Topic: Rereātea - Midday News

Aladdin set to bring a whole new world to NZ

By Online News - Rereātea
  • Auckland

It's a dream come true for every child of the nineties.

After touring Australia for the past two years, Disney's Aladdin The Musical will soar into Auckland early next year, bringing with it an array of colour and talent.

And as our Online News Team discovered, the show will also bring one of Māoridom's most renowned actors back to our shores. 

Aotearoa is set to experience a whole new world. 

Ainsley Melham, who plays Aladdin, says, "I think New Zealanders will really be so blown away by this show.  It is a big Broadway musical, there are so many beautiful costumes, the music is stunning and the dancing and the sets and our cast is amazing". 

The show has been touted as a must-see for all and is one of the biggest productions to ever play in Aotearoa.  It's no wonder its lead characters feel the need to do the show justice.  

"You know a lot of people know and love the film and love the character so you want to do that justice for them on stage," says Melham, "But its also really cool to live out the childhood memory myself and perform the role". 

Gareth Jacobs, also known as the Genie, says, "The role of Genie is such an iconic one and known mostly by Robin Williams and his larger-than-life personality.

Knowing that that's sort of the caliber and the extreme that you have to go to is quite daunting but its just so much fun- it's one of those things I can't ever say it's a job."

Getting the call up to audition for the show was a welcome surprise for 72-year old George Henare, who admits he didn't know much about the Disney film.  

"They said, 'oh we've been trying to find you, Disney wants to audition you or this role, they'll fly you to Sydney for the day,' so they flew me down and then they flew me back the second time, the second time I thought I've never seen this Aladdin so it happened to be on the plane so I watched it and I thought, 'that's the Sultan, this big fat man with a beard', so I went 'oh I see...'. And then I did that second audition and I got the role".

Although it's a far cry from previous characters he's portrayed, Henare says it's been a challenging yet rewarding experience.   

"I'm really looking forward this, just the thought of bringing all of this back and watching the reaction cause I know most of my whānau have been to see it already in Sydney.  They just went 'oh well, I can't wait to see what the people think when this gets home', so yeah that'll be what I look forward to most- seeing the reaction of the people".

He says the show will take the audience on a journey and will leave them awe-inspired.  

"The journey Is always the most interesting part and they go on the journey with you and by the end, they're up on their feet and cheering and screaming and clapping and that's one great thing about it, being associated with a production like this".

The show opens at the Auckland Civic Centre on January 3.