Disney fans, get ready to re-live your childhood and go on a magical ride at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore this July!
Disney Theatrical Production is bringing 'Aladdin The Musical' to Asia for the first time, and judging from the little sneak peak that we got recently in Singapore, it's going to be spectacular; at least singing-wise.
Who doesn't know Aladdin; one of Disney's first movies featuring people of colour based on famed Arabic tale 'One Thousand and One Nights'?
While the story is not perfect, few can deny that the music and theatrics of it make up for plotholes and a slightly-problematic storyline.
The main cast - Gareth Jacobs (Genie), Graeme Isaako (Aladdin), Shubshri Kandiah (Jasmine) - and production company manager Matthew Henderson were in Singapore recently to launch the show and sing a few songs for the crowd.
It only took the cast only three songs to convince the crowd of mostly journalists that the show is worth watching, and wish that it'll be playing in Malaysia too.
Unfortunately, we don't have our very own Genie to grant us that wish.
In fact, the production house is ending the staging of Aladdin the musical after three long years and Singapore will be their final stop. If you want to catch it, this will be your last chance for a while.
According to Henderson, this production is probably the biggest and grandest theater production among all the Disney productions.
"I’ve done this for 20 years, and this is by far the biggest show I’ve worked on. The scale...it’s something you’ve never seen before," he said.
The show will have 34 members cast in it; who will be wearing 337 extravagant costumes throughout the show.
How extravagant, you ask? The costumes alone were made using 1,225 different fabrics, 712 types of beads, and close to half a million Swarovski crystals!
Henderson said that just for the tap section in the "A Friend Like Me" song, 1,200 Swarovski crystals were used to add 'bling' to Genie's pants.
Also, all the wigs used for the show are made from human hair and the stage is said to be magnificent (we can't attest to this because we haven't seen it in all its glory either, but it sure sounds like it'll be worth a view).
"It’s big, it's glitzy, it's glamorous and there’s a huge 'wow' factor," he said.
If you are wondering what will be different about the musical compared to the animation or live action movie set to be released in May, here's your answer:
"Everything you know from the movie is on the stage. I feel like some of the moments like the carpet has just been amplified and what the audience get to see and experience at the moment … I never had the joy of actually riding the carpet, but what I had was being in the auditorium and watching the audiences’ reaction to that and the show... it speaks to so many age groups.
"From kids to grandparents...and just the look on their faces when the carpet happens. And also you have this ginormous production numbers and it ticks every box you’d want in a musical theater piece," Henderson said.
The audiences also get to enjoy additional songs, some of which were written for the movie but never made it in the final cut and others that were written specially for the musical theater.
For those who've watched the original Aladdin movie released in 1992, there's going to be a lot of nostalgic feeling watching the show and perhaps some apprehension.
How can anyone replace the beloved Robin Williams who played Genie in the film? Nobody can. But Jacobs is bringing his own twist to the character and we have a feeling his version is going to be just as memorable.
"I was lucky enough to go to New York just before I took on the role and met James (James Monroe Iglehart, who played the character on Broadway). So, kind of got to talk to him about how he created the role and also I met Alan Menken as well, who created all the music. And talking to them they had kind of this idea that he was this 30s and 40s kind of lounge singer.
"So, knowing that and seeing what Robin Williams did all in the acting side of things. It’s like a giant jenga kind of tower that you put together.
"But doing that and being told that I could throw some of my own on top of that was just so exciting to do every night," he said.
Jacobs added that he never does the same thing every night. He wants to give something new to people who go back to watch the show and keep things fresh for himself as well.
Speaking about keeping it fresh, how do the actors do the same thing up to eight times a week over years and still manage to keep the show exciting especially when it comes to iconic songs like "A Whole New World" that they cannot get wrong?
"I think working off each other. There’s something different someone is giving every night, and feeding off audience’s reaction...it’s so beautiful to hear every night.
"Like when the carpet comes out (and there's) a gasp from the audience...it’s really magical and you work off that. It’s really a nice energy," said Shubshri.
Isaako agreed with her, saying that there was an excitement and 'butterflies' that the audience feel. It's important to the team to share the night with them, to keep things fresh and stay connected.
"Many people have watched the film back in 1992 and over the last 20 over years are feeling those emotions again.
"We just make sure we sort out our arguments before we go on stage," he joked.
You may think that it's their jobs to make everything sound exciting, and even if you're right they are good enough actors to pull it off!
Aladdin the musical will be coming to Marina Bay Sands from 21 July. The shows will be running Tuesdays to Fridays at 7.30 p.m, Saturdays at 2 p.m and 7.30p.m and Sundays at 1 p.m and 6.30p.m.
Ticket prices ranges from SGD68 (RM205) to SGD208 (RM627), not inclusive of booking fee of SGD4 (RM12), and can be bought online here. If you're a hardcore fan and want to go in a group of four or less, you can also book the box seats that costs between SGD592 (RM1,784) to SGD792 (RM2,386).