Behind the scene of "Aladdin" on Broadway

Sandy Kenyon with the review.
April 15, 2014 1:51:12 PM PDT
More than two decades have passed since the animated film "Aladdin" earned more than half a billion dollars in theaters around the world and so many dvd's of the picture have been sold many parents are more than familiar with tunes such as "Friend like me."

Now this fable has been re-imagined as a Broadway musical:

He is an 'overnight success' who spent years getting ready for this moment-the moment when James Monroe Iglehart as the genie stops the show and gets a standing ovation in the middle of "Aladdin".

"And the first time it happened i told them to sit down, and my director goes: 'don't do that. If they want to stand, let them stand. Let them stand forever," he said.

His achievement is all the more remarkable when you consider his part was played on film by Robin Williams.

Figuring out who would play the genie might have been the least of the problems when it came to adapting such a beloved film with all of its complex action to the Broadway stage.

"Casey Nicholaw the director and choreographer and I thought it was going to be much easier to transfer this to the stage, but this was a really hard one," adds Iglehart.

Tom Schumacher from Disney theatrical commissioned new songs, big sets and lavish costumes.

Iglehart's father once told him find a job so rewarding he'd do it for free, such is the case when he sings "Friend like me".

"And, I would act & sing and dance and be completely silly for free, but they're actually allowing me to make a living doing this," he adds.

Everyone it seems could use a friend like him.

There's a moment when someone says 'act your age.' there's a moment when someone says 'you have to grow up, well, i never did that," Iglehart said.

James Monroe Iglehart saw "Aladdin" on the big screen back in 1992 as a teenager and always dreamt of performing "Friend like me" no wonder he calls his opportunity to stop the show with it: a "blessing."


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