Aladdin: Michael James Scott is living the dream as Genie in stage version of Disney favourite


Michael James Scott.
Michael James Scott.

US music theatre performer Michael James Scott might always have remnants of his glittery Genie stage makeup on his face but it only serves as a reminder he is living his dream.

Born in Baltimore, Scott’s parents decided to move the family near to his aunt in Orlando in search of more opportunity.

“My mum said I sang first before I spoke so I guess it was always innately in me to be a performer, to be a song and dance man,” Scott said.

“They wanted us to grow up in a suburb as opposed to the inner city of Baltimore where it was a tougher escape for black men to not become another statistic. I owe everything to them.”

The move paid off with Scott making a name for himself in the music theatre scene and his brother becoming a successful chef for the NBA.

Scott was part of the original company of Aladdin which opened on Broadway in 2014 in the same theatre where he saw his first Broadway production and another Disney favourite, Beauty and the Beast.

He was the original standby for Genie before departing the show for The Book of Mormon, but fate had not finished his Genie journey yet and he received a call about starring in the Australian production of Aladdin which opened in Sydney in 2016 and will be at Perth Crown Theatre from July 2018.

“It’s a dream role,” Scott said.

“The Genie is a big kid and the joy and heart and love he has, the essence of the Genie, is a dream to play. You have to pull out all of the tricks in your actor’s box which is really fun to do but it’s also quite a task.

“I love the challenge of it, I love that it exhausts me and that it scared me, which is why I wanted to do it.”

Facing his fear paid off for Scott with his win for Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role at the 2017 Helpmann Awards where he said the night was all a blur.

“But I will never forget the feeling of support from the community,” he said.

“Being the only American in this production, you never know how people are going to react to you being an outsider but from day one the respect, support, care and love has been incredible and winning the Helpmann was like the cherry on the top.”

It also made the sacrifice more worthwhile of having to do long-distance with his filmmaker partner of eight years Jeremy Merrifield who works between LA and New York.

“We’re both doing what we love and you have to be happy with yourself before you can be a good partner,” Scott said.

“And you just put on your big boy pants and you make it work. I never thought in my life that I’d be a frequent flyer to Australia.”

Tickets on sale today.

What: Aladdin
Where: Crown Theatre Perth
When: From July 22, 2018
Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com.au

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