Aladdin is at Wales Millennium Centre Until 14 January 2024
Gavid Adams, a recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Music plays Aladdin and here discusses his first professional role.
What are audiences in store for when they come see Aladdin?
They’re in for a show full of laughter, tears and perhaps nostalgia if like me they’ve seen the movie growing up. They’re in for a lot of shiny things, glitz and glamour, and a lot of comedy. Basically it’s just a fun night out.
How would you sum up the character of Aladdin? And can you relate to him in any way?
He’s an underdog who wants more from his life. He’s a man of the street. He’s scrappy, charming, cunning, courageous and more importantly he has a heart of gold, which is why everyone other than Jafar and Iago love him. I can relate to his physicality and his boyish nature. He’s also quite cheeky and I can sometimes be quite cheeky too. In terms of his nature, he’s very loving and he just wants to make everyone happy, and I think I try to embody that as much as I can.
What attracted you to the show?
I grew up watching Aladdin alongside a lot of other Disney movies. Aladdin especially stuck with me because of how relatable it was. so doing the show is such a good opportunity that I just couldn’t say no to. I mean, who wouldn’t want to jump at the opportunity of being a Disney Prince?
Does it pose any challenges for you?
It’s my first professional production, let alone my first professional production in a lead role. I didn’t expect to be on stage as much as I am because I’d never actually seen the show before and physically and vocally it’s quite challenging because it’s so intense. There’s also a lot of dancing involved and prior to my training at the Royal Academy of Music I’d never done dance before, especially not tap dancing. There’s been a lot for me to learn and I’m still learning. I’m always growing and it’s been a really amazing learning experience for me because there’s so much that I’ve not done before. The team have been so nurturing and I’m very grateful for that.
Can you recall when you first saw Aladdin and what effect did it have on you?
I think I was about six or seven years old when I first saw the Disney film and I was completely entranced by the story and the magic of it all. It was just such a cool story, then when I found out that it had been made into a theatre production I listened to the music and I was like ‘I have to be a part of it’.
What’s your favourite song in the show and why?
That’s quite a difficult question because I enjoy all of the songs for various reasons. Arabian Nights is amazing because I get to see the ensemble do all these incredible stunts and dances and it’s just such a pleasure to watch from the sidelines because I only appear at the end of that number. Then Proud of Your Boy is such a beautifully written song and one that everyone can relate to because who doesn’t want to make their mother proud? These Palace Walls is also amazing because I just love listening to Desmondo Cathabel, who’s playing Jasmine. She’s got such an incredible voice and singing the duets that I have with her is such an amazing experience.
What makes the story relatable to today’s audiences?
All of the characters are rooted in truth and I’m sure most people can relate to being the underdog. Most people can relate to wanting more from their life. Most people can relate to romance as well.
If you could have three wishes granted, what would they be?
Firstly I would love to travel to every single country in the world, to visit all the cultures, eat all the great food and meet all the incredible people that there are around the world. Secondly I would love to have an endless supply of ramen because I love it more than anything in the world. And my third one, which is probably quite niche, is that I would love to be on a show like Whose Line Is It Anyway? The people on there are so intelligent and quick-witted, and I know that if I went on that show I would fall flat on my face. They would end up taking the mickey out of me and I’d love that. I’d be laughing the whole time.
What lead you into a showbusiness career?
I started playing violin at a very young age, when I was about seven or eight years old, and that’s where I began my musical journey. I started playing more string instruments, like guitar and bass, and then when I was about 15 I started singing. As I was graduating from school I was teetering between going to medical school or going into music, because I loved both of those things. Eventually I went to the Royal Northern College of Music to study pop singing for four years, was in an amateur production of We Will Rock You, and it just went from there.
You performed with Take That at Manchester Arena. How was that experience?
I was a backing singer/backup dancer. I was part of a choir and it was a very surreal experience because Lulu was also there for Relight My Fire. She came into our warm-up room and we were singing in a circle around her. Then we sang Happy Birthday for Howard, which was another surreal experience, and I also got to meet Rick Ashley in the loo. I thought he was a sound guy because he was dressed in all black but when I later realised who he was I didn’t tell him that.
This is your first professional job since you graduated earlier this year. It must be hugely exciting?
I’m going through every emotion under the sun. I’m so excited but also very nervous at the same time because it’s such a big, iconic role to undertake. I’m so blessed to have this opportunity and a lot of it is thanks to my amazing support network, my family, my friends, mentors, teachers, the casting team… the list goes on and on.
This is also your first UK tour. What are you most looking forward to about taking Aladdin around the country?
I’ll get to explore all these different UK towns and cities that I’ve never been to before. I’ve been to some of the stops on the tour like Dublin, where I’ve done some recording work, and Manchester, where I studied. I also lived in Edinburgh with my sister for a few months during my gap year but there are so many places that I’m looking forward to exploring for the first time.
Adapted from Disney’s 1992 animated film and centuries-old folktales including “One Thousand and One Nights”, this smash-hit musical is brought to theatrical life in a unique and dazzling way. The show continues its record-breaking run on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre, and since opening there in March 2014, nine subsequent productions have launched around the world, including its 2016 West End premiere at the Prince Edward Theatre, London where the show ran until August 2019.
“As Aladdin approaches its second decade onstage, we are thrilled that the 11th production of the glorious Broadway show will soon be seen by audiences throughout the UK and Ireland. Thanks to Casey Nicholaw’s direction, Alan Menken’s music and the peerless design team of Bob Crowley, Natasha Katz and Gregg Barnes this show is a powerful tonic, an irresistible lift for every audience who sees it,’ said Thomas Schumacher, President & Producer Disney Theatrical Productions. “The musical theatre performers in the UK and Ireland rival any on the planet and we look forward to presenting the best of them in this joyous new production.”
Aladdin features the timeless songs from the animated film, as well as new music by Tony®, Olivier®, Grammy® and eight-time Acadamy Award® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by two-time Academy Award® winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony® and three-time Academy Award® winner Tim Rice (The Lion King, Evita, Aida) and six-time Tony® nominee Chad Beguelin (The Prom, The Wedding Singer), with a book by Beguelin, and is directed and choreographed by Tony® and Olivier® Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).