After a long hiatus, Broadway is open again and so is our favorite magical show! We are thrilled to welcome back Disney’s Aladdin, starring Michael James Scott as the Genie. Michael granted our wish and shared with us what it’s like to finally return to the stage.
For anyone who might not know you, please introduce yourself.
I’m Michael James Scott, a little chocolate chubby kid from Orlando, Florida who just wanted to sing and dance and entertain folks.
What was the first show you saw that made you fall in love with theater?
I remember being a kid and going to MGM Studios (now Hollywood Studios) at Walt Disney World and seeing the Beauty and the Beast show and truly being mesmerized by the actors onstage. So much so that I would see it like 3 or 4 times that day at the park and tried to act out all the parts at home. Some years later Beauty and the Beast happened to be the first Broadway show I saw in New York City as well and my mind was blown!
Broadway is finally back – what was it like going into the rehearsal room again for Aladdin and getting to document it for Great Performances – Reopening: The Broadway Revival?
It was as if part of my soul had come back. There aren’t words to describe the purpose and joy that was in that room on those first days and what it meant to all of us. Having it documented was such a beautiful gift and something I never dreamed of. Now having that always on film is something I’ll forever be grateful for!
Did you watch Aladdin as a child and envision yourself in the role of The Genie?
I did watch Aladdin growing up as kid, in fact my first tap solo was to ‘Friend Like Me’… I never ever dreamed that one day I would be the Genie.
Do you have a favorite part of the show?
My favorite part of the show (and everyone usually is pretty surprised by it) is doing the number ’Somebody’s Got Your Back’…. It’s a throwback to the old-school soft shoe song and dance era and I love it so much. That style has been such an inspiration for me and getting to have that be a part of my show as the Genie is just such a treat for me!
How does it feel to be back on stage again?
It feels euphoric! We spent a year and half dreaming of the moment for our return and there’s nothing in the world like live theatre, so to be entertaining audiences again and what that exchange is in a safe way together after being apart for so long is truly a blessing.
If you could take another iconic Disney movie and turn it into a Broadway show, which would you choose?
Pocahontas and really update it to make it empowering for our indigenous brothers and sisters. Showing the beauty of their land really highlighting a group of folks (the way only Disney knows how) who deserve their story to be told.
What is something that surprises you about Broadway?
How many people don’t know what it really takes to do a Broadway show 8 times a week. How we are athletes and have been training for this for years and years.
Do you have any mishaps or funny moments that happened on stage?
Oh gosh there are so many that have happened. I think one of my favorites would have to be when I went to a show as a replacement and during my bow I slipped center stage and crawled off stage laughing… it was amazing and embarrassing and also LIVE theatre!
What advice would you give to aspiring performers?
I would say believe that the thing that you have is special because no one else has it because THEY ARE NOT YOU!!!!!!!!!!
If there was a show about your life, what would it be called?
The Michael Musical…. A fierce glittery musical journey of a little chocolate kid who just wanted to sing and dance.
What are some of your favorite things about NY?
For me hands down it’s the energy of the city. There’s no place like it and there’s no place where you can just BE and also be inspired and exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.
Visit aladdinthemusical.com for tickets to see Michael James Scott in Aladdin and watch him in the PBS documentary Great Performances – Reopening: The Broadway Revival.