Have you seen Disney’s smash musical Aladdin? I hope that the answer is yes. To that measure, I am confident you were treated to the specular, explosive, and downright entertaining Michael James Scott, who has played the Genie in Aladdin’s international productions, including stints on Broadway, London, the North American Tour, and Australia (where he originated the role and won the Helpmann Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical). When Scott isn’t getting standing ovations, and downright belly laughs six days a week, he can also be seen in the new Showtime TV series “Black Monday.”
He’s no stranger to the stage. He originated the role of the Minstrel on Broadway in Something Rotten and Dr. Gotswana (aka The Guy with the Maggot Problem) in the Tony-winning smash hit, The Book of Mormon. Other Broadway credits include Mamma Mia, Tarzan, All Shook Up, The Pirate Queen, Elf, and Hair. He was the standby for the legendary Ben Vereen in the international tour of Fosse, taking over the role in Paris at the renowned Théâtre du Châtelet. On the West End, he was the associate choreographer for the Broadway revival transfer of Hair.
Here’s what Michael James Scott, the adorable Genie in the smash musical Aladdin had to share about having one of the best jobs in the world.
NEW JERSEY URBAN NEWS: Michael James Scott, you are a gifted man. YOU tore that house down and built it right back up!
MICHAEL JAMES SCOTT: I heard you were there. I felt you. I had so much fun.
NJUN: Does an audience’s energy impact your performance?
MJS: Thank you, and yes, an audience is such a gift. When people were ready one last night, it felt like that.
NJUN: You have been playing this role for a long time. How do you still keep it fresh?
MJS: It’s a great question. And it’s so funny because my answer has changed over time. In the beginning, I felt the pressure. But now, after coming back from the pandemic, and being away from Broadway for 19 months, I don’t take anything for granted.
NJUN: COVID did teach us a lot.
MJS: Yes. We are all aware of how things could change overnight, right? And for so many people — not just for the theatre community but for all of us. It’s more than just a job, just our livelihood; these are the things we are so passionate about and are blessed to meet to do. Now after not having to be able to do it for so long, it is truly something that I am so thankful for. And I tell you, you know, I am very lucky to play the Genie [ Aladdin on Broadway]; it is an iconic role.
NJUN: People love it.
MSJ: People love it, and I get to play every night. To answer, I didn’t forget. I keep it fresh because of the audience. The energy changes every night when that curtain comes down and they see me. So that’s how I keep it fresh.
NJUN: I can’t help but comment on the cast. They hit their marks with such precision, but no one is marking. They are performing the whole way.
MSJ: That’s an amazing compliment. And I will also pass that on because that is a beautiful compliment. But it is true what you saw. They dance off-stage and keep dancing in the wings. The party doesn’t stop, and I am looking off stage, with FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), because I want to join that party too. To learn more about Disney’s musical Aladdin, click here.