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In Broadway style: Aladdin, genie, magic lamp in Mumbai soon to grant you a wish

This is the second Broadway musical that Disney has brought to India, after Beauty and the Beast in 2015.

mumbai Updated: Apr 16, 2018 13:51 IST
Prakruti Maniar
Prakruti Maniar
Hindustan Times
Mumbai culture,culture buzz,Aladdin
Aladdin’s lamp, one of the props to be used in the play.(Photo courtesy BookMyShow)

Elaborate sets, flying carpets, a genie and the romance of Aladdin and Jasmine — expect a whole new world at the National Centre for the Performing Arts as Disney’s Broadway musical, Aladdin, opens in the city on April 20.

It’s a reimagined version with an all-Indian cast but much of the same music, similarly lavish sets and the fairytale costumes that have made the Disney production so popular in the US, UK, Australia and Japan. “Aladdin’s story may not feel as exotic to us, so the challenge was to bring in an Indian context without tinkering too much with the production’s iconic value,” says director Shruti Sharma.

“It’s been a part of childhood. As grown-ups, you see more to the story than the magic, you see each character’s journey, see more in the genie’s quest for freedom.”

This is the second Broadway musical that Disney has brought to India, after Beauty and the Beast in 2015, on which Sharma was associate director.

Composer Dhruv Ganekar is acting as music director and has recreated some of the music as big band orchestra pieces, “So the audience will feel it is being played live,” as he puts it. “Songs like ‘One jump ahead’ and ‘Friend like me’ [from the original Disney animated film] will add a touch of nostalgia,” he adds.

So what are the changes? They’re subtle, Sharma hints. The wedding scene, for instance, has gone from a white wedding theme to one that incorporates pastels and golds. “We don’t want to steer away too much from the original,” says costume designer Gavin Miguel. Kira Narayanan will play Jasmine.

Aladdin will be played by Siddharth Menon, 28, and Taaruk Raina, 23. “Siddharth is a calm, poised, romantic Aladdin; Taaruk has a street-smart, happily wily vibe,” says actor Roshan Abbas, who plays Jafar. “For most of us, Genie is Robin Williams and my performance is a tribute to him,” says RJ Mantra, 33. The cast began rehearsals in January, which included vocal coaching by Bollywood playback singer Suzanne D’Mello. “It was important for them to be able to recreate the magic of a Broadway-style production,” she says.

Iago, Jafar’s sidekick, is now a parrot personified. “We have tried to twist it so you are left wondering, ‘Is he a parrot or a human?’ All in all, it’s a package, filled with music and magic,” Sharma says.

  • What: Aladdin, Disney’s Broadway-style musical
  • Where: National Centre for the Performing Arts, Nariman Point
  • When: April 20 to May 6
  • Tickets prices start at Rs 750 and are available online.

First Published: Apr 14, 2018 23:39 IST