Confused patrons look about during an unplanned intermission at "Disney's Aladdin." Photo by Rachel Chazin/Star Tribune
Theatergoers attending “Disney’s Aladdin” at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis were surprised and confused Wednesday when the show was suddenly stopped before the end of the first act.
The performers were in the middle of something when an announcer said something about technical difficulties and the curtains just came down. Patrons could see nothing wrong and there was no further explanation of what necessitated the stoppage.
The "Aladdin" interruptus, which came before the big number, “A Friend Like Me,” lasted about 11 minutes and was treated like an unplanned intermission. Patrons made phone calls, took bathroom breaks and chatted with each other.
“Aladdin” launched its national tour in the spring in Chicago, where it had a months-long engagement. The Twin Cities is the second stop of this huge, complicated show that requires 27 trucks to transport all the set pieces, costumes and machinery to make it work. Running it is equally complicated, although the professionals behind the scenes usually do it fairly seamlessly.
Once Wednesday's performance resumed, everything ran smoothly.
Officials at the Hennepin Theatre Trust, the Broadway presenter, issued a statement Thursday acknowleding the snafu but declining to get into details about the actual difficulty: "One of the unique joys of theatre is that audiences have the opportunity to experience a truly live performance delivered by a group of gifted artists working collaboratively to bring stories to life," the statement said.
"Very rarely, part of that live experience includes technical disturbances to the production, as was the case last night at a performance of 'Disney’s Aladdin' when the show briefly paused during Act I due to a technical difficulty," the statement continued. "'Aladdin’s' touring company of 75 talented cast and crew members, along with the excellent Orpheum crew, worked safely and swiftly to resolve the issue and the show resumed, without further interruption, to an enthusiastic and extremely supportive audience."
Star Tribune staffer Rachel Chazin contributed to this report.