For most aspiring performers, getting a minor role in a production is usually how a career starts.

Clearly no-one told Gavin Adams that. For Gavin will be bringing Aladdin the Musical to Manchester next week in which he plays Aladdin - his first professional role!

“I have to pinch myself every day,” he said. “I just count my lucky stars.”

The Bolton News: Disney Theatrical Productions present Aladdin, the musical, music Alan Menken, text Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, book and additional text Chad Beguelin, 
direction and choreography Casey Nicholaw

with Gavin Adams (Aladdin), Desmonda Cathabel (Jasmine),

This is the first time that Disney’s spectacular musical has toured the UK having previously wowed audiences in the West End and is one of the most eagerly anticipated shows to come to Manchester this year.

But Gavin is taking it all in his stride.

“It’s been such amazing experience,” he said. “I can’t really put it into words. To have this opportunity come up and to get to do what I do every day, I’m just so grateful to everyone who has helped me get here.

“When I first read the script I quickly realised how much I had to learn. I hadn’t had much dance training prior to this role either so I had to learn a lot of the dance in rehearsal.

“I remember after the first day of rehearsal in London, I stayed behind to run through stuff. The deputy company manager came into this big rehearsal room and saw me lying on the floor. He was concerned I was all right but I just said ‘I just need to some time to absorb it all’.”

With a show as eagerly anticipated as Aladdin the Musical, that puts added pressure on even the most experienced members of the cast.

“There were big expectations and a lot was being asked of me,” said Gavin. “But at the same time I was so incredibly supported by the cast, the company and all the creatives both in the UK and America. I’ve felt in very safe hands throughout.”

The Bolton News: Gavin Adams as Aladdin and Desmonda Cathabel as Princess Jasmine (Picture: Deen Van Meer)

Gavin’s whole story reads like an improbable script. Born in Hong Kong to a British father and Cantonese mother, the 25-year-old spent his early years in Shanghai and his early career aim was to be come a doctor.

“That was the original plan,” he laughed. “I’d done my medical school entrance exams but then just realised that actually I’d like to try singing.”

As a result he got a place in Manchester at the Royal Northern College of Music to study a degree in Popular Music Vocals and the rest - as they say - is history.

“The turning point for me was seeing The Lion King in Hong Kong in 2019,” he said. “I’d seen Phantom of the Opera a few years early but was too young to appreciate it. But after the song The Circle of Life which opens The Lion King I was totally transfixed. I couldn’t breath, I gripped the arms of my seat so tightly. I knew then that it was what I had to do, or at least give it a try.”

While in Manchester Gavin was among fellow students who got the chance to appear with Take That.

“Our tutor ran a choir and said there might be some shows we could be part of,” said Gavin. “Then she said it was five nights of Take That at the Arena. It was amazing.”

Gavin still winces about one incident however.

“Rick Astley was supporting Take That and I thought he was one of the sound guys,” he confessed. “In my defence it was in the gents and he was wearing all dark clothing just like the crew. It was only later that I realised who he was.”

While at RNCM, Gavin was cast as Galileo in an amateur production of the Queen musical We Will Rock You, directed by Joel Montague one of the stars of Hamilton in London’s West End.

“I asked him how you went about doing all this as a career and he advised taking a one-year course and getting an agent,” said Gavin. “So I got in to the Royal Academy of Music and within six months I was at an open audition for Aladdin.”

The Bolton News: Disney Theatrical Productions present Aladdin, the musical, music Alan Menken, text Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, book and additional text Chad Beguelin, 
direction and choreography Casey Nicholaw

with Gavin Adams (Aladdin), Desmonda Cathabel (Jasmine),

Based on the hugely successful Disney animation, Aladdin the Musical is a genuinely spectacular show.

“Just everything about it is special “ said Gavin. “It’s the level of detail. The costumes are stunning. Just one example, one of the jackets the prince wears took 200 hours to hand bead.

“It is such a dazzling spectacle and audiences are just loving it.”

The UK tour began last year so what was opening night like for newcomer Gavin?

“Honestly, I was so nervous,” he said. “But then to go out in front of an audience just transformed the whole show. We’d been rehearsing for six or seven weeks but it was not until we were on stage with an audience in front of us that it all suddenly made sense.

“You get so much energy from the audience reaction. The show is a musical comedy and it creates this positive feedback loop of joy and happiness.”

As one of Disney’s most-loved animations, Aladdin the Musical has a lot to live up to.

“There is a real sense of familiarity but the show also features a number of new songs and there are a number of small additions which make the stage show so magical.

The Bolton News: Gavin Adams

“I remember one show when the Genie is singing a song - I don’t have to do to much in that - and I saw a little girl sat on her mum’s lap just bouncing up and down having the time of her life.

“I thought then, ‘this is why we do this’.”

The tour continues until January next year and Gavin is with it for the full run.

“After that, who knows?” he said. “I would love to be Simba in The Lion King at some point in my career, that’s what got me started in musical theatre.

“But first we’re coming to Manchester which is a city I love.”

Aladdin the Musical, Palace Theatre, Manchester, Wednesday, May 22 to Sunday, July 7. Details from