‘Aladdin’ returns to stage with Indian-Americans as leading cast members

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Shobha Narayan and Michael Maliakel in a rehearsal. Photo provided by Disney publicists TDW

Rehearsals are underway for the musical Aladdin, which resumes performances on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York!

First produced as an animated film Aladdin was released by Disney in 1992 and was a critical and box office smash, becoming the highest-grossing film of the year.

The stage production, a hit musical based on that Academy Award-winning animated film, opened on Broadway to critical acclaim at the New Amsterdam Theatre on March 20, 2014.

The new cast members portraying Aladdin and Jasmine in Aladdin are Indian-American actors Michael Maliakel (making his Broadway debut!) and Shoba Narayan

On her Instagram account Narayan says “As artists we all hafe that story, that moment, that character that inspired us to go down this wild, creative path. … Disney played a huge role in that inspiration for me. The princesses were role models of strength, courage and intellect. Then of course there was Princess Jasmine.”

Narayan made her debut on Broadway with ‘Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” becoming “the first South Asian female in a principal role since Bombay Dreams,” she says on her bio at shobha-narayan.com. Natasha garnered 12 Tony nominations. She played Eliza Hamilton in the world-renowned Broadway hit Hamilton of Lin-Manuel Miranda. And she stars at Nessarose in Wicked. Her film and television apearnces include Growing Up Smith; Quantico, Halal in the Family, Gossip Girl, Coin Heist on Netflix, and Mistress America.

Maliakel had his Broadway debut with The Phantom of the Opera and has featured in numerous shows including, NYC: Anything Can Happen; The Songs of Maury Yeston; and in the film Monsoon Wedding by Mira Nair; on television shows Bull (CBS) and FBI (CBS), among others.

According to a press release, Aladdin, the play that opened in 2014 at New Amsterdam, quickly became one of the biggest new blockbusters in recent years, breaking 14 New Amsterdam Theatre house records. More than 10 million people have watched it and it has grossed over $1 billion. By the end of 2021, it will be playing in Holland, Germany and Mexico, in addition to Broadway, the press release said.

The show is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions.

Aladdin is adapted from the animated Disney film and centuries-old folktales including “One Thousand and One Nights,” and this new production features a full score, including the five much-loved songs from the Academy Award-winning soundtrack and more written especially for the stage.

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