Disney’s Aladdin is summoned to the Music Hall May 30-June 4

Cody Hernández performs along with the ensemble in “A Friend Like Me” // Photo by Deen Van Meer for Disney Theatrical Productions

The national tour of Disney’s Aladdin is all set to bring magical wish-fulfillment grandeur to the Musical Hall from May 30 to June 4.

Viewers can expect ornate costumes, witty comedy, over 80 special effects, and nostalgic romance from the hit Broadway musical based on both the 1992 animated film of same name and the centuries-old tales of A Thousand and One Nights. 

Cast member Cody Hernández, who plays the chief guard of the Sultan Razoul, says the production is an expanded version of the Disney animated film with added musical numbers and wit that will make anyone feel like a kid again—but not in a way that makes you feel like you’re watching an animated kids movie.

Though it’s certainly a kid-friendly show, Hernández says the show has plenty of adult jokes and impressive spectacle that makes the show palatable for adults.

Courtesy Cody Hernández

“If you think you know Aladdin and you haven’t seen our musical, you do not know Aladdin,” Hernández says. “Our musical has way more music and characters than the animated feature does.”

Some of his favorites of these bonus songs include a fun, cheeky dancing number where the audience gets to know Aladdin’s three best friends and a sword fighting number where characters tap dance on swords. 

There are also the crowd favorites like “A Whole New World” and “Arabian Nights” that many will recognize from the film. For Hernández, the feeling of accomplishment he feels after performing the iconic “A Friend Like Me” is one of his favorite parts of the tour.

“That number is a culmination of all of the work of the over 70 people that we have traveling on this tour, just working their absolute hardest to get that number to be what it is every single night,” Hernández says. “It’s just a huge accomplishment when we stand there, and we’re huffing and puffing, and the crowd is applauding.”

While being a part of his first national tour is more than rewarding, Hernández says the hardest part of his new nomadic lifestyle is being away from his partner, who is back at the home they share in New York. Since his Golden Retriever, Darcy, joined him after six months on tour, Hernández says the homesickness is slightly more tolerable. A New York City dog through and through, Darcy has encountered backyards and the life of an American suburban dog for the first time on their cross-country journey.

Hernández named Darcy after he was cast as the aloof lead in a production of Pride and Prejudice—one of many productions he has performed in over his musical career. He also did six months of contracts with Arizona Broadway where he was in Beauty and the Beast, Hair, and The Wedding Singer.

Hernández says he is often cast as a dark and broody mean guy like Mr. Darcy—a pattern that has continued within his current role as Razoul, the chief guard of the Sultan and rival of Aladdin.

“Razoul is a little bit more of a bully than I normally play. He’s just the lackey, the minion—he’s not in charge of anything. So he’s always looking for power and gets it brutishly,”  Hernández says. “But it’s fun playing him because I get to kind of flex my acting chops just a little bit and be the dark and brooding scary guy, which is so not my M.O. as a human.”

On top of his role as Razoul, Hernández also has roles in the ensemble as Jafar’s understudy and, as the tallest man in the ensemble, the go-to lifter for any dance number that requires a lift. This means his pre-show ritual always entails a core warm-up in preparation for lifting fellow cast members in the air.

Photo by Deen Van Meer for Disney Theatrical Productions

In addition to theater, Hernández also juggles roles in his life as a licensed real estate agent and comedian. When his barista salary wasn’t cutting it for the lifestyle he wanted to live—which included more training to book bigger theater roles—he decided to try out real estate in 2017 and discovered he had a knack for it. 

As an actor/real estate agent/comedian, the triple threat has learned his interests intermingle quite nicely. Hernández’s experiences in theater and real estate give him plenty of material for his sketch and stand-up writing, and people he meets in show business sometimes become real estate clients.

Though a good chunk of his time in between shows is spent helping clients close deals on real estate in New York and writing new material for comedy gigs, he always makes time to try out a restaurant and coffee shop at each city they stop at.

After wrapping in Chicago Sunday, Hernández and the tour will head to Kansas City for their opening show on May 30 at 7:30 p.m. So far, the North American tour has received raving reviews that match the sentiment of Hernández’s enthusiasm for the show.

“Even if you didn’t love the original movie, there’s so much more to see and it’s so spectacular to see it on stage done live in front of you,” Hernández says. “There really is something for everyone. And it is a runaway train that does not stop—you will not be bored once.”

You can get tickets for the show through Ticketmaster and find more information here. The tour will be in Kansas City May 30 through June 4.

Categories: Theater