All eyes are on the whole new musical Aladdin running at 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle from July 7 to July 31, directed by Tony-award winning Casey Nicholaw and we got an exclusive interview with Chad Beguelin, composer and lyricist of the new songs for the show and book-writer. Check it out!
What's the key to bringing a movie to the stage?
I think the key to adapting a beloved movie like Aladdin is to keep the elements that are iconic to the film. We want to stay true to the spirit of the movie, but also expand the story and make it work as a stage experience.
When Howard Ashman and Alan Menken first began to work on Aladdin, they wanted it to have the feel of an old Bing Crosby/Bob Hope "Road to Morocco" movie. Some of that was lost in the film version and we're trying to bring that influence back. It is a style that works very well for musical comedy.
What can you tell us about the changes in Aladdin's characters, now for the musical?
There were three characters that were cut from the film. They were Aladdin's friends Babkak, Omar and Kassim. Together with Aladdin they form a street band and try to raise money by performing on the streets of Agrabah. We've added these characters back in, along with several songs that were cut from the film.
How many new songs will there be in Aladdin?
We've added several songs that were written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman that were cut from the film. They include, "Proud of Your Boy," "Call Me a Princess," "Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim" and "High Adventure." In addition, I've written three new songs with Alan Menken. They are "A Million Miles Away," "Somebody's Got Your Back," and "A Royal Wedding."
Every Disney and musical fan expects Friend Like Me and Prince Ali to be showstoppers. What will they look like?
Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw is doing an amazing job staging the numbers. I don't want to give too much away, but he definitely has a few surprises up his sleeve.
Tell us about your how you collaborated with Alan Menken.
Alan has been wonderful to work with. At first I was definitely a little intimidated, but Alan is so warm and generous that my nerves instantly went away. He is also very protective of Howard Ashman's work and I am a massive fan of Howard Ashman, so we immediately saw eye to eye.
Part of Alan's goal was to introduce new generations to the amazing work Howard did on Aladdin. It's thrilling to know that these truly brilliant lost songs will live again.
Will the musical eventually come to Broawday?
The goal right now is to create a version of the script for Disney's theater licensing catalog.
Were you a Disney fan when you were a child?
Disney was a huge part of my childhood. I had a huge two-album set of Disney songs that I listened to constantly. It was definitely the soundtrack of my youth!
Thank you very much, Chad!
Thanks to you, guys!
Aladdin plays July 7-July 31 (press opening July 21) at The 5th Avenue Theatre (1308 5th Avenue, Seattle.) For tickets and information, the public may visit www.5thavenue.org, or call the box office at (206) 625-1900. Tickets may also be purchased at 888-5TH-4TIX (584-4849).