BTS Magazine Summer/Fall 2022

Inspiration for the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin

In adapting the character of the Genie for the stage, the creative team turned to the original inspiration for the Disney animated film character: classic jazz showmen Fats Waller and Cab Calloway. 

Photograph by Carl Van Vechten

Fats Waller (1904-1943) was a popular comedic entertainer, jazz pianist and singer. One of the few jazz musicians to win wide commercial fame, Fats Waller made hundreds of recordings with his band and often had his work appear in Broadway revues. His best-known songs “Ain’t Misbehavin” and “Honeysuckle Rose” were inducted into the GRAMMY® Hall of Fame in 1984 and 1999. He was known not only for his songwriting, but also for his flamboyant and witty performance style. 

Photograph by Alan Fisher

Cab Calloway (1907-1994) was a jazz singer and bandleader, known for his combination of energetic scat singing, improvisation and more traditional vaudeville-style vocals. Calloway performed in films throughout the 1930s and 1940s, and later went on to perform in musical theatre, including the revival of Porgy and Bess in 1952. His trademark song, “Minnie the Moocher,” is considered by some to be the first recording to feature scat singing.  

Explore our Behind the Scenes Magazine | Summer/Fall Issue 2022