Philadelphia’s Upcoming Premiere of Disney’s Aladdin Is Everything You Could Wish For
When watching the vibrant production of Disney’s Aladdin it is difficult to divert your eyes for one moment.
Everything about this fantastical show is dazzling, colorful, thrilling, memorable and romantic, and a key ingredient of this success is the infamous role of the Genie, being performed by Michael James Scott for three weeks, from Wednesday, June 13 through Sunday, July 1, at the Academy of Music.
Aladdin is about the spectacular colors in the show, the glimmering costumes, flying carpets, and heart-felt songs, including A Whole New World, that you will leave the theater humming.
Aladdin is a character who has spent most of his life in poverty, but despite his struggles he has maintained a warm heart and selfless nature. It is a story of good versus evil, the bonds of friendship, and believing that love wins out in the end. It is easy to get lost in the magic of Aladdin.
Aladdin lets audience members soar away on a magic carpet of nonstop laughter and thrills in one of the most spectacular adventures of all time.
This is the story that takes place in the heart of Agrabah, an enchanted city, which finds a commoner, Aladdin, and his three friends trying to save the free-spirited Princess Jasmine from the schemes of the evil Jafar.
Aladdin’s life is forever altered when, after rubbing a magic lamp, a fun-loving Genie appears and grants him three wishes, setting him on an incredible journey of discovery, and a path to his true love.
Playing the Genie, one of the most popular characters in Aladdin, Scott originated the role in the Australian production, and is still enjoying his nightly jaunts of making all of our wishes come true.
“Aladdin is everything you will expect with a big Broadway musical and more,” says Scott. “If this is an art form you appreciate, which so many of us certainly do, then you can come and see some of the changes that have come as the show evolved, and all of its splendor.”
Aladdin first opened on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre to critical acclaim on March 20, 2014, and quickly established itself as one of the biggest new blockbusters in recent years, breaking 12 house records, and is still running strong to sold-out crowds.
The show has welcomed more than seven million people worldwide, with two U.S. productions, as well as those in Tokyo, Hamburg, London, and Melbourne.
Scott originated the role of “Genie” in Aladdin Australia, in which he won the Australian Tony called the Helpmann Award. Scott is best known for originating (The Maggots Guy) in The Book of Mormon.
His performing credits are numerous. On Broadway: Aladdin, The Book of Mormon, Something Rotten, Mamma Mia, Hair, Tarzan, All Shook Up, Elf & The Pirate Queen. West End: Hair (Asst. Choreographer) Other performing credits include: Fosse (International Tour), Jerry Springer: The Opera (Carnegie Hall), and Jersey Boys (Las Vegas).
His TV and film roles include : “The Carrie Diaries,” “The View,” “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show,” “The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” and “The Tony Awards.”
Aladdin, adapted from the 1992 Academy Award-winning animated Disney film and centuries-old folktales including One Thousand and One Nights, is brought to fresh theatrical life in this bold new musical. Aladdin’s journey sweeps audiences into an exotic world of daring adventure, classic comedy, and timeless romance.
This new production features a full score, including the five well-loved songs from the Academy Award-winning soundtrack and more written especially for the stage.
“It is with great excitement that we welcome this smash hit Disney stage musical to Philadelphia,” said Anne Ewers, President and CEO of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which oversees the Academy of Music.
“Audiences will remember all of the cherished songs from the famous Academy Award-winning animated Disney film and the popular musical soundtrack,” Ewers said. “This is a show for all ages, featuring adventure, comedy, and romance!”
What do you love about the Broadway musical Aladdin?
Michael James Scott: I have a great love for the show. It is based on the animated movie that so many people love. I loved the movie growing up. Actually, to do it on this scale is beyond anyone’s dreams.
Did you imagine what part you would play?
MJS: The Genie was never on my radar. I don’t know why. I never thought of myself playing a Genie. I’ve done five Broadway shows with our director (Tony Award winning choreographer for The Book of Mormon), Casey Nicholaw. We’ve done five Broadway shows together and I trust him an insane amount. When he told me, ‘I’d love for you to play the Genie, I was a little bit shocked.’ But it has worked out better than I ever imagined.
You performed this role on Broadway, Australia and now in the North American tour. So, what do you love about the Genie?
MJS: I am totally in love with the character – it is full of heart, light and love. This is a fun role to get to play every day. It’s a very beloved character and iconic character. Everybody wants to see the genie, and love him, so it’s really fun to be the guy to do that for them.
What is your performing history?
MJS: I’m from Orlando, and I grew up making commercials, appearing on TV shows, and then musical theater. My mom said I sang before I spoke. So doing this made a lot of sense. There are a lot of opportunities for children in Orlando, and I am very blessed to have been one of the kids to been able to have done so many things within the entertainment industries starting at a young age.
I am intrigued by your early success. So, what TV shows were you on as a child?
MJS: I was on Nickelodeon shows and the Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse Club.
Where does your confidence come from?
MJS: I was probably about seven years old. I had a wonderful elementary school teacher who saw something in me and told my parents that she felt I had something special to offer. So, she asked their permission to take me to auditions, and it grew form there. I am so grateful for that teacher. She took ownership of what she saw in mind and made it happen.That is incredible and proof how much impact great teachers have on their students.
MJS: She was such fun. Unfortunately, she passed away and never got to see me on Broadway, and I wish she was able to see me perform today. But she is always in my heart because I know without her my path would have been dramatically different. To have this woman who was insanely supportive of me, who we could trust and who took me under her wing is monumental. It is such a blessing just having that one person who believes in you and gives you the confidence. My parents are insanely supportive of me and my career and have always been. They didn’t know what auditions were about, or how to help me pursue this, but they were always in my corner.
Tell me about living and working on Aladdin in Australia for 18 months.
MJS: I was in Sydney for nine months and Melbourne the rest of the time, and it was truly a life-changing experience. It is an amazing country of people who love the theater. They all knew my resume and everything I had done and they love Broadway. It changed my life. I won the Australian Tony called the Helpmann Award. It was such a honor and to be the only American in the company and they really embraced me with everything they had.
What is this tour like?
MJS: We were in Denver for a month, a month in Cleveland and three months in L.A. So I try to get out to see the sights of the city that I am in. These cities have a great energy within their own community. This tour is a year old. I joined this tour in L.A. in January this year (2018).
What are your plans for the three weeks you will be in Philadelphia?
MJS: I have never been to Philly before this. So, I look forward to getting to see and explore a new city.
Will your family members see this Philadelphia show?
MJS: I bring them to every one of my shows, including Broadway and Australia, so they have seen Aladdin many times. They are coming to Philly because I was born in Baltimore, so a lot of my extended family and friends are still in Baltimore. This is really exciting!
What advice do you have for aspiring musical theater performers, or others with an impossible dream?
MJS: I always say when I do a talk back or a master class that you have to believe that what you have is more special than the person next to you. There are thousands of people in my profession, so you have to figure out what is going to make you stand out. I am the product of this. It may sound cliché, but if you believe in yourself and that what you have is special, it will come out and stand out. I truly believe that with all my heart!
What was it like the first time you saw a Broadway show?
MJS: It was about 14 or 15 years ago. I saw Beauty and the Beast as a freshman in high school during a New York trip from my performing arts school. My first Broadway show was an Elvis musical called All Shook Up, and performing on the stage for the first time is a moment I will never forget.
Why should people come to see this production of Aladdin?
MJS: If you haven’t seen it already you should come and see a beloved, big Broadway musical comedy that you may know from the animated Disney movie and the original elements. You will love this fantasy and love show – there is something for everybody in this show. That’s what I love most about it!
What are you planning for the future?
MJS: More of what I’m doing. I am very blessed that I am a successful actor. It is amazing that I am able to wake up each day and do what I love to do.
Tickets are on sale now and start at $20.00. Tickets can be purchased by calling (215) 893-1999, go to: kimmelcenter.org, or go to the Kimmel Center Box Office.
Group sales are available for groups of 10 or more and can be purchased by calling (215) 790-5883. For more information visit: kimmelcenter.org.
For more information, visit AladdinTheMusical.com/tour, Facebook.com/Aladdin and Twitter.com/Aladdin.
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