Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ returns to Broadway with first South Asian actors as leads

Disney’s “Aladdin” reopened on Broadway on Tuesday night. One of the musical’s stars grew up in Hamilton Township.

News 12 Staff

Sep 29, 2021, 12:26 AM

Updated 927 days ago

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Disney’s “Aladdin” reopened on Broadway on Tuesday night. One of the musical’s stars grew up in Hamilton Township.
When Shoba Narayan took over the role of Jasmine in “Aladdin,” it was a lifelong dream come true.
“Princess Jasmine was my role model growing up. She was really the only popular character in American media that looks like me,” Narayan says.
Narayan has now become a role model herself. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she is the first South Asian person to play Jasmine on Broadway.
This is not Narayan’s first Broadway breakthrough. When she made her debut on the stage several years ago, she was the first actress of South Asian descent to play a principal role on Broadway in more than a decade.
“I think the fact that I’m going to star in a huge Broadway - show looking the way I am, being from where I am – is a statement in and of itself. We are here, we are represented,” Narayan says.
When the magical props and set pieces were brought on stage, it also marked a first for Narayan’s costar Michael Maliekel. He stepped on a Broadway stage for the first time in the title role of "Aladdin."
“And I certainly didn’t expect it to be in a role quite this big, but it’s a dream come true in every possible way,” he says.
Maliekel also became the first South Asian to play Aladdin on Broadway.
“It’s really special to be the recipient of all the messages from young kids that are in school now doing their plays…young Indian, South Asian, Middle Eastern kids,” Maliekel says.
"Aladdin" is performed at the New Amsterdam Theatre. The musical began its Broadway run seven years ago.


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