'We are here, we are represented’: 'Aladdin' returns to Broadway with South Asian leads

“Aladdin” is now back open on Broadway. As the curtain goes up and amid the music and magic, some dreams are now coming true on stage.

News 12 Staff

Sep 29, 2021, 12:07 PM

Updated 1,030 days ago

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“Aladdin” is now back open on Broadway. As the curtain goes up and amid the music and magic, some dreams are now coming true on stage.
When Shoba Narayan takes over the role of Jasmine in Broadway's “Aladdin,” it will be a lifelong dream come true.
"Princess Jasmine was my role model growing up. She was really the only popular character in American media that looks like me," Narayan says.
As a daughter of Indian immigrants, Narayan is the first South Asian to play Jasmine on Broadway.
It's not her first Broadway breakthrough. When Narayan made her debut on Broadway several years ago, she was the first actress of South Asian descent to play a principal role on Broadway in more than a decade.
"Looking the way I am, being from where I am is a statement in and of itself. We are here, we are represented," she says.
When the magical props and set pieces are at last brought out onto the stage, it will also mark a first for Narayan's costar Michael Maliakel. He is stepping onto a Broadway stage for the first time in the title role of “Aladdin.”
"Certainly, didn't expect it to be in a role quite this big but it's a dream come true in every possible way," Maliakel says.
In making his Broadway debut, Maliakel also becomes the first South Asian to play “Aladdin” on Broadway.
"It's really special to be the recipient of all the messages from young kids that are in school now doing their plays. Young Indian, South Asian, Middle Eastern kids," he adds.
Both actors hope their time in the spotlight of “Aladdin” also shines a light for up-and-coming performers.


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