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Behind the scenes of Disney’s Aladdin musical: 500,000 Swarovski crystals, 120 gold pieces on the ‘Cave of Wonders’, and the Merlion has a cameo

Since the curtains have lifted at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands Singapore, the Broadway musical production of Aladdin was met with rave reviews. With less than 5 days left to the end of the extravagant yet mesmerizing production, Aladdin continues to transport audiences into an exotic world of daring adventure, classic comedy and a timeless romance. 

Many of you Disney fanatics would have seen the spectacular show by now, but did you know how much efforts was required behind the scenes to deliver the grandeur that we see on stage? 

Let us take you wonder by wonder as we find out exactly what goes on before the curtain draws:

Shiny, shimmering, splendid costumes

Aladdin BTS - Costumes

It’s no surprise that the production crew is pulling out all stops for this spectacular masterpiece, but exactly how much extravagance are we talking about here? For starters, the Aladdin production uses a staggering 337 glittering costumes, which feature 1,225 different fabrics, 712 different styles of beads, and close to 500,000 Swarovski crystals. Furthermore, all of these costumes are worn by a considerably small cast of only 34 – some costumes only bask in the limelight for a mere 15 seconds before the dancers rush off to change into their next costumes. 

Exquisite, automated stage sets

Aladdin BTS - Set props

The stage sets do not falter in comparison either – 40 tonnes of exotic flying scenery and 60 tonnes of automation and staging are used to create Agrabah’s iconic marketplace, Sultan’s Palace, and everyone’s beloved Cave of Wonders, which is formed using 120 gold pieces.

Mandatory fight calls before each performance

Aladdin Musical: Fight Calls

As for the cast, they did not hold back their punches – figuratively and literally – during the action scenes in the show, where the cast engage in a beautifully choreographed fight using real swords. Although these swords are blunt, the dangers of fighting with metal swords are just as real; so much so that it is mandatory for the actors to have a fight call before each performance. 

Aladdin BTS - Sword props

Each time before the curtain lifts, the actors gather in their rehearsal clothes and walk through the fight scenes in slow tempo as a reminder to themselves of the motions, so that no one gets injured during the actual performance.

A full musical score featuring 7 new numbers

The Broadway version of Aladdin sees some changes to the songs and characters as compared to the 1992 Disney animation. The Aladdin musical boasts a full score featuring seven new numbers, including “Proud of Your Boy” – a poignant insight into Aladdin’s backstory; and “These Palace Walls” – Jasmine’s first and only solo number in the show.

The musical of Aladdin also sees the eponymous thief gain three new buddies – Babkak, Omar and Kassim – and Jafar’s parrot Iago join the ranks as his human lackey instead. 

BOK’s comedic banter scenes

Aladdin BTS - Babkak, Omar and Kassim

Nicknamed ‘BOK’ by the entire production team, Babkak, Omar and Kassim are an appreciated addition to the Aladdin family. If you love food puns, then you might want to keep a lookout for Babkak when he’s on stage. His jokes sometimes get lost in the grand scheme of magical things going on in Aladdin, but you’ll burst out laughing if you manage to catch them on time. Omar is the glue that keeps the quartet together, and is the most optimistic person in the group, while Kassim is the good-looking yet smug ‘leader’ of the team who wears his heart on his sleeve. If you want to know more about this comical trio, the song “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim” says it all.

Aladdin BTS - Jafar and Iago

On the other hand, nothing seems to have changed between Jafar and Iago, except Iago is more theatrical now that he is depicted as a human and not a parrot, which made for good chemistry between the two villains. 

Did you spot the Merlion in the show?

Aladdin BTS - Merlion figure-crafting
The Merlion figure was hand-crafted by the production crew. Were you able to spot it during the show?

Aladdin is also great for its subtle, interesting quirks. For instance, the Genie presents an onslaught of Disney and Singapore-related jokes, and the Merlion gets a quick cameo in the show too! Aladdin also does a two-second costume-change while on stage, unbeknownst to many – myself included.

Did you spot any other Aladdin easter eggs during the show? Share with us in the comments below!


Aladdin

Date: 21 July to 1 September 2019
Showtimes:
Tuesdays to Fridays: 7:30pm
Saturdays: 2pm & 7:30pm
Sundays: 1pm & 6:30pm
Venue:
Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands, 4 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018973
Ticket prices start at S$68. For more information, visit https://www.sistic.com.sg/events/aladdin0919
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Photos by Soloman Soh of the DANAMIC team.

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Deepa D/O Sundararaju

Animal and music lover, bookworm and movie enthusiast. #blackismyhappycolour

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