To call Adam Jacobs busy right now would be a huuuge understatement.
The young actor is juggling two leading roles -- the first, as the title character in "Aladdin," the new musical based on the Disney animated film, which opens at the New Amsterdam Theatre March 20. The show, about an orphan lad who woos Princess Jasmine with the aid of a fast-talking genie, includes music from the film, plus new songs from composer Alan Menken and lyricists Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin.
Then there's Jacobs' "new dad" gig with his actress wife, Kelly, who gave birth to twin boys, Jack and Alex, in January -- on papa's first day of rehearsal.
Jacobs previously starred on Broadway as Marius in the recent "Les Misérables" revival, and as Simba in "The Lion King." He met his wife in typical show-biz fashion -- when both were performing in a Christmas show in Hershey, Pa.
Newsday contributor Joseph V. Amodio sat down with Jacobs in his dressing room before a recent performance.
Looks like you and your genie, James Monroe Iglehart, are having fun.
He's amazing. And a brilliant improv-er. Every once in a while, he'll come up with something that makes me crack up onstage. It's that kind of show. I think it works so well because Casey has given us the freedom to work with the writer and come up with our own thing. It's fresh, it's fun. And Casey will be the first to say, "That was horrible," or "Awesome, keep it." So I'm learning so much about comedy.
Just 'tween you and me ... how does the magic carpet work? I looked hard, and couldn't see any wires.
I can't tell you the secrets.
Nope, nope. It's smoother than you'd think. I wish I could see what it looks like. I've seen the stage managers ride it, but it's not the same. When it first pulls away, it's exhilarating. You have that music underneath you, sort of a John Williams feel with the horns, and it really feels like you're flying. We look over the sides of the carpet and see the stars. Of course, as Aladdin, I have to assume I've ridden this carpet a few times.
So you have to be cool about it?
Yeah, I can't be freakin' out about how awesome it is. That would ruin it.
What's so refreshing is that it's not a souped-up, "Spider-Man" spectacle -- no pyrotechnics. The illusions you create are all just theater tricks. And it works.
Yeah, it doesn't need a roller coaster or jet packs.
You're not bad jumping from rooftop to rooftop, either. Any near misses?
In the Toronto opening, buildings didn't come together and I had to jump about 6feet from one to another. It wasn't far. The stage managers were freakin' out -- "We'll have contingency plans; you shouldn't do that."
You'll have to watch that now that you're a dad. Jasmine has a great line about how she's looking for a man who won't be afraid to change a few royal diapers now and then. How do you stack up?
I've been changing quite a few. For a couple of little princes at home. They're 1month and 1 day old today. They were full-term. Rare for twins. I was hoping they'd come a little earlier, because we had a three-week break. But no, they decided to stay in there and grow -- which is good. It's what they should do.
How are you staying awake?
My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are in from Wisconsin, helping out. My parents are in Jersey, so they'll come up on weekends. The support we've gotten from our family is great. And our Disney family.... I wouldn't be able to do all I have to do in this show if I wasn't able to get at least six or seven hours of sleep a night. But come March, when everybody leaves, we'll have to get a sitter, or a night nurse. We haven't figured it out yet.
Are the babies allowed to have non-Disney stuffed animals?
Oh, I don't know about that!
How's your wife?
She's been a trouper. I have such profound respect for her, and women, now. This changes your whole perspective on ... everything. When I sing the song "Proud of Your Boy," I'm singing to Aladdin's dead mother ... but now that I'm a parent, I see how she would've felt about her son. I know I'll be proud of my boys, no matter what. It makes you stand back and look at everything and say, "Wow, I'm such a fortunate person to have all that I have right now. I couldn't wish for anything more." Because what I have now -- it's a lot.