ALADDIN on Broadway to Welcome Three New Principal Cast Members Ahead of 5th Anniversary - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

ALADDIN on Broadway to Welcome Three New Principal Cast Members Ahead of 5th Anniversary


As it approaches its 5th anniversary, Aladdin, the hit Broadway musical, is pleased to welcome three new principal cast members to the company. Original Australian star Ainsley Melham will take over the title role, marking his Broadway and North American theatrical debut. Broadway veteran Michael James Scott (Something Rotten!The Book of MormonTarzan), an original Broadway company member who originated the role of Genie in Australia and comes directly from playing it on the North American tour, assumes the role of Genie. And as part of the show’s trio of Aladdin’s sidekicks, Mike Longo (Beautiful, Aladdin North American tour) steps into the role of Kassim.

Scott’s first performance will be Friday, February 15, and he will continue on Broadway through Sunday, September 15. During that period, Major Attaway, Broadway’s current Genie, will join the North American tour before returning to Broadway upon Scott’s departure. Melham and Longo’s first performance will be Tuesday, February 19; Telly Leung and Steel Burkhardt, the current Aladdin and Kassim, will play their final performance on Sunday, February 17.

Aladdin opened to critical acclaim on March 20th, 2014 and quickly established itself as one of the biggest new blockbusters in recent years, breaking 14 New Amsterdam Theatre house records and welcoming nearly ten million people worldwide.

As it approaches its 5th anniversary, Aladdin has proven itself an enormous and enduring hit, joining a small, exclusive group of blockbusters. Of the shows opening this decade, only the juggernauts Hamilton and The Book of Mormon have grossed more on Broadway. And in the nearly five years since Aladdin’s first performance, only Wicked has been seen by more people on Broadway.

The scale and reach of the show’s popularity continues on a parallel track internationally, as the show’s global footprint has expanded to include productions in Tokyo, Hamburg, London and Australia and a tour across North America.

Melham, Scott and Longo join the Broadway company that also stars Arielle Jacobs (In the Heights, Wicked) as Jasmine, reuniting with Melham and Scott, her original costars from the Australian production, and Tony Award® nominee Jonathan Freeman (Mary PoppinsThe ProducersShe Loves Me) as Jafar, bringing to the stage the role he indelibly created in the animated film. The show also features Brian Gonzales and Brad Weinstock as Aladdin’s sidekicks Babkak and Omar, JC Montgomery as Sultan and Don Darryl Rivera as Iago. Juwan CrawleyDennis Stowe and Deonté L. Warren stand by for several principals.

AINSLEY MELHAM (Aladdin). Ainsley has starred in the title role in Disney’s Aladdin all across Australia. Aladdin has played at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne, Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane and the Crown Theatre in Perth. Prior to Aladdin, Ainsley appeared as Sonny Malone in Xanadu for Matthew Management and Hayes Theatre Co. Ainsley was a cast member of Hi-5, having appeared in its Australasian tours, the televised “Hi-5 House” series (Seasons 1-3) and the documentary filmSome Kind Of Wonderful. The iconic children’s pop group has been released on Netflix with Ainsley as one of the starring hosts. Born and raised in Bathurst, Ainsley trained in musical theatre at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), graduating in 2012. He also studied at the Australasian Tap Dance Academy/La Belle School of Dance. Ainsley was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical at the 2017 Helpmann Awards for his role in Aladdin.

MICHAEL JAMES SCOTT (Genie). Michael James Scott has played the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin internationally including Broadway, London, the North American tour and originating the role in the Australian production, for which he won the prestigious Helpmann Award for best Featured Actor in a Musical. He originated the role of the Minstrel on Broadway in Something Rotten and he’s best known for originating Dr. Gotswana (aka The Maggots Guy) in the Tony-winning phenomenon The Book of Mormon. Other Broadway credits include Mamma Mia!TarzanAll Shook UpThe Pirate QueenElf and Hair. He was the standby for the legendary Ben Vereen in the international tour of Fosse, taking over the role in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet. On the West End he was the associate choreographer and performed in the Broadway revival transfer of Hair. Off-Broadway, he co-starred in Here’s to the Public opposite Donna McKechnie and was part of the concert cast of Jerry Springer: The Opera at Carnegie Hall. Outside NYC, original Las Vegas Co. of Jersey Boys and in Shrek the Musical as the Donkey at the famous St. Louis Muny. Regional credits include AidaRagtimeSouth PacificCinderella and Little Shop of Horrors to name a few. Numerous television and film appearances including “The Carrie Diaries” (WB), Independent Woman (Feature Film), “The View” (ABC), “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” (NBC), “The Late Show with Conan O’Brien” (NBC), “Good Morning America” (ABC), “The Today Show” (NBC), “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” (CBS), “The Tony Awards” (CBS) and the new Showtime series “Black Monday.” He was a member of the critically-acclaimed singing group The Broadway Boys and Grammy nominated Broadway Inspirational Voices. He can be heard on many original Broadway cast albums, multiple studio recordings and The Broadway Boys’ debut Album Lullaby of Broadway. Instagram/Twitter @iamMJScott.

MIKE LONGO (Kassim). Broadway: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. National tours: AladdinKinky Boots (Harry), Hair. Off-Broadway: Onan in the world premiere of Tamar of the River (Prospect Theater). Regional: Grease (Paper Mill Playhouse), Marius in Les Miserables(White Plains PAC). Insta: @mikelongofoto.

Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions under the direction of Thomas Schumacher, the show features music by Tony Award® and eight-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by two-time Oscar winner Howard Ashman(Beauty and the BeastThe Little Mermaid), three-time Tony Award and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (EvitaAida) and four-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (The PromThe Wedding Singer), with a book by Beguelin, and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of MormonMean GirlsThe Prom).

In a cast of 36, Aladdin also features Kathryn Allison, Netanel Bellaishe, Mike CannonDamian Chambers, Lauryn CiardulloJacob DickeyMark DiConzo, Josh DrakeTiffany EvaristeGabby Gamache, Jacob Gutierrez, April Holloway, Heather Makalani, Stanley MartinAmber OwensJamie Kasey PattersonBobby PestkaAriel ReidTyler RobertsTrent SaundersJaz Sealey, Angelo Soriano,Travis Ward-Osborne and Paige Williams.

Aladdin, adapted from the 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 cherished songs from the Academy Award-winning soundtrack and more written especially for the stage.

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.

Aladdin is designed by seven-time Tony-winning scenic designer Bob Crowley, six-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, hair designer Josh Marquette and makeup designer Milagros Medina-Cerdeira.  The music team is headed by music supervisor and music director Michael Kosarin, who also created the vocal and incidental music arrangements, joined by orchestrator Danny Troob and dance music arranger Glen Kelly

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