Everything you need to know about Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre

By | Posted on 14-Jan-2019

Everything you need to know about Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre

Aladdin is now closed at the Prince Edward Theatre. Why not read about West End shows coming to London in 2020?

Making audiences “ooh and aah” since the show first opened in the West End in 2016, delve deeper into the cave of wonders of Aladdin. Find out more about what makes the show sparkle and listen to the songs that have turned the Disney film into a stellar West End hit.

All you need to know about Aladdin

What’s the background?

The story of Aladdin was first told in the 1992 Disney film, as part of a “Disney Renaissance” line up of films including Hercules, The Lion King and Mulan. Originally set in China, it was finally agreed to be set in Agrabah, a non-geographically disclosed Middle Eastern location

The film premiered in cinemas on 25th November 1992 and went on to have record-breaking success. Upon release, it went on to become the highest-grossing animated film of all time (before being beaten by The Lion King) and earned over $500 million at the box office! The film featured the vocal talents of Robin Williams as the Genie, who went on to win a Golden Globe Special Achievement award for his performance. Ever since, the tale of street rat Aladdin turned Prince Ali has become one of the greatest Disney fantasies, combining magic, mystery and excitement into a film that is bursting with Arabian wonder.

Capturing hearts around the world, the combination of wonderfully written songs and heartfelt storyline would always make for an exciting musical. In 2011, Aladdin was first performed in Seattle before a Broadway premiere in 2014 which continues to play in the US. In 2016, Aladdin transferred to the West End, sending audiences on their own magic carpet ride to another world.

What’s it based on?

Inspiration comes from an 18th-century Arabic folk tale called “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp”, a fairy tale that is often told to young children in the Middle East. Known as an “orphan tale”, the original story sees a poor, young boy named Aladdin in China who becomes trapped in a cave. Wearing his magic ring, he rubs his hands together releasing a genie into the cave. With the help of the genie, Aladdin’s wishes come true and he is able to live in a grand palace with wealth and happiness granted forevermore.

What’s the synopsis?

The musical follows a similar synopsis to the 18th-century folk tale, yet has been tweaked here and there to ensure the story is told with musical gusto.

As the curtain rises, audiences are welcomed to Agrabah in an Arabian night, where life is normal. Then we meet Aladdin, a “street rat” who has to steal food in order to survive. At the same time, there’s Princess Jasmine, a rich young woman who was born into wealth yet longs to explore the wider world. When Aladdin and Jasmine stumble upon each other in the streets, they form an instant connection, even though they are unaware of each other’s background.

No Disney story is this smooth sailing though. When Aladdin is set a mission by the Sultan’s evil right-hand man Jafar, Aladdin must retrieve a lamp from the Cave of Wonders. But, when he accidentally rubs the lamp, this becomes the ultimate change of destiny as Aladdin meets the Genie who grants him three wishes. Wishing to get out of the cave and be a prince, Aladdin is transformed into Prince Ali. But, will Prince Ali be able to get the girl of his dreams? Will good triumph over evil?

Who’s in it?

Matthew Croke plays the title role of Aladdin, previously performing in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and Funny Girl at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

Sugababes band member Jade Ewen has played the role of Princess Jasmine since the show’s opening night. Prior to this, she has performed in In the Heights at King’s Cross Theatre and Porgy and Bess at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

Trevor Dion Nicholas stars as the Genie, previously playing the role on Broadway.

Additional cast members include Fred Johanson as Jafar, Jermaine Woods as Iago, Irvine Iqbal as the Sultan, Leon Craig as Babkak, Julian Capolei as Omar and Daniel de Bourg as Kassim.

The ensemble stars Koko Basigara, Danny Becker, Angeline Bell, Robertina Bonano, Abigail Climer, Bianca Cordice, Nolan Edwards, Nordine Ezzahr, Antony Hewitt, Blythe Jandoo, Patrick John, Abigail Johnson, Travis Kerry, Dann Kharsa, Victoria Layzell, Mitch Leow, Oliver Lidert, Phil Mennell, Richard Murphy, Ian Oswald, Tarisha Rommick, Kyle Seeley, Dominic Sibanda, Ricardo Spriggs, Joshua Steel, Kevin Stephen-Jones, Kayleigh Thadani, Justin Thomas, Damien Winchester and Niko Wirachman.

What songs are in Aladdin?

Take a listen to the songs in Aladdin here, featuring the songs you’ll have heard from the film as well as new songs written specifically for the musical.

Unusual facts about Aladdin

The set for Aladdin took over 100,000 hours to build. Winning the Olivier Award for best set design, you’ll be blown away by the number of jewels and gold used in the Cave of Wonders.

Jonathan Freeman played Jafar in the original Broadway cast after voicing the cartoon villain in the 1992 film!

Photo credit: Johan Persson