'Aladdin' movie turns 30: Here's a look at the magic carpet ride of the timeless 1992 Disney classic

ByZohreen Shah ABCNews logo
Monday, November 28, 2022
Disney's 1992 'Aladdin' movie turns 30
Disney's "Aladdin," the timeless classic you can watch from the comfort of your couch, is turning 30 this year!

Disney's "Aladdin," the timeless classic you can watch from the comfort of your couch, is turning 30 this year!

From the art of animation to the bright lights of Broadway, to "a new fantastic point of view" on Broadway and all the way back to the big screen. It's the timeless tale of a poor boy on the streets of Agrabah, who dreams of falling in love with a princess and finds a friend in a genie who can grant three wishes.

"I don't know of any project that's been through that many twists and turns," said Alan Menken, the Oscar award-winning composer of "Aladdin."

Menken is one of the most prolific composers of all time. He, alongside playwright and lyricist Howard Ashman, became key players in an era known as the "Disney Renaissance."

RELATED: Go behind the scenes at Disney's Aladdin on Broadway

Menken stayed with the Aladdin story through every incarnation, carefully adapting it for new generations.

"It's a balancing act between being the keeper of the flame and being part of a new team," Menken said.

Ashman, who was an original team member on the project, got very ill before the film ever hit theaters.

"Howard was very sick. So, you know, his involvement at that point - uh -- was much more of a struggle," said Bill Lauch, Ashman's partner.

Ashman completed two of the movies' most memorable songs before passing: "Prince Ali" and "Friend Like Me."

"I still look at those lyrics and think that, you know, they're as smart and clever and as complicated and catchy as anything he wrote," Lauch said.

Lyrist Tim Rice was tasked with a tall order.

"It was a challenge and, obviously, I thought at any minute they might boot me off just as they'd booted me on. But luckily, 'Whole New World' in particular, and the other songs worked well," Rice said. "It's been all downhill since then, if you think about it."

WATCH: 'Aladdin' stars perform 'A Whole New World' in-studio

The stars of Disney's musical "Aladdin" joined WCL Thursday for an in-studio performance of "A Whole New World."

But the magic carpet ride continued.

Jonathan Freeman played the villainous Jafar. He was the only actor who voiced a character and played them on Broadway.

"A lot of villains, you know, they come and they go," Freeman joked. "So, I got lucky. It was a lot of work and it was very demanding -- demanding in a different way than working on the film, of course."

Robin Williams gave the genie his signature style of comedy.

Now, the role Michael James Scott plays eight times a week on Broadway is a wish come true to the actor.

"The fact that I'm a part of that, and I am a part of what has come and what so many of my ancestors, and so many of the people before me, have fought for the change is already happening," Scott said.

After three decades, Aladdin's lasting power is creating a more inclusive legacy, from the actors in front of the camera to the team behind this Disney video, celebrating both Diwali and Aladdin's 30th anniversary.

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