All in the Family: Couple performs, travels together for ‘Aladdin’

Jake Letts, Ben Chavez, Adi Roy and Colt Prattes in the Aladdin North American Tour. (Photo by Deen van Meer. © Disney)

By Laura Latzko

As part of the national tour of “Disney’s Aladdin,” husband and wife Colt Prattes and Angelina Mullins travel North America together with their lab mix, Mya, by their side.

The trio will come to town as part of Broadway in Tucson series from Tuesday, September 5, to Sunday, September 10.

Many fans grew up watching the 1992 animated film, singing along to songs such as “A Whole New World,” “Friend Like Me,” “One Jump Ahead” and “Arabian Nights.” The musical has similar songs and tells a comparable story as the Disney film, with additional characters and songs.

In the production, Aladdin, a young “street rat” forced to steal food to survive, discovers a lamp with a genie, who grants him three wishes. With his wishes, he tries to get the attention of Jasmine, daughter of the sultan. He faces opposition from Jafar, an adviser to the sultan and sorcerer who covets power.

There are differences in the show that audiences will notice immediately.

Instead of the monkey Abu and tiger Rajah, Aladdin has three good friends — Kassim, Omar and Babkak — and Jasmine has three attendants. Iago is still Jafar’s companion.
The musical is based on a book by Chad Beguelin and music by Alan Menken. The lyrics were written by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Beguelin.

The national tour is being directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw.

The national tour stars Adi Roy (Aladdin), Senzel Ahmady (Jasmine), Marcus M. Martin (Genie), Anand Nagraj (Jafar) and Sorab Wadia (Sultan).

Prattes plays Kassim in the show, and Mullins is part of the ensemble.
Prattes has portrayed Kassim on two national tours and on Broadway over two years, with time off due to COVID-19.

Mullins did the first national tour for three years and returned to the show when it was brought back after COVID-19. She is one of the show’s longest-running cast members.

Mullins has also been on the TV show “Smash” and has performed on Broadway and tours of shows such as “Fosse,” “Spamalot” and “Saturday Night Fever.”

Prattes has been on Broadway and tours of shows such as “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “Disney’s High School Musical” and “A Chorus Line.”

He also appeared in the remake of “Dirty Dancing” and on the TV show “This is Us.” He starred in Pink’s “Try” music video and was part of her “The Truth About Love Tour.”

This is the second show Prattes and Mullins have been in together. The couple of 13 years met during a Broadway revival of “West Side Story,” during which they played Graziella and Riff.

“We were dance partners falling in love. It was definitely a highlight,” Mullins says.
Prattes says he noticed Mullins right away during rehearsals for “West Side Story.”
“My first day of rehearsal, I walked in,” he says.

“Angelina and I were both there 30 minutes ahead of the rehearsal time. There was a group of us going into the show. There were 10 people in the room, and the resident choreographer was picking couples to learn the dance in the gym. In my heart, I was like, ‘Please pick her. Please let me partner with her.’ And he did.”

Along with “West Side Story” and “Disney’s Aladdin,” the two have taught and done choreography and production jobs together.

During “Aladdin,” they find moments where they can subtly interact with each other.

“There’s a part toward the end of the show where I walk by her,” Prattes says. “I’m supposed to be selling a hat. I’m flirting up a storm with this one. It’s the best, and it’s right within the character.”

Prattes’ character Kassim, as well as Omar and Babkak, help to bring another dimension to Aladdin’s character as his three closest friends. His struggles and triumphs are shared with the three other young men, who each bring something different to the group.
Kassim is like the older brother in this group.

“He’s got a lot of bravado because he feels like the protector of the group of the four of them,” Prattes says.

“But at the same time, he always picks fights with others that are much bigger than him. … He’s a big old softie. He loves those guys. They’re family. They’re all brothers.”

Prattes says returning from COVID-19 to play Kassim, he has found new dimensions to the character.

“I’m always discovering new things about him,” Prattes says.

“It was like putting on your favorite pair of jeans or jacket, but at the same time, I still found so much more. Nothing is ever just set. This is a role that has so much to play with.”

Kassim, Omar and Babkak and Jasmine’s three attendants were originally written into the 1992 animated film, but they were cut and replaced by Abu and Rajah.

Songs such as “High Adventure” were also created for the film before they were cut.

“You get to be a part of this history that so many people think is new, but really it was in the original,” Prattes says.

He says building relationships with Ben Chavez and Jake Letts, the actors portraying Omar and Babkak, over time has been important. The three of them are known as the “Bok Trio.”

Mullins has taken on a “mama bear” role within the ensemble. She will often help new cast members, offering leadership and advice on how to navigate a national tour.

She says it is important to offer guidance just as others did for her when she was starting out.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have been surrounded my whole career with incredible women in the dressing room,” Mullins says. “I always say the women in the dressing room are the ones that raise you.”

Mullins plays a range of characters in the show, including people in the marketplace and versions of Genie. In the “Cave of Wonders” scene, they take part in a segment inspired by “Dancing with the Stars.”

As part of the song “Friend Like Me,” they quickly change into gold costumes, which are central to the number.

“It’s this marathon,” Mullins says. “It’s basically a sprint for I think it’s 12 minutes, maybe a little bit longer. By the end of that, we are holding our gold canes and we have our gold hats on. The Cave of Wonders is dripping in gold, and everyone is usually screaming. You are out of breath, and you’ve worked so hard, but you look out there, and everyone is just feeling pure joy. … There’s nothing like that feeling for me.

“We come out of the stage door, and whether people are there on a date night or whether it’s a family with the kids all dressed up, it’s so beautiful to see. There’s always a smile on everyone’s face,” Prattes adds.

In the musical, the character of Jasmine is fleshed out, and she has more power and urgency.

“For these little girls, it’s amazing for them to watch the power in Jasmine,” Mullins says.

“It’s not to say that she didn’t have the power in the film, but she didn’t to this degree. I really do love it, and I think it registers with the kids. They leave feeling very empowered, and we do teach a lot at different dancing and theater schools. They bring that up a lot. They really are in love with Jasmine in this new way.”

Prattes and Mullins both grew up watching the film “Aladdin.” It was Mullins’ favorite Disney movie as a child. Now, they get to have their own adventures like Aladdin and Jasmine.
The couple drive the tour together in their truck with Mya. This allows them to see parts of the country they wouldn’t otherwise.

Prattes says they can really relate to the song “A Million Miles Away” because of their experiences on the road together.

“It’s such a blessing for our family to have this journey and have this time. We don’t take it for granted,” Prattes says. “I have coined the phrase ‘professional nomads.’ … We always say home is wherever the three of us are.”

National Tour of “Disney’s Aladdin”
WHEN: Various times Tuesday, September 5, to Sunday, September 10
WHERE: Centennial Hall, 1020 N. University Boulevard, Tucson
COST: Tickets start at $40