SCHENECTADY – For actor Adi Roy, it all started with Aladdin.
Roy first got serious about acting after he was cast in the lead role in a junior production of Disney’s “Aladdin” in middle school. Now, he’s playing the character in the North American tour of the Broadway musical, which is playing at Proctors.
The Chatham, New Jersey native went on to study at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute through New York University before taking a pause to make his Broadway debut last year as Phoenix in “Jagged Little Pill.” While playing Aladdin on the North American tour of Disney’s “Aladdin,” he’s also working toward his degree online via an asynchronous program.
“Aladdin” opened at Proctors last week and will run through Sunday, Oct. 23. Shortly after the first show, the Gazette caught up with Roy about what it’s been like to bring the show to Proctors and to revisit the role of Aladdin.
Q: What got you into acting?
A: Being a younger brother, everything you do is based on what your older siblings do. So my sister had done the school plays that my theater arts teacher back in elementary school would write himself. She was doing them when she was in elementary school and I was like, I want to be like my sister, and I’m going to do this as well.
But I first started taking it seriously after “Aladdin Jr.” in middle school. That was the first time I had a role that large and that’s when I realized it’s a lot of work but it’s also a lot of fun. I just really wanted to pursue it more. I went to professional theater camps such as Paper Mill Playhouse which confirmed my thoughts that I wanted to do this as a living.
Q: When you heard about the North American tour of “Aladdin” did you jump at the chance to return to the role?
A: I feel like I haven’t fully been able to escape my Aladdin roots. All throughout high school, people would remind me about Aladdin and then actually, when I got to college, I first did an audition for an understudy role in the Broadway cast [of “Aladdin”]. From there, they were like, “We really like you. We’re not going to choose you for this role. But we want to see you again, in the future.”
This North American tour came around and they had me audition. I got a callback a few times and then I finally got the role, which I was very excited about and [I’m] happy to finally be doing it again because it’s just an amazing role.
Q: Are you still in touch with anyone from that “Aladdin Jr.” production?
A: One of my closest friends from high school who was in that production came out to see our first preview [at Proctors]. She got to take pictures of our curtain call and she actually sent those pictures to our group chat that we still have from eighth grade. Everyone was very proud of me. I’m excited because they’re all in college so I’m going to hopefully see them as I go around the nation.
Q: What’s it been like to rehearse and perform at Proctors so far?
A: It’s been amazing. This venue is just spectacular and to be starting here, I feel like it’s a privilege. All the history of this theater and the design just really add to the ambiance of the show. So it’s been great for me, selfishly, as an actor because it gets me in the zone.
Q: How did the first show go?
A: It went great. I think there were a few mishaps but that’s expected. But overall, it was an amazing show.
There was actually a really funny moment, which shows you can’t expect anything with live theater. When the Cave of Wonders is collapsing on me, I scream “Hello! Help! Anyone? Hello?” And then I paused for a second and a little kid in the audience just screamed back “Hello!” It was really cute. It kind of stopped the show for five seconds and I had to keep my composure.
It was a reminder that I’m doing this for the right reasons, to put on a great show for everyone who’s excited to come to see it.
Q: Are there any standout scenes that you particularly enjoy working through?
A: The basic answer, just because of how energetic it is, is the “Friend Like Me” sequence. That goes on for 10 minutes and it’s just amazing to see Marcus (Martin, who plays the Genie) work through that because I’m not really doing much but watching him figure out how to do all that and actually do it spectacularly is amazing.
Also, “Whole New World,” with the few audiences that we’ve had, shows how spectacular it is when you hear audible reactions to everything that you do on that carpet. It’s just really gratifying.
Q: Have you had a chance to explore Schenectady?
A: I haven’t ventured out too far just because we’ve been in rehearsals basically all day. Now we’re doing shows and rehearsals at the same time. But I’ve been down Jay Street. I’ve been to the farmers market on Sunday and that’s really nice.
I’m sure in the coming week when we ease up on the rehearsals and shows become more fluid, we can do more exploring. Some of the cast went to an apple orchard and I’d love to do that.
For “Aladdin” showtimes and more information visit proctors.org.
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