‘Aladdin’s’ Genie Grants Children’s Wishes

ABC News Beyond the Headline
Beyond The Headline

It appears that “genies” really can make dreams come true.

Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart, who plays the genie in Broadway’s new production of “Aladdin,” is helping fulfill the wishes of children at the musical’s home, New York City’s New Amsterdam Theater.

The kids are a part of the “Disney Musicals in Schools” program that helps schools develop their musical theater programs. Disney is the parent company of ABC News, and “Aladdin" is a Disney property.

Iglehart wants the children to have the same opportunities he did.

There were people who came to me when I was a kid,” he said, “and they were like, ‘Look, you are talented. Here is where you should go.’”

There are 6,000 kids in the program across five states.

Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Group and the mastermind behind the program, said it helps give the kids self-esteem.

“If we can inspire some of them, then we have done our job,” he said.

Iglehart is hoping he can help the kids find the same love for theater that he did.

If these kids can look at me and say, ‘Hey, the genie made it,’ then I feel pretty good,” he said.