Adam Jacobs on becoming Aladdin and what he’s learned from The Genie
Adam Jacobs has been taking audiences to a whole new world since Aladdin opened on Broadway. We caught up with the star to talk about playing not just one, but two iconic Disney characters, learning to improv on stage and his upcoming debut album.
How did Aladdin happen for you?
I was playing Simba in The Lion King on the national tour. The producers came out, saw the show and unbeknownst to me, they were working on Aladdin. My agent called me and told me they wanted to fly me to New York for a week for the reading of Aladdin. I’d never been hand-picked to do anything like that before so I was super flattered and excited. That was in 2010, we did the readings and presentations – it was a long road to get to Broadway but it’s been fulfilling.
What’s the challenge in playing such an energetic and dynamic character?
Playing Aladdin uses a lot of different parts of how I was trained and my personality. There’s comedy, I’ve never tap danced in a show before, and it’s the most physical role I’ve ever done. There are trampolines and jumping from building to building and such. You have to work hard to maintain that level. You want to give 110% every show.
Aladdin has had capacity crowds since it opened. How does it feel when you see a kid’s faces in the audience light up when they see the characters on stage in front of them?
I love when we’re on the carpet and you hear the audible gasp as the set pulls away. At the stage door, people tell me we brought them back to their childhood and brought the characters to life. The kids, some are confused because they don’t know if the movie came to life. I’m truthful, I tell them I’m a different Aladdin.
How have your previous roles prepared you for what you’re doing now?
Simba in The Lion King prepared me in terms of the scope of it. It’s such a big show, beautiful costumes, the pageantry, the music – it’s all big. The Lion King is definitely the same thing. In terms of comedy, I’ve learned a lot with this show. Especially working with James (Monroe Iglehart who plays the Genie) who improvs a lot. I love it. What’s great about Aladdin is that there are a lot of opportunities to play. I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone in terms of developing that sketch comedy and improv part of myself. I didn’t train like that so I’ve been able to flex those muscles.
You’re in the process of crafting your debut album right now.
It’s all Alan Menken’s material and I’m very excited about it. Some great guests are singing on it too. I’ve never done an album before and there’s so much prep work that goes into it but I love the creative aspect of that. I like the rehearsals because it’s that creative part that’s so magical. I love the process of building the piece and I’m enjoying the process of putting this together.
Check out Adam starring in Aladdin this fall!
Photography by Steven Gabriel
Photo Assistance by Michael Orlando
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