It’s a whole new world, Chicago. After three years on Broadway (and four years of preparation, pilots, changes and evolutions before that), the hit musical “Aladdin” is kicking off its national tour at the Cadillac Palace Theatre on April 11.
The production is brought to the city by Broadway in Chicago, which has previously staged hits like “Wicked" and “Hamilton.” Leading the cast as the famous street urchin-turned-prince is Adam Jacobs, who is no stranger to the character. “I’m the OG,” he laughs, referencing his title as the role’s originator on Broadway. In fact, Jacobs has been with the production since the very first scripts began circulating in 2010, but keeping it fresh has never been a problem.
“It’s always electric energy up there,” said Jacobs. “For example, the genie has artistic license to improv. ... They used to call me The Rock on Broadway because I’m the opposite: Anytime he would say something, I would crack up. Sometimes they try to make me laugh. That’s the type of show it is.”
Without a doubt, there’s plenty of spectacle to keep the audience—and cast—entertained. “Aladdin” boasts over 300 costumes and 80 magic tricks and illusions, including a flying magic carpet.
“I can’t tell you how it works, but it’s a jaw-dropping, beautiful illusion,” said Jacobs.
For his part, Jacobs also has to tap dance, juggle, run, leap, slide and tumble.
“I do ‘American Ninja Warrior’ on the stage,” said Jacobs. “It keeps me fit, I don’t have to do cardio at the gym anymore.”
Fans of the animated feature can expect familiar songs as well as new tunes originally slated (but never recorded) for the movie, like “Proud of Your Boy” sung by Aladdin to his deceased mother. Be on the lookout for the showstopper “Friend Like Me,” which Jacobs describes as “an epic 8-and-a-half minute number that gets crazier and crazier [until] you can’t believe what’s happening in front of your eyes.” Sounds like a wish come true. Tickets start at $41.