Disney's 'Aladdin' back on Broadway after 18-month shutdown due to COVID pandemic

NEW YORK CITY -- More than a dozen Broadway shows have reopened as New York City's theater district slowly comes back to life from an 18-month COVID-19 shutdown.

And as the lights come back on from the Great White Way's darkest period, Disney's "Aladdin" raises its curtain Tuesday night.

That's especially good news for Michael Maliakel, who is making his Broadway debut in the title role.

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The razzmatazz is back on Broadway with the return of this show, two weeks after "The Lion King" started live performances again.

"One of the nice things, if you're looking for silver linings in this whole process, is that we were sort of all in it together," Maliakel said.

Still, it couldn't have been easy to wait so long for his debut.

"Yeah as the months wore on, it was hard," he said. "It was definitely hard, and we all had to find ways to, you know, imbue energy into our lives outside of our performance."

In the middle of July, Disney Theatrical, owned by the same parent company as this ABC station, made plans to resume.

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Two more shows opened on Broadway Friday, along with the launch of the three-day Curtain Up! Festival to celebrate the Great White Way's comeback.


"When we all got to see each other for the first time, there was a lot of emotion, a lot of tears and all the things," said Michael James Scott, who plays the Genie. "Still keeping distant, all the safe protocols and all, but we were just so excited to see each other."

The safety of performers and audiences remains the number one priority.

"We've set up as good a protocol system as we can," Disney Theatrical President Thomas Schumacher said. "I think we've gone a little bit beyond what other industries have done."

So far, so good, as Scott told GMA3 he can't wait to take the stage.

"It is the craziest, most surreal, most beautiful gift to say that we come back," he said.
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