Adam Jacobs first played the title role in what has become the hit Broadway musical, “Aladdin,” in 2011, when the show had its initial tryout in Seattle. Flash forward to 2014, and the musical, which received a Toronto tryout in 2013, opened on Broadway, garnered five Tony Award nominations and earned Jacobs a 2014 Drama Desk Award nomination for “Outstanding Actor in a Musical.”
Now, comes the news that Jacobs, who will continue to play Aladdin on Broadway until Feb. 12, will reprise his starring role in the North American tour of the Disney Theatrical Productions show that will launch in Chicago, and run April 11 – July 2 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph.
Inspired by the much-beloved 1992 Disney animated film, the musical — which spins the tale of a mischievous street kid who discovers a genie in a lamp, and uses his wishes to marry a princess and thwart the Sultan’s evil Grand Vizier — features a score by Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Newsies”), lyrics by Howard Ashman (“Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid”), Tim Rice (“Evita”) and Chad Beguelin (“The Wessing Singer”), and direction and choreography by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (“The Book of Mormon”).
Jacobs will be traveling with more than the “Aladdin” company. As he tells the story, on the very day that rehearsals began for the Broadway edition of the show, he and his wife, Kelly (also a musical theater performer), became parents of twin boys, Jack and Alex, now three. And the whole family is now ready to set up shop in a temporary home near Wrigley Field, before moving on with the tour that is scheduled to make future stops in Minneapolis and San Francisco (not far from where the actor grew up, and where he began his career as a pianist, studying from age five to 13 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music).
“This will be the first time we’re traveling with the twins, which we can do because they’re not school age yet,” said Jacobs. “And I can’t wait to take the boys to their first Cubs game. We’ll also be close to Milwaukee, my wife’s home town. And the two of us have even talked about eventually settling in Chicago, which is such a great theater town, and so family-oriented.”
This is not the first time Jacobs (the son of a Jewish father and Filipino mother) will be performing in Chicago. In 2003 he earned his Equity card playing Nanki-Poo in David H. Bell’s production of “Hot Mikado” at the Marriott Theatre (I described him as “the rich-voiced dim bulb of a Wandering Minstrel”), and later he arrived here in the touring company of “Les Miserables,” playing Marius, the student revolutionary who falls for Cosette (I praised him for giving his character “a real backbone”).
But why would an always busy actor who is able to cross many ethnic lines (his Broadway roles have ranged from Marius to Simba, in “The Lion King”) think about leaving New York, even for a temporary touring gig?
“I never like to feel settled in a role,” said Jacobs. “And with the tour I get to rehearse again with a whole new cast and discover new things.”
For tickets to “Aladdin” call (800) 775-2000 or visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.