The mega-musical will take to Australian stages from August, but producers, Disney Theatrical, are still wishing for a lead female.
One of the world’s most loved animated films, Disney’s Aladdin, will come to life on stage later this year. However, the Australian debut cast, announced by Disney Theatrical this week, is still searching for the perfect person to fill the role of Princess Jasmine.
The musical tells the story of a young man, Aladdin, who spends his days stealing food from street vendors in the fiction middle-eastern city of Agrabah with his friends Kassim, Omar and Babkak. Aladdin later stumbles across a lamp with a hidden genie inside and uses his wishes to thwart the plans of the evil Grand Vizier, and marry Princess Jasmine – his one true love, and the daughter of the Sultan of Agrabah. It’s a musical that has been described by critics as “Broadway magic” and “fabulous and extravagant”, and the Sydney production looks set to be just as impressive.
The rest of the star-studded principal cast were announced just this week, with newcomer and Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts graduate Ainsley Melham making his professional debut in the title role of Aladdin. Adam Jon Fiorentino, who’s appeared in Saturday Night Fever and Mary Poppins, will play the role of Kassim. George Hanare, the renowned New Zealand actor, will appear as the Sultan, and Broadway’s Michael James Scott will play the mischievous Genie, whose animated counterpart was voiced by the late, great Robin Williams. The ensemble cast will be one of the most diverse and multi-cultural in Australian theatrical history, including Jakob Ambrose, Daniel Camilleri and Chaska Hallida, among others.
“Director Casey Nicholaw and his team have created an entertainment as full of heart as it is joy, and I cannot wait until we get to play it in Sydney, one of the world’s great theatre cities,” said the Producer of Disney Theatrical, Thomas Schumacher, in an interview with News.com last year. Schumacher noted the importance of finding actors who fit the roles on the basis of appearance, but are also capable of the physical requirements. “These people are trained like athletes. There is no pre-recording and it is pure talent that shines and ultimately leaves you totally satisfied.”
The musical, based on the 1992 animated Disney film of the same name, premiered in Seattle in 2011 and opened on Broadway in 2014. The film was a box-office hit, taking in $500 million worldwide to become of the highest-grossing film of 1992. The search for a lead female to appear as Princess Jasmine in the Australian mega-musical spectacular continues. Aladdin is the second of Disney’s animated classics to become a global stage hit, following the international success of The Lion King.
Aladdin will open at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in August 2016, and tickets will be on sale from Tuesday 8 March.