Now he will emerge from the lamp every night.
Disney’s Aladdin has announced that Fort Worth actor Major Attaway will take over the role of the Genie full-time in the hit Broadway show beginning Feb. 21.
Attaway, an Arlington Heights graduate and former “Casa Kid” at Casa Mañana, joined the Aladdin cast last spring, serving as “standby” for three roles, including the pivotal character of the Genie. The current Genie, Tony-winner James Monroe Iglehart, is moving on to the Broadway smash Hamilton, where he will play the dual roles of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette. Iglehart won a 2014 Tony Award for the role of Genie.
The Star-Telegram’s attempts to reach Attaway this week were unsuccessful. He told the website BroadwayWorld.com, “Making my Broadway debut in Aladdin was an affirmation beyond imagining. To now be given the opportunity to tell this beloved story with this phenomenal Broadway cast every night is definitely a wish granted. I get to play a catalyst for joy and hope, and I’m really looking forward to moving into the lamp on a full-time basis; I’ve got some BIG TEX-an ideas for redecorating!”
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In a June 2016 Star-Telegram story about Attaway, the then-28-year-old actor reminisced about being bitten by the Broadway bug. “When I was 10 years old, I went to New York and saw my first Broadway show, The Lion King, at the New Amsterdam (Theatre), which is where I am working today,” he said in the story. “This is a job that a million people would be happy to have.”
Before moving to New York, Attaway became well-known throughout North Texas for his performances on stage and voice-over work in animation and video games. The “standby” roles of Genie, Babkak and Sultan in Aladdin marked his Broadway debut.
Attaway’s work in youth shows at Casa is somewhat legendary. His portrayal of Horton in a production of Seussical Jr. four years ago, for example, is still talked about, as is his turn in the title role of Frosty the Snowman.
Aladdin personnel told the Star-Telegram last year that they were impressed with Attaway on day one.
“There was something about Major from the moment he came into the room for his audition. He has such natural charisma, and is so genuine and so authentic,” said Casey Hushion, the associate resident director of Aladdin. “...But I think what really makes him stand out is his spirit. There’s something very special about who he is as a person, and that comes on stage with him.”
Attaway put in hard work, physically, to secure his place in the show. He lost 50 pounds to gain the stamina he needs for his highly energetic and physically demanding roles in Aladdin. The deprivations of dieting were more than worth it, he said last year, for the magic of playing the role of the Genie on Broadway for the first time.
“I made sure that I took the first moment to take it all in,” he recalled of his first night on stage. “It’s unique, because the Genie opens the show alone, center stage. So I got to take in a sold-out house for a few seconds and breathe that in. I’ll always remember that feeling.”
This report contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.
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