"Aladdin was the No. 1 movie of the year in America and around the world in 1992. It's kind of shocking — I think people have probably forgotten that, it was so many years ago," noted Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Productions.
But the Arabian Nights tale, memorably brought to life in the Disney animated film, is now set to return as a live-action stage musical, debuting in Toronto starting in November before it shifts to Broadway in early 2014.
The production combines some past elements with a fresh take, including its casting. For instance, actor Jonathan Freeman, who voiced the 1992 film's villain Jafar, returns in the same role for the musical. Meanwhile, James Monroe Inglehart takes over as the boisterous Genie, who was voiced by comic legend Robin Williams in the movie.
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin's Tony-winning director and choreographer, acknowledged high expectations from the original film's fans.
"People are going to want some spectacle. They're gonna want to see a magic carpet fly," he said.
In the attached video, Schumacher, Freeman, Inglehart and Nicholaw talk to CBC's Jelena Adzic about the new production.
Featuring a cast of more than 30 performers, new songs from Alan Menken and a hearty dose of magic, Aladdin runs in Toronto Nov. 1-Jan. 5.