Today Marks First Day of Rehearsal For Disney’s Aladdin
Jonathan Freeman as Jafar
to Bring Iconic Roles to Theatrical Life
Brian Gonzales, Brandon O’Neill, Jonathan Schwartz, Clifton Davis, Don Darryl Rivera, Merwin Foard and
Michael James Scott
Round Out Principals Headlining Cast of 34
The full cast of Disney’s Aladdin, a new musical based on the Academy Award® winning animated film, began rehearsals today in New York City. Aladdin will launch at Toronto’s Ed Mirvish Theatre (formerly the Canon) November 1, 2013 to January 5, 2014. Opening night there is November 21, 2013.
CLICK HERE to download photos of the first day of rehearsal.
Adam Jacobs (Aladdin) has appeared on Broadway as Marius in Les Miserables and Simba in The Lion King. Main stem credits of James Monroe Iglehart (Genie) include Memphis and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Courtney Reed (Jasmine) has appeared in the Broadway productions of In the Heights and Mamma Mia. As Jafar, Jonathan Freeman brings to the stage the role he indelibly created in the animated film. His Broadway credits include The Little Mermaid, The Producers and his Tony®-nominated turn in She Loves Me.
The show also stars Brian Gonzales, Brandon O’Neill and Jonathan Schwartz as Aladdin’s sidekicks Babkak, Kassim and Omar; Clifton Davis (Sultan) returns to Broadway where he received his first Tony nomination for the landmark production of Two Gentlemen of Verona in 1971; and Don Darryl Rivera as Iago. Merwin Foard and Michael James Scott will standby for several principals.
In a cast of 34, Aladdin will also feature Tia Altinay, Mike Cannon, Andrew Cao, Lauryn Ciardullo, Joshua Dela Cruz, Yurel Echezarreta, Daisy Hobbs, Donald Jones, Jr., Adam Kaokept, Nikki Long, Stanley Martin, Brandt Martinez, Michael Mindlin, Rhea Patterson, Bobby Pestka, Khori Petinaud, Ariel Reid, Jennifer Rias, Trent Saunders, Jaz Sealey, Dennis Stowe, Marisha Wallace and Bud Weber.
Full list of actors’ bios below. To download headshots, click on the actor’s name in his or her bio.
“We have an extraordinarily diverse and quite beautiful company of actors and dancers and singers who also happen to be blessed with vaudeville chops,” said director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw. “I think that will surprise people who expect they’re just going to see the film onstage.”
“Partnering with Casey to gather this remarkable cast of Aladdin has been exhilarating,” said Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer Disney Theatrical Productions. “The first day of rehearsal always represents the excitement of what’s to come and I’ve rarely felt that more than with this group. I fell in love with some of them when we worked on the show in Seattle; others are just joining us, but collectively they are the perfect company to bring our new musical comedy to life.”
Aladdin features music by Alan Menken; lyrics by the late Howard Ashman and Tim Rice; and book and additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin. Casey Nicholaw directs and choreographs.
Tickets are on sale for the Toronto engagement at Mirvish.com or by calling (416) 872-1212 or (800) 461-3333. To receive news about Aladdin, please sign-up for email alerts at www.aladdinbroadway.com.
Aladdin, adapted from the Disney film and centuries-old folktales including “One Thousand and One Nights,” is brought to fresh theatrical life in this exuberant new musical. Aladdin’s journey will sweep audiences into an exotic world of daring adventure, classic comedy and timeless romance. This new production features a full score, including the five cherished songs from the Academy Award winning soundtrack and more written especially for the stage.
The animated film Aladdin was released by Disney in 1992 and was a critical and box office smash, grossing over $500 million worldwide (not adjusted for inflation) and becoming the highest-grossing film of the year.
The film won the Oscar® for Best Original Score and introduced the hit song “A Whole New World,” which won the second of the film’s two Academy Awards as Best Original Song. The Peabo Bryson/Regina Belle recording of the tune soared to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
A pilot production of Aladdin was mounted for four weeks in 2011 at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre with the goal of developing a script for a full-length version of the title for licensing. Strong response to that production prompted further development of the show resulting in this new production.
Aladdin will now be designed by six-time Tony winning scenic designer Bob Crowley, three-time Tony winning lighting designer Natasha Katz, two-time Tony winning costume designer Gregg Barnes and sound designer Ken Travis.
The production team also includes illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer and hair designer Josh Marquette. The music team is headed by music supervisor and music director Michael Kosarin, who will also create the vocal and incidental music arrangements, joined by orchestrator Danny Troob and dance music arranger Glen Kelly.
Adam Jacobs (Aladdin) has had his wish granted to be playing Aladdin! Broadway: Les Miserables (Marius), The Lion King (Simba). National Tours: Mamma Mia (Sky), Cinderella (Prince), Les Miserables (Marius), The Lion King (Simba). Favorite Regional Credits: Zorro (Zorro) at Alliance Theater, Once on This Island (Daniel) at Paper Mill Playhouse, Harvey Milk (Young Harvey) at San Francisco Opera, Hot Mikado (Nanki-poo) at Marriott Theater. Native of San Francisco and BFA in Theater (NYU Tisch). Proud member of Actor’s Equity. Thanks to Mom, Dad, Ari, Tara Rubin, all the folks at Disney, and his supercalifragilistic wife Kelly! www.AdamLJacobs.com
James Monroe Iglehart (Genie) originated the role of “Bobby” in the Tony Award winning musical Memphis. Iglehart has been blessed to perform on stage in such shows as The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Bway) and The Wiz (Off Bway). On screen he’s appeared in “The Good Wife,” “The Electric Company” (Silent E Soloist) and a variety of different television and radio commercials. He also is a member of the awesome Hip Hop Improv group “Freestyle Love Supreme”. His greatest role is that of Husband and uncle to Dawn & the kids. A self described Disney/ Comic Book Nerd, this is a wish come true!
Courtney Reed (Jasmine) was last seen playing Andrea in Once on this Island at Paper Mill Playhouse, directed by Thomas Kail. Prior to that she was at the 5th Avenue Theatre playing Jasmine in Aladdin, directed by Casey Nicholaw. She also had the honor of performing in the Tony-Award winning musical In the Heights, in which she played Carla. She made her Broadway debut in Mamma Mia! Television: “Law & Order SVU,” “White Collar,” “NYC 22,” and “CSI: NY.” Proud graduate of the Theatre Conservatory of The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. @RhodesReed.
Jonathan Freeman (Jafar). Broadway: Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast, The Producers, 42nd Street, On The Town, How To Succeed…(1996), She Loves Me (1994 Tony Nomination), Platinum, Sherlock Holmes (RSC). Off Broadway: Finian’s Rainbow (Irish Rep.), A Class Act (MTC), Lil’ Abner and Of Thee I Sing (City Center Encores), Sail Away and The Mikado (Carnegie Hall). Regional: La Jolla Playhouse, Houston Grand Opera, Williamstown and Berkshire Theatre Festivals, and Seattle Rep. Television: “Too Big To Fail,” “Law And Order,” “Gossip Girl,” and the long-running “Shining Time Station” (PBS) and “Remember Wenn” (AMC). Film: The Hoax (dir.: Lasse Halstrom) and The Ice Storm (dir.: Ang Lee). Jonathan is the voice of the evil vizier Jafar in Disney’s animated feature Aladdin.
Brian Gonzales (Babkak). Broadway: One Man, Two Guv’nors (Francis US). Broadway and National Tour: Shrek (Ensemble, Shrek US, Farquaad US); 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Barfee/Panch/Coneybear US). Brian has worked in various productions at theaters across the country including Fly at the Dallas Theater Center, and originating Babkak at the 5th Ave Theater in Seattle. He has appeared in several short films and on television in “Law and Order.”
Brandon O’Neill (Kassim) originated this role in Seattle in 201l. Stage highlights include The Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance, 5th Ave. Theatre; Hanuman in the World Premiere of Ramayana at Act Theatre (BWW Award, Seattle Footlight Award); Gabe in First Date (Originator, Gregory Award Nomination), 5th Avenue Theatre/Act Theatre; Seattle Symphony Pops: A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim, with Conductor Marvin Hamlisch. Screen: Dom Estacado in The Hit List with Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (2011), Give ‘Em Hell, Malone (2009), and Jack Talon in the 2012 video game “Mystery Case Files: Shadow Lake.” Find out more at brandon-oneill.com.
Jonathan Schwartz (Omar) Broadway: Elf, Spider-Man. Off-Broadway/regional: The Fantasticks, The Graduate. A Princeton grad, Jonathan competed on “The Amazing Race” (17) and arranged/recorded a song for Ben Folds a cappella album. Special thanks to Casey, BRS, and family and friends for all their love and support!
Clifton Davis (Sultan) is an award-winning veteran of stage, screen and television. He’s thrilled to originate the role of “Sultan” in Aladdin. He comes directly from the National Tour of Wicked, playing Dr. Dillamond. Davis has appeared in seven Broadway shows, including a Tony nominated role in Two Gentlemen of Verona. Films include: Any Given Sunday, Cover, Soldiers of Change and Halloweentown High. TV credits include “Amen,” “That’s My Mama,” and dozens of guest appearances. Davis regularly hosts on TBN. He’s a father, grandfather, pilot, scuba-diver, and minister. A special thanks to his wife Monica and Headline Talent Agency.
Don Darryl Rivera (Iago) is, on a scale from one to ten, an eleven with happiness to be in Aladdin! A Seattle native, favorite Seattle credits include: Harold and the Purple Crayon (Seattle Children’s Theatre), Aladdin (5th Avenue Theatre), Gutenberg! The Musical! (Strawberry Theatre Workshop), Man of La Mancha (Taproot Theatre), and A Doctor In Spite Of Himself (Intiman). Regional credits include: Shakespeare Theatre Company, Children’s Theatre Company, and Guthrie Theater. He attained his BFA in Theatre from Cornish College of the Arts. Much love and many thanks to his family, especially his wife Kate. www.dondarrylrivera.com
Merwin Foard (Standby: Jafar/Sultan) most recently portrayed FDR in the TONY nominated revival of Annie. Previous Broadway: The Addams Family, Disney’s The Little Mermaid; Sweeney Todd; La Cage Aux Folles; Assassins; Oklahoma!; Kiss Me, Kate; Jekyll And Hyde; 1776; Disney’s Beauty And The Beast; Les Miserables; Mame; and Show Boat. Disney films: Pocahontas, Beauty And The Beast, Aladdin And The King Of Thieves, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Mulan, Home On The Range, Enchanted and Tangled. Merwin is one of three actors featured in the documentary film The Standbys.
Michael James Scott (Understudy: Genie/Babkak) originated the role of Dr. Gotswana on Broadway in The Book of Mormon. Other Bway: Mamma Mia!; All Shook Up; The Pirate Queen; TARZAN®; Hair and Elf. Guest co-star on the TV series “The Carrie Diaries.” Associate Choreographer/cast of the revival of Hair in London. Off-Bway: Here’s to Joe opposite Donna McKechnie. Jerry Springer: The Opera at Carnegie Hall. Standby for Ben Vereen in the Int’l tour of Fosse, eventually taking over the role. Opened the Vegas Co. of Jersey Boys. Regionally: Donkey in Shrek the Musical at The Muny, Aida, Ragtime, South Pacific, and Cinderella. He’s a member of the critically acclaimed singing group “The Broadway Boys.” B.F.A. Musical Theatre from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University. @iamMJScott on twitter.
Tia Altinay (Ensemble/ Understudy: Jasmine). Tia is thrilled that her wish was granted and she gets to be part of this amazing cast. Broadway: Mary Poppins, A Christmas Story. Tours: High School Musical, Bombay Dreams, Mamma Mia! B.F.A in Music, Dance, Theatre. Special thanks to Mom. Love to Mike, Emily and Mason.
Mike Cannon (Swing). Broadway: A Chorus Line (Al), West Side Story (Snowboy, Tony u.s.), Ghost, The Addams Family, All Shook Up. Film: “True Story” (Dustin Longo). Proud assistant to Mitzi Hamilton on A Chorus Line. Studied at Point Park University. Booyah (6). It’s all for Amy, Coop, and Cam. Thanks to CGF and Tara Rubin Casting!
Andrew Cao (Ensemble/Understudy: Omar) Broadway: Anything Goes, Nice Work If You Can Get It. Regional: West Side Story (Bernardo) at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival; Annie Get Your Gun (Tommy Keeler) at the Goodspeed Opera House and PCLO; Robin and the 7 Hoods at The Old Globe. Love to my favorite ladies: daughter Lua and wife Sophie. www.andrewcao.net
Lauryn Ciardullo (Swing/Understudy: Jasmine). Most recently seen in Disney’s The Little Mermaid at The Paper Mill Playhouse. First National Tours include The Addams Family (Swing), West Side Story (Swing, u/s Maria), A Chorus Line (Swing), The Wizard of Oz and The Wedding Singer (Holly). Thank you to The MINE, Tara Rubin Casting, Casey Nicholaw and John MacInnis for this wonderful opportunity. All my love to Philip and Anthony. For my parents Joe and Luisa.
Joshua Dela Cruz (Ensemble/Understudy: Aladdin) This is Josh’s Broadway debut! He was last seen in David Byrne’s critically acclaimed Here Lies Love at the Public Theatre under the direction of Alex Timbers. Other credits include Encores! Merrily We Roll Along directed by James Lapine at New York City Center and The King And I opposite Lou Diamond Phillips for Kansas City Starlight. He is a graduate of Montclair State University
Yurel Echezarreta (Ensemble, Understudy: Kassim) is so thankful and excited to be a part of this amazing journey of Aladdin! It will be an experience to remember. Broadway: West Side Story (OBC), La Cage Aux Folles (OBC), Matilda (Opening Night Company). Other credits: Encores! PCLO. Film/TV: Last Five Years, Tony Awards. Love to Family back home and in NYC. Shout out to Lisa Price from The Price Group! Get your dreams!
Daisy Hobbs (Ensemble). Broadway Debut! National Tours: Memphis (Felicia u/s; original cast). Regional: Aladdin (5th Ave Theater), Camelot (Pittsburgh Public), The Wiz (Baltimore Center Stage), Fairy Godmother u/s in Cinderella (Paper Mill Playhouse), The Pajama Game and Hello, Dolly! (MUNY), Emma in Mother Divine at NYMF (’13). Recent Workshops: Live! Nude! Girl! (NYTW), Makandal (Harlem Stage). National Society of Arts & Letters (NSAL) National Finalist in Drama ’10. B.F.A. Musical Theater Carnegie Mellon University. www.DaisyHobbs.com
Donald Jones, Jr. (Ensemble/Understudy: Genie) is a New Orleans native and a graduate of Northwestern State University in Louisiana. He was a member of the 2010-11 national tour of The Color Purple. He spent the following years as a company member with Spectrum Dance Theater of Seattle under the artistic direction of Donald Byrd. Favorite credits include: Rent (Benny), ACL (Richie), Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Ken), and The 5th Avenue Theater’s Oklahoma (Dream Jud.) Thanks to family and friends, especially B and D!
Adam Kaokept (Ensemble/Understudy: Iago). Broadway Debut! National Tours: Pepper in Mamma Mia! (Vegas & National Tour companies), Flower Drum Song, Bye Bye Birdie. Off Broadway: Originated the role of Mike in Zanna, Don’t! (AMAS), Radiant Baby (Public Theatre). Other credits: world premiere of Cloudlands (South Coast Repertory), Pacific Overtures (Arden Theatre Company), and the title role in Peter Pan. Ithaca College grad. Thanks to all my teachers who’ve made this possible. www.adamkaokept.com
Nikki Long (Ensemble/Dance Captain). The Lion King Broadway and 1st National Tour, Monty Python’s Spamalot 1st National Tour, Radio City Rockettes NYC. Regional: Aladdin, Elf, Cinderella, Catch Me If You Can World Premiere, On The Town, White Christmas, Joseph…, Mame. Former dancer for Gloria Estefan, Toni Braxton, and Monica. BA, Santa Clara University. Majors: Spanish and Dance. Minor: International Business. Infinite love and thanks to my heroes: Dan, Kingsley, Canon, and Mom & Dad.
Stanley Martin (Ensemble). Credits: international tour of West Side Story (Indio/Chino us), tour of Five Guys Named Moe (No Moe/Dance Captain), tour of Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Ken/Dance Captain) tour of Sophisticated Ladies. Regional Credits: Aladdin (5th Avenue Theatre), Hairspray (Fulton Opera House), King and I, Show Boat, Sugar (Sacramento Music Circus) Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Music Man, West Side Story, The Producers, White Christmas (Walnut Street theatre). I would like to thank family, friends and BLJ2!
Brandt Martinez (Ensemble) is pumped to be making his Disney debut with Aladdin. He was most recently seen in the national tour of Flashdance: the Musical. Other credits include Bad Boys of Dance, and City Ballet of San Diego. Brandt has also performed at Carnegie Hall alongside Sir Elton John and Lady Gaga. Love to my biggest supporters, Em and the Family. Big thanks to the girls at CESD, Tara Rubin, and Casey for this amazing opportunity.
Michael Mindlin (Swing/Assistant Dance Captain/Understudy: Omar/Iago) is excited to return to Toronto and the Ed Mirvish Theater where he was last seen in Bring It On. Broadway credits include: Bring It On, 9 to 5, Mamma Mia, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Other: …Superman (NY Encores), Camelot (Lincoln Center/PBS) and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. He is also a choreographer and avid baseball fan. Love to LFCR.
Rhea Patterson (Ensemble). Originally from Midlothian, VA. Holds a BFA in Dance from The University of the Arts and a MA in Arts Administration from Goucher College. Broadway Credits: Wicked, Guys and Dolls. National Tours: Sweet Charity. Commercial credits: Time Warner Cable, Amica Auto Insurance. So thankful…
Bobby Pestka (Ensemble). Broadway/Film: Bombay Dreams, Flower Drum Song, The Producers, Across the Universe. Recently, the national tour of Roundabout Theatre Company’s Anything Goes. Point Park University Graduate. Grateful for my family.
Khori Petinaud (Ensemble) studied at Dance Theater of Harlem, North Carolina School of the Arts, The Ailey School and received her BFA in dance from NYU. Favorite credits: The Color Purple (tour), Mary Poppins (MUNY), Evita (Flat Rock) and anything with Al Blackstone! All glory to God! Love you Mom and Dad! Wayne, my husband, you are the best thing, I love you! Much love to CTG, Goodness, and my amazing family and friends! Jeremiah 29:11
Ariel Reid (Ensemble) is so proud to have made her Broadway dreams come true! Her Broadway credits include the original cast of Spamalot and Elf: The Musical. She can be seen in the films Hairspray, directed by Adam Shankman, and Cadillac Records. Television credits include “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” and “The Today Show.” Ariel is thrilled to join the Disney family in the stage adaptation of one of her favorite movies, Aladdin.
Jennifer Rias (Swing) is a San Diego native! Broadway: Rock of Ages (Dance Captain). Other NY Credits: Lucinda in Shakespeare in the Park’s Into the Woods, world famous Rockette at Radio City Music Hall. Stratford Shakespeare Festival: West Side Story (Anita), …FORUM (Vibrata). First National Tours: Spamalot, DirtyRotten Scoundrels. TV: “Boardwalk Empire” (Recurring), “Sweet Genius,” “Letterman.” Film: The Last Five Years. www.jenniferrias.com
Trent Saunders (Ensemble/Understudy: Aladdin). Broadway debut. Trent just finished touring internationally with Green Day’s American Idiot (St. Jimmy). Graduate of UMiami ’12. Happily AEA. Love to the whole family and the brothers.
Jaz Sealey (Ensemble/Understudy: Kassim) is happy to be returning to Broadway after his debut in Jesus Christ Superstar in 2012. Selected credits include Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (La Jolla Playhouse), Jesus Christ Superstar, Twelfth Night, The Misanthrope, Kiss Me Kate and Evita (Stratford Shakespeare Festival), Dirty Dancing (Mirvish), Guys & Dolls (MTC, Citadel, Theatre Calgary). Jaz is from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada where he started his training at Grant Park and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
Dennis Stowe (Ensemble/Understudy: Jafar/Sultan). Broadway: Annie, Leap of Faith, Shrek, The Apple Tree, The Wedding Singer, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Wonderful Town and Man of La Mancha. Regional: Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Paper Mill), Aint Misbehavin (Weston), Cutman (Goodspeed) among many more. Other NY credits include Judas and Me (NYMF), Citizen Ruth (Fringe), Stairway to Paradise (Encores), and Jerry Springer the Opera (Carnegie Hall). Screen appearances include Across the Universe, Preachin’ to the Choir, and John Leguizamo’s House of Buggin.
Marisha Wallace (Ensemble) is elated to be making her Broadway debut in Aladdin! Broadway National Tours: Book of Mormon. Off Broadway: Sistas (Simone/Gloria/Tamika). Regional: Portland Center Stage: Oklahoma! (Ado Annie), One Night with Janis Joplin World Premiere (Blues Singer/ Vocalist); Rent (Joanne), Dreamgirls (Effie), Hair. East Carolina University Alum! Thanks to God, Mom, Dad, Brother and Sister, Michael, Casey and the love of my life Dom! Tweet me @marishawallace
Bud Weber (Ensemble/Understudy: Aladdin) is thrilled to be joining this amazing show! Previous credits include Wicked (Bway, 1st Nat’l) and The Book of Mormon (1st Nat’l) Thank you to the creatives, Abrams Artists and Boston Conservatory. Big love to his friends and family for their constant love and support.