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Indian actor proud to lead Broadway’Aladdin’

When children grew up in different states, Shoba Narayan and Michael Maliakel shared their love for one of their favorite movies.Aladdin “both Indian Descent and in animated films, they saw people who looked like them.

This month, led by Narayan and Mariakel, the shared love went around. Broadway Playing Princess, a company of the musical “Aladdin” from a pandemic jasmine And the hero from the title, respectively.

“Growing up, there were few South Asian and Middle Eastern representatives in the American media, and Princess Jasmine was really everything I had. She was intelligent, strong, independent, and As a beautiful and curious person, it was a big role model for me, and that’s what I wanted, “says Narayan, who grew up in Pennsylvania.

The pair arrived at “Aladdin” in a very different way. Mariakel made her Broadway debut, but Narayan was a veteran of the musical theater, making her Broadway debut in “Natasha, Pierre, Great Comet in 1812” and touring with “Hamilton” as Eliza Hamilton.

She was “evil” as Nessarose when the pandemic closed Broadway in March 2020. Her agent called in April with the prospect of auditioning for Jasmine. She pretended to be on a magic carpet and sang “Hall New World” with a zoom in gallery mode. “It was a very unique experience,” she says with a laugh.

Disney producer skipped her New York Face to face and read the material again. Narayan was asked to read with various Aladdin potential actors. She got a gig. “I went to Disney Princess from the Evil Witch. I can’t complain.”

Originally from New Jersey, Mariakel came from the world of opera, a baritone who studied at Johns Hopkins University and won the 2014 National Musical Theater Competition. He waited for the correct window to open and trained his voice to be flexible.

“There weren’t many people in the world doing what I wanted to do,” he says. “There weren’t many expressions, so it’s really hard to imagine yourself in these scenarios without someone you admire as a role model or an example of how it’s done.”

He played Porter and understood Raul on a national tour of “The Phantom of the Opera,” which ended its run in Toronto shortly before the pandemic.

“I always dreamed that Broadway might happen someday,” he says with a laugh. “I’m one of the biggest male roles in business right now, just immersing my toes in water. It’s a kind of hyperreality.”

Broadway’s “Aladdin” is a musical adaptation of the 1992 movie starring Robin Williams. The musical story by Chad Beguelin is near the movie. The sea urchin on the street wants to find the genie in the lamp, stay true to his values, and plead for the princess while away from the palace plot.

The songs from the movie’s major Alan Menken, such as “Friend Like Me,” “Prince Ali,” and “A Whole New World,” are used. The lyricists are the late Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Begrin.

The show-and it’s two new leads-had several performances to celebrate Broadway’s return from the pandemic this fall. The actors say that the safety of the cast, crew and spectators was paramount, and the closing was a wise move.

“This is how we keep the theater running in a pandemic,” says Mariakel. “The other option is not to do it at all. And it’s not an option. A week or so of performance loss would be a bit of a radar blip when you look back at things in a year or so. “

They welcomed the theater-hungry audience and performed a three-minute standing ovation just to sing “A Whole New World,” and they look back on their early performances with great gratitude.

“Singing that song on a real flying carpet is the dream of every brown girl,” says Narayan. Oh well, I really had to hold it together. It was an emotional overload for me. “

Mariakel recalls that he and his brother wore a VHS cassette version of “Aladdin.” I remember he had a movie-themed lunch box, pajamas and bed sheets. Aladdin was “the prince of all the little brown children”. Now he is the prince.

“Finally, you can get paid to do it on the biggest stage in the world. I won’t lose how crazy it is,” he says. “I feel that the responsibility of my position right now is really great. This moment feels bigger than me in a way, but I don’t downplay it. I think it’s a really exciting time. ”


Mark Kennedy can be found at

Indian actor proud to lead Broadway’Aladdin’

Source link Indian actor proud to lead Broadway’Aladdin’

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