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January 13, 2011 Comments (2) Views: 1340 #Theater and Stage, Arts & Entertainment, Stage

HUGE Theater News: The 5th Avenue Theatre to debut Disney’s Aladdin: The Musical this summer!

In a major coup for Seattle, the musical theater version of the classic Disney film, Aladdin, will debut at The 5th Avenue Theatre this summer. The show will feature the Academy Award®-winning score by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, but with additional new music written by Mr Menken. Librettist Chad Beguelin has written the book for the new show and contributed lyrics for the new songs with Mr Menken. (Howard Ashman, the original co-lyricist, died from complications from AIDS during the writing of the original film.) Previews for Aladdin begin July 7 and the show runs through July 31. The new show replaces the previously announced production of Oklahoma, which has been postponed until the 2011/12 season, dates to be announced. From the press release:

Ticket holders for Oklahoma will be receiving replacement tickets for Aladdin. Tickets for Aladdin are available by calling 206-625-1900/toll-free 888-5TH-4TIX (584-4849), at the box office at 1308 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101, or online at

The stage production will include ALL the Oscar winning songs from the film, as well as songs written but not used for the film, and “marks a return to the authors’ original vision: a loving homage to the Hope/Crosby “Road” films (of the 1940’s) with a score invoking the jazz sounds of stars like Cab Calloway and Fats Waller”. Director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw, who earned his first professional credit at the 5th Avenue before heading to Broadway to work on Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone and Elf: The Broadway Musical, will helm this production. This show has not been cast and no rehearsal schedule has been announced.
We’ll keep you informed on details as they develop.

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2 Responses to HUGE Theater News: The 5th Avenue Theatre to debut Disney’s Aladdin: The Musical this summer!

  1. Greg says:

    Hey so, DID YOU KNOW that Howard Ashman wrote lyrics for the songs for Alladin *while* he was dying of AIDS? Then he died (age 40) while the movie was still being made, and they threw out all his songs except three, and replaced then with lyrics by the slightly hack-ish Tim Rice. So maybe this talk of returning to “authors’ original vision” has to do with dragging some of Ashmans discarded songs out of the trashcan? Which would be nice, seeing as he was dying of AIDS while he wrote them, and all…

  2. Michael Strangeways says:

    From what I’ve read, Ashman/Mencken were snatched up by Disney after the success of “Little Shop of Horrors” and signed a long term deal with Disney. Beauty & the Beast and Aladdin were put into production back to back and the team was able to complete ALL the songs for Beauty and many songs for Aladdin before Mr Ashman passed away. I don’t think it was a question of disrespect that Disney didn’t use ALL the songs written by the team, but the fact that the creation of musicals is a long and complicated process. Songwriters frequently write MANY songs for a show that do not end up in THAT particular show. And, it’s not necessarily because the song is “bad” but the book/script might have changed and the song might not fit the new or changed story. Since Mr Ashman wasn’t around to work on the many revisions needed, they had to hire Tim Rice. (But, I would agree that Mr Ashman was a more talented lyricist than Mr Rice…) Since Ashman and Mencken came from a Broadway background, I think it’s only natural that they wrote a lot of songs for Aladdin. Broadway musicals typically require a good dozen or so songs; animated musicals usually only have half that amount, (not surprising since most cartoons are about 90 to 120 minutes long, while most theater shows are 2 and 1/2 hours or longer…)
    Regardless, it will be interesting to see this version of Aladdin. I’m guessing that it will be a little bit more adult, (but, Disney adult, ie safe for families, but humorous to grown ups) than the film and less Robin Williams-y.
    We’ll see…