Good news if you are a fan of Disney’s Aladdin. This year, not only you will get to see the live-action adaptation of the 1992 Oscar-winning animated film in May, its hit Broadway theatrical production will also make its debut here in Singapore, its only stop in Asia, at Marina Bay Sands in July.
So it was a thrill when Musings on the M49 was invited to the media launch for Aladdin the musical for which its three leading stars–namely Gareth Jacobs (Genie), Graeme Isaako (Aladdin) and Shubshri Kandiah (Jasmine)–flew in specially to publicise the show.
The event was held at Sands Theatre at an auditorium behind the main stage. Besides drinks and canapés, there were also costumes from the show set up on site for guests to admire up close.
Aladdin, which tells the story of a street urchin who wins the heart of a princess with the help of a genie, promises to present the most lavish sets, vibrant costumes and
stunning special effects ever to be seen at the Sands Theatre.
The musical, which made its world premiere on Broadway in 2014 , will have over 330 glittering costumes, featuring more than 1000 fabrics and almost half a million Swarovski crystals. Its mega sets include the fantasy city of Agrabah, the Sultan’s palace, and the legendary Cave of Wonders.
Songs Maketh the Musical
And not forgetting of course, the Oscar-winning score and songs by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin (who also wrote the book). The musical features five songs from the beloved animated film including the all-time classic, ‘A Whole New World’, plus a few more written specially for the stage version.
After opening addresses by the good people responsible for bringing in Aladdin, we were introduced first to the Sydney-born, New Zealand-raised Graeme Isaako who plays the titular character. Armed with a dazzling smile and “K-pop hair” (his words, not mine), the singer/dancer/actor spoke on how hard he had to work for the show, especially as Aladdin is a very energetic character for whom parkour skills are required, besides singing and dancing abilities. Issako, who made his musical debut in 2002, then showed off his smooth vocals when he performed ‘Proud Of Your Boy’, a ballad that was cut from the original film.
Next up was Shubshri Kandiah who hails from Queensland and who won the role of Jasmine in the Australian production of Aladdin straight after graduating from university in 2017. The radiant artiste disclosed how delighted she is to play a princess who is “feisty and independent” and “close to my heart”. After revealing that one of her favorite songs in the stage musical is ‘A Million Miles Away’, in which Jasmines sings about her dreams, she teamed up with Isaako to sing the all-time favorite, ‘A Whole New World’, which thrilled the audience no end.
Finally, we met with the Genie himself in the form of Gareth Jacobs who has led the Australian touring company in this role from Melbourne, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand. After revealing that Aladdin was the very first film he saw as a nine-year-old, Jacobs informed us that his favorite moments of doing the stage musical are performing the 15-minute showstopper, ‘Friend Like Me’; being shot out of a cannon; and improvising jokes. Most of all though, it was meeting his idol, composer Alan Menken, in person when he first took on the role.
When asked if he will do anything exclusively for the Singapore show, Jacobs–who had previously lived and worked in Singapore for five years–affirmed that he (as the Genie) often tells some jokes that is relevant to the city the show is playing at and so local audiences here will have to “watch and find out!” He then ended his segment with a rousing performance of ‘Friend Like Me’ with the help of two sassy back-up singers.
After a Q&A session, the cast generously posed for photos with almost everyone who was present, complete with magic lamp. Alas, I didn’t get a chance to rub it and make a wish, let alone wishes three. Still, I got to hold it and got close to a smiling genie, so that’s good enough for me!
Aladdin the Broadway musical plays at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore from July 21, 2019. Performances: Tue to Fri, 7.30pm; Sat 2pm & 7.30pm; and Sun 1pm & 6.30pm. Tickets from $68++ from www.marinabaysands.com/ticketing or www.sistic.com.
Unless stated, all photos by Marguerita Tan. No text or images from this post are to be used without the blog author’s permission.