Things You Didn’t Know About Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie, And Jafar

An interview with the cast of Broadway’s Aladdin and an exclusive first listen of “Friend Like Me,” “Arabian Nights,” and “Prince Ali” from the new movie turned musical!

BuzzFeed spoke with the Aladdin cast to learn more about the characters and the people who play them. (BONUS: Scroll down for an exclusive first listen of “Friend Like Me,” “Arabian Nights,” and “Prince Ali!”) Here’s what we learned:

Cylla von Tiedemann / Disney's Aladdin on Broadway

Deen Van Meer / Disney's Aladdin on Broadway

 

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin

Cylla von Tiedemann / Disney's Aladdin on Broadway

Deen Van Meer / Disney's Aladdin on Broadway

 

Would you rather have Rajah or Abu as a pet in real life?

Adam Jacobs: Abu, for sure. He’s fun and he can be my other partner in crime.

What song/artist gets you pumped up? Like for the gym?

AJ: I have a whole workout playlist and on there I’ve got “Closer,” “American Boy” by Estelle, The Who, and a lot of funk.

If you had three wishes what would they be?

AJ: I’d like to have a super power like telekinesis. End world hunger. My last wish will be to wish for more wishes.

You can’t do that, that’s cheating!

AJ: No, it’s OK. Fine, we’ll wish for infinite genies. Loophole!

If you could travel anywhere on your magic carpet, where would you go?

AJ: Right now, because it’s freezing, I would love to go to the Caribbean. Anywhere warm, a nice beach.

What food can Aladdin not live without?

AJ: Apples. It’s what he always eats!

What would be Aladdin’s most played song on his iPod?

AJ: “Magic Carpet Ride” from Steppenwolf.

Would you rather go to Disney World with Genie or Abu?

AJ: Aw, I can’t choose! That’s like choosing between mom and dad in a divorce. Sorry, Abu, but I’m going to have to go with Genie. Abu can’t ride on any rides because there’s no seats made for monkeys, and that’s not safe.

Would you rather go to a Broadway show with Jafar or Iago?

AJ: Probably Iago. But he might just repeat everything that’s going on on stage and that might be annoying. But Jafar would just be a sourpuss so Iago’s the lesser of two evils.

If Aladdin had one wish right now what do you think it would be?

AJ: For the show to win a Tony? Is that allowed? It’s not my wish, no no [laughs].

Courtney Reed as Jasmine

Cylla von Tiedemann / Disney's Aladdin on Broadway

Cylla von Tiedemann / Disney's Aladdin on Broadway

 

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

Courtney Reed: This is funny, I will sing this song any season, any time of the year: “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey! People just love that song. Once that ding ding ding ding starts, everyone sings along; they love it.

If Jasmine could travel anywhere right now on a magic carpet, where would she go?

CR: I think Jasmine might want to go to Antarctica, because she’s always in hot weather in the desert so she might want to go someplace cold. But then it would probably be a little too cold for her so she’d go back to Thailand because the waters are crystal clear and everyone is so nice there. And then because she wants to be well rounded, she’d definitely go to Cape Town in South Africa.

What would Jasmine’s karaoke song be?

CR: Maybe she would sing “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis because she’s so used to having to send off all these suitors and just wants to meet somebody. She’s tired of meeting so many jerks so she’d go with “Bleeding Love.”

What food do you think Jasmine can’t live without?

CR: I would say apples. She has a very big connection with apples ever since Aladdin gave her the apple.

Would Jasmine rather go to Disney World with Genie or Rajah?

CR: I think she would go to the Genie because she would get free perks all the time, and he could just create things for her — have her ride on elephants and things.

He’d also be really great for people watching.

CR: Oh, for sure. He’d just be imitating people all day.

If Jasmine could make any wish right now, what would it be?

CR: I think Jasmine would give everyone free health care. She’s for the people.

What would your three wishes be?

CR: My three wishes? I’d probably take a tropical vacation. I would also probably give everyone free health care as well. And world peace.

James Monroe Iglehart as Genie

Matthew Murphy / Disney's Aladdin on Broadway

Cylla von Tiedemann / Disney's Aladdin on Broadway

 

Did you do any stand-up comedy [to prepare for the role of Genie]?

James Monroe Iglehart: Oh, I do that naturally, that’s the fun part. My friends are like, ‘Of course you got this role’ — it’s like my normal personality. I have done stand-up before. It’s a fun thing, a very hard thing, but I do like it. I don’t do it as much as I’d like to ‘cause I do musical theater, but I love that kind of stuff. I do improv; I’m in a hip-hop improv group called Freestyle Love Supreme. We have a beat boxer, a keyboardist, three emcees, and we get up on stage and people throw words at us and we create an entire show based on that. I love that type of stuff.

What’s your favorite Disney movie?

JMI: I want to say Aladdin because I’m in Aladdin, but it’s in my top five, which also has Alice in Wonderland, Robin Hood, Jungle Book, and Lion King.

Would you rather have Rajah or Abu as a pet in real life?

JMI: I’m going to go with Rajah. I would have a big enough field for him to run around and If I was able to afford Rajah, I could have people help take care of him. Having Abu, as a tiny little monkey that can get into places I don’t want him to get into, he’s not going to listen to me, he’s a thief, I don’t want him stealing my stuff. I’d rather have a tiger.

If you could travel on a magic carpet right now, where would you go?

JMI: I would take my wife to Italy.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

JMI: “Kiss” by Prince.

What do you think Genie’s song would be?

JMI: “Applause” by Lady Gaga.

If you had three wishes, what would they be?

JMI: Ah, I’ve thought about this many many times, and I always think, I want to say I wish for world peace and I wish for everyone to be rich, but that’s so not true. I would wish to be financially secure, I would wish that my family would be taken care of even when I’m not there, and I would ask for the power of telekinesis, like Professor X, so I can move stuff with my mind and also bring the remote control to me without having to get up off the couch.

Jonathan Freeman (the original voice of Jafar) as Jafar

Deen Van Meer / Disney's Aladdin on Broadway

What were some of the biggest changes from playing Jafar in the movie and then on Broadway?

Jonathan Freeman: The story that you recognize and fell in love with is a bit different, and bringing him to life wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be. I’m surrounded by people who are re-creating these roles in a whole new way with a lot of energy and new ideas and points of view and I thought that perhaps I wouldn’t have as many things to bring to the table after so many years. But it’s been great and I’ve been prodded into doing new things and trying new things. Casey [Nicholaw, director] is great at that — he provokes the best from people.

Does Jafar become more developed in the musical?

JF: I think it’s about the same — there’s a new song, there’s some music that you haven’t heard, that was cut from the film, and there’s new music that was written for the production. The film is really an action-adventure picture with five songs and this is really a comedy with a lot of songs, with all the ones you want to hear, plus ones that help push the plot along.

What’s your favorite Disney movie?

JF: Hmm, good question. Growing up, I would have to say I loved Peter Pan because I was fascinated by Captain Hook, I was fascinated by Hans Conried who was an actor on screen and also a theatrical and television actor. A lot of people from my generation knew him as Uncle Tonoose on The Danny Thomas Show, a big series in the ’60s, I think. So I loved Peter Pan because I loved that story and I thought that that was a great comic villain. But I’ve always been fascinated by all the Disney villains, I find them all grand and beautiful in their own ugly-beautiful way and their scale, proportion, senses of humor, which are usually terrible, always appealed to me for some reason. I just thought they were hilarious and fun and funny. And I always wanted to play one.

Is there another Disney movie you would love to see come to Broadway?

JF: I think that they’re all pretty stage-worthy, frankly. I mean, if you think about it, if you can produce something with flying carpets and genies coming out of bottles, I think you can pretty much do all the other Disney movies. I don’t know about a flying elephant, that might be a tough one but they may be working on that too, you never know.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in New York?

JF: Well, there used to be a guy named Moondog — this is going back long before you were born, probably — in the ’70s, he was an incredible character who wore viking horns and he used to speak beautiful poetry — he wrote beautiful poetry, but he was very unusual and he looked like a viking. And he had a big staff and furs and chains and, I don’t know, it was crazy. I don’t know whatever happened to him.

BONUS: Jonathan Freeman thanking Jafar for letting him play the evil villain.

vine.co

And here’s the cast singing “Friend Like Me,” “Arabian Nights,” and “Prince Ali!”

Aladdin is in previews now at the New Amsterdam Theatre and the show opens March 20.

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