Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-04-25
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Chad Beguelin helps give 'Aladdin' its magic
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The musical version of Disney's Aladdin takes the popular cartoon and gives it even more of a shine. The story follows a young man discovering a genie in a lamp. He uses his wishes to pursue a princess and battle an evil Grand Vizier. The book was written by Chad Beguelin, who also wrote lyrics along with Tim Rice and Howard Ashman.

Before this project, Beguelin wrote the book for the musical The Wedding Singer and the lyrics for Elf the Musical. He was nominated for two Tony Award with The Wedding Singer making him a four time nominee.

He wrote the book with Bob Martin for the film-based musical Gotta Dance ( now titled Half Time ) since its Chicago debut in 2015.

Disney Theatrical launches the North American tour in Chicago, and Windy City Times called Beguelin to talk about it.

Windy City Times: Hi, Chad. So you are originally from Illinois?

Chad Beguelin: A little town called Centralia, Illinois. It is very Southern.

WCT: Did you visit Chicago often while growing up?

CB: We did. My parents and I came there to see theater a lot. There are a lot of fond memories from my childhood in Chicago, so it is great Aladdin is opening there.

WCT: Do you have a favorite musical of all time?

CB: When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Evita. My birthday cake one year was the cast album cover. It ran deep!

WCT: What did you think of Madonna's version?

CB: She was good. I, one day, dream of seeing Lady Gaga do it.

WCT: Had you worked with Disney before Aladdin?

CB: Many years ago the theme park, which is completely different than the theatrical department, approached me to write a 30-minute version for California Adventure at the Hyperion Theater. It ran for a gazillion years afterwards.

Unbeknownst to the Broadway producers, they brought me in for several scripts that they could license out to schools and regional theaters. Aladdin was on the list. I told them it was my favorite. That is how it all came about.

WCT: How did you approach writing it?

CB: Originally, it was never destined for Broadway. My first script I did a very true to the movie version. They sent it to composer Alan Menken, who wanted to meet with me. I thought he would love it, but instead he wanted it thrown out. He wanted me to incorporate as many of the songs that were cut from the movie that he had written with Howard Ashman as possible. Suddenly I had a whole batch of songs that not people knew of.

It became a puzzle of getting these songs into the show. There are characters that sang the songs that don't exist in the movie. It became a different process.

I am a huge Howard Ashman fan. I was eager to have his songs heard. He is the reason I wanted to become a lyricist.

WCT: Did you add LGBT content?

CB: There might be some winks here and there. I don't want to spoil anything.

In the story, I can relate to it as a gay man because it is about someone pretending to be something he is not. His dreams don't come true until he comes out and lives his true life and true self.

WCT: Do you think the genie role is better the more flamboyant it is played?

CB: Before Robin Williams was part of the mix, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken had the idea to make him a Cab Calloway character, a 1930s club act. We ran with that. We were blessed to have James Monroe Inglehart, who was amazing and made the role his own. There is a lot of sass in there!

WCT: Does the Chicago cast member make it his own? Is improv allowed?

CB: He puts his own spin on it. We make sure the improv is reined in a little bit. We do want to get people out on time.

WCT: There are differences from the movie I read. Is Iago a person [instead of] a parrot?

CB: In this production, he is a henchman. It is inferred that he was once a bird.

We considered animals like Jasmine's tiger, but we thought no one is going to do animals onstage better than The Lion King.

WCT: How did it feel to receive Tony nominations?

CB: It was exciting to be there and be a part of it. We didn't originally get rave reviews so we had to work hard and rewrite it. It was a happy surprise when we got it to Broadway that we felt we got it right. It is a testament to how hard everyone worked.

WCT: How was [your experience with] The Wedding Singer: the Musical?

CB: It was my first show ever on Broadway. It has an afterlife. My husband and I just went down to Puerto Rico because my nephew is going to high school there. They did The Wedding Singer there. We went to see it, which was surreal.

They just kicked off a new UK tour. It is funny how something we wrote so long ago keeps popping up.

WCT: Talk about your new project, The Prom.

CB: We just did it in Atlanta, and waiting for a new theater in New York. Right now every theater is completely booked.

It is a story about a lesbian who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom. The school board says no. A bunch of out of work Broadway actors hear about it and go to throw a rally to change minds. They are so ego maniacal that they make it worse before they make it better.

WCT: Are you coming to Chicago for the premier of Aladdin?

CB: There is a conflict because the Melbourne kick off is the same night. I am going to be in Australia. I will come back to see the Chicago show afterwards.

WCT: Weren't you in town for the Gotta Dance premiere?

CB: I was and in Chicago for three cold months. I was writing the book for that. It is called Half Time now. It will be at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2018. We are going to do more work on it and get the old gang together. No pun intended…

WCT: That was a cold night at that red carpet. Does your dog go with you to the red carpets?

CB: Of course. My little yorkie has a bowtie!

Make a wish for tickets, as Disney's Aladdin run through Sept. 10 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St. Visit or call 800-775-2000 for more information .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Grace Jones film running at Music Box 2018-04-25 - Sophie Fiennes's documentary Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami will run April 27-May 3 at Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave. This cinematic ...

Gay News

TELEVISION Samira Wiley is back with a bite in 'The Handmaid's Tale' 2018-04-25 - The Emmy Award-winning dystopian series The Handmaid's Tale returns for its second season on Wed., April 25, with a 13-episode arc. With MGM ...

Gay News

Chicago Filmmakers to cut ribbon on new home 2018-04-25 - While it's been up a flight of stairs on Clark Street in Andersonville for years, Chicago Filmmakers always dreamed of having a different ...

Gay News

Siskel showing 'Best of Black Harvest' 2018-04-25 - The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago announced increased funding for The Best of Black Harvest ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Brokeback,' Prince memoir, 'Wonder Woman,' Bette Midler 2018-04-24 - The dust has yet to settle on a bit of back and forth over Brokeback Mountain casting, The Hollywood Reported noted. At Santa ...

Gay News

MOVIES Amy Schumer, Aidy Bryant feel 'Pretty' good 2018-04-22 - I Feel Pretty is a new film about being single and the challenges that come along. ( It's currently in theaters. ) ...

Gay News

Director, screenwriter Ava DuVernay to be honored at Annual GLAAD Media Awards 2018-04-20 - New York, NY — GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today announced that filmmaker, director and screenwriter Ava DuVernay will be ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE MOVIES Peaches Christ, worshipping at altars of John Waters, Mink Stole 2018-04-18 - Director John Waters has influenced and created many movie stars over the years with an iconic career. Known as the Dreamlanders, many of ...

Gay News

GLAAD Media Awards honors Spears, Parsons 2018-04-18 - The GLAAD Media Awards took place April 12 in Los Angeles, with comedian/actress Wanda Sykes as host. GLAAD honored Britney Spears, Jim Parsons ...

Gay News

Siskel showing 'Best of Black Harvest' 2018-04-18 - The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago announced increased funding for The Best of Black Harvest ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.