Document details

A Whole New World
Disney ups the Theme Park Ante by Bringing in Top Design Talent for Aladdin at California Adventure
Peter Landau

The house lights go off. The room fills with billowing smoke. Dancers wearing lighted hats representing the pyramids of Egypt, the dewdrop spires of St. Petersburg, and other exotic destinations peek out of the mist. Through the aisles of the orchestra marches a parade of illuminated life- sized elephant and camel puppets. In this theatrical pomp the audience can be excused if they don't immediately notice the flying carpet overhead.

It's a scene played three or four times each day at Disney's California Adventure park in Anaheim, CA. The "A Whole New World" number iS a signature piece in a 40-minute production full of spectacle which explains why they chose to call it Disney's Aladdin -A Musical Spectacular. The compressed performance of the 1992 animated picture Aladdin is not, however, the typical theme-park song-and-dance show. First of all, 40 minutes may be short for a Broadway play, but it's twice the length of the usual Disney theme-park show.

"It's the largest theatrical show that we've done," says Earle Greene, technical director, who also leads the technical and audio design team for the 2,000-seat Hyperion Theatre, where Aladdin is wowing full houses seven days a week. "The quality of the theatre is state-of- the-art and the show that we want to present is at that level," he adds. "It's more competitive."

Raising that bar meant hiring professionals to stage this ambitious production. Disney recruited talent from the commercial theatre and opera world. They started with director Francesca Zambello, currently at work directing Berlioz's Les Troyens for the Metropolitan Opera in New York.



Source type Magazine
Volume 37.4
Language en
Document type Feature
Media type text
Page count 6
Pages pp. 18-23


Id 5448
Availability Free
Inserted 2020-10-04