Audiences love Disney on Broadway and these shows can be seen in touring, regional, community, and school theaters across the country. The Lion King has been running for almost 19 years! The first Disney musical that I saw was Beauty and the Beast and I fell in love with the music and magical components of that show. My personal favorites are the numbers that were added to the production and not part of the original movie like “Home”. This is true for me with a lot of Disney musicals. I adore “Positoovity” from The Little Mermaid, “Step in Time” from Mary Poppins, and “Proud of Your Boy” from Aladdin.
In 2010, I was invited to serve as the educational director at the Lake Dillon Theatre Company’s summer camp. In addition to spending the summer in the beautiful mountains of Colorado, I had the opportunity to direct almost 100 kids in a production of Aladdin Kids! I had three separate casts (approx. 33 actors in each cast) that had to learn the music, choreography, and blocking for this show. I already knew the music very well from the movie (which I saw as a child at the movie theater) and subsequently the vocal selections that I brought in to learn with my piano and voice teacher. We performed in an open amphitheater overlooking the water and this space gave me a lot of artistic freedom for audience interaction and creating the world of Aladdin.
Aladdin is an awesome show that has creative ways to incorporate a large ensemble and showcase students’ individual talents as well as build a cohesive cast. If I had a gymnast, I had a spot to feature him or her in “Friend Like Me”. Same thing with a breakdancer, beatboxer, belly dancer, fire breather… I love honing my students’ theatre technique while finding ways for them to share their special skills with the cast and audiences.
Aladdin is currently on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd Street. This is the same theatre where The Lion King started before moving to the Minskoff Theatre and making room for Mary Poppins to open. I wonder what new Disney musical will make its’ way into this theatre next…
Do you have a favorite Disney musical? Please comment and share!