The ensemble features Tia Altinay, Mary Antonini, Netanel Bellaishe, Michael Callahan, Mike Cannon, Matthew deGuzman, Jacob Dickey, Mark DiConzo, Olivia Donalson, Josh Drake, Samantha Farrow, Jacob Gutierrez, Heather Makalani, Stanley Martin, Paul Heesang Miller, April Holloway, Amber Owens, Jamie Kasey Patterson, Bobby Pestka, Ariel Reid, Tyler Roberts, Jaz Sealey, Charles South, Angelo Soriano, and Katie Terza.
The stage production, which expands the 90-minute film into a two-act format, has music by Alan Menken, lyrics by the late Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and a book and additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin. Nicholaw directs and choreographs.
Aladdin opened at the new Amsterdam March 20, 2014, following previews that began February 26. The musical was nominated for five 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. James Monroe Iglehart won the Tony for his performance as the Genie.
The production team also includes illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer and hair designer Josh Marquette. The music team is headed by music supervisor and music director Michael Kosarin, who also created the vocal and incidental music arrangements, joined by orchestrator Danny Troob and dance music arranger Glen Kelly.