According to the New York Times, a stage version of Disney’s Aladdin will be making its way to the New Amsterdam Theater. There’s a lot of reasons why this is a pretty cool thing. Not only is Aladdin a pretty dang good Disney movie, it’s was also the first of Disney’s animated features to include a lead female character of color (although we’d have to wait three years to get one as the lead), second only to the The Jungle Book as the earliest Disney feature animated film where the main character is not of white-European descent. Broadway musicals are already a field of work where starring (and in many shows even secondary) roles for actors of color are thin on the ground.
But a stage musical can also be a chance to escape the usually-around-ninety-minute limit of the animated feature, expand upon secondary characters, introduce original songs or even reintroduce songs that were cut from the original film. Which brings us to the very sad story of Aladdin’s mom and the song “Proud of Your Boy.”