Q&A with Disney's Aladdin the Musical's Matt Croke

Q&A with Disney's Aladdin the Musical's Matt Croke

Updated On: May 1, 2018
By Nicki McIntyre
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    We sat down with Matthew Croke, ahead of his first performance in the title role of Disney's Aladdin on Monday 5th June at London's Prince Edward Theatre.

    Congratulations on your debut leading West End role in Aladdin. How did it come about?
    Matt Croke: I got the call for an audition and just prepared straight away. I went in a few weeks later, with auditions in the middle of that. I had the last audition on the Friday and then found out I got the part on the Monday morning and I burst into tears. I was just so happy.

    So far throughout your career, you've understudied various roles such as Fiero in Wicked, Eugine in Grease & Don in Singin’ in the Rain. How does the prospect of performing the lead role in one of London’s biggest productions make you feel?
    Matt Croke: I’m just so excited to do a role like this every single night. I know what it feels like to do it now and again, which is awesome but I’m just so ready to take it on full time and let it all soak in 8 times a week and enjoy that.

    How does it then feel to be playing a character with whom so many people have such a strong emotional attachment?
    Matt Croke: It feels amazing to be taking on a role that I actually grew up with and relate to as well. There’s so many parts of Aladdin that I feel were and are still like me as a kid and as an adult. I’m just so excited to show that because what Aladdin is, is part of me but also because I know its such an amazing film and was such an exciting time for other people, that they will have that nostalgic feeling when they come and watch the show, and fingers crossed I get that out to them as well as feeling it for me.

    The part demands natural chemistry between Aladdin and Jasmine (Jade Ewen). Have you begun rehearsals together?
    Matt Croke: I’ve just come from a rehearsal with her singing 2 songs together and I can tell straight away we are going to get on really well. She’s a lovely girl and she is very professional. She’s really excited for some different moments and a different kind of chemistry. I can just tell that we are going to have a blast together.

    Are there any similarities between yourself and the character of Aladdin?
    Matt Croke: Growing up definitely. His cheeky chappy side, always trying to get away with it. Just wanting to have a good old time and also on top of that, Aladdin really does try and better himself and wants something more for himself and his life. I kind of relate to that in my performing career, always working towards this moment now which is being in this industry that I’m in as an actor and just waiting for that call, which I’ve recently just got, that we all dream about getting.

    Had you seen the show before you secured the role?
    Matt Croke: Yes, I saw the show during the audition process. I thought it would help me get a few ideas for the auditions. I was blown away. It was incredible!

    What is your favourite song in the show?
    Matt Croke: It’s a Disney show, so every single song is incredible, but in this show, I’d have to say that my favourite is ‘Proud of Your Boy’. Firstly, because it’s a beautiful song that wasn’t in the film and straight away if you’ve never heard it before, you’ll just love it. The chords and the way its written make it one of those songs that everyone is going to love. Also because he is talking to his mother and I’m ridiculously close to my family and part of me is kind of in that song as well as Aladdin.

    If you could play any other character in Aladdin, who would you play & why?
    Matt Croke: I’m going to flip it round and say Jafar, just because I watched it recently and realised he’s got some great one liners in there and the more I get to know the show version, I can see he’s just such a great character. To be playing Aladdin full time and completely do a full circle and take on the part of Jafar would be entertaining.

    Who would you like to take on a magic carpet ride?
    Matt Croke: I’d be in trouble if I didn’t say my fiancé.

    If you were granted 3 wishes, what would they be?
    Matt Croke: My first wish would to be fit & healthy and continue doing what I am doing and love to do. Its something that not a lot of people can say and I feel so lucky and grateful to be in this position. I am recently engaged, so my 2nd wish would be to have an amazing life with my fiancé. The last wish would be to live up to the role that everybody loves. Everyone loves Aladdin and I really hope I do it justice. 

    Why do you think a group should book to see Aladdin?
    Matt Croke: Because if you love the film, you’re going to love the show even more. There’s so much more to it than the film has. The story is told in a lot more detail and you get to see a side of Aladdin that you may not have seen in the film. The set, the design, the songs and the spectacle of the whole thing is incredible. If you don’t walk away smiling, there’s something wrong.

    Describe the character 'Aladdin' in 3 words.
    Matt Croke: A cheeky chap, heart of gold and ambitious.

    Has (Jasmine) Jade Ewen given you any advice on taking the role?
    Matt Croke: I’ve had a chat with Jade yes and she advised me to just make the part my own and focusing on how me 'Matthew' can make Aladdin.
    Book your Aladdin tickets today!