The Firehouse Theatre brings a bilingual production of Aladdin to Farmers Branch that’s brimming with Disney magic

Inside The Firehouse Theatre’s upcoming production of “Aladdin” with Director Pamela Anglero’ and stars Brian Vazquez and Jason Philip Solís. The production runs from June 20-July 7.

The Firehouse Theatre - "Aladdin"
From Left to Right Whitney Lucio, Jason Philip Solís and Brian Vazquez – Photo by Jason Anderson/Pendleton Photography

Brian Vazquez’s first role at The Firehouse Theatre in Farmers Branch was serving popcorn and concessions. Now, his first onstage role with the company will be as the titular star in its latest play, “Aladdin.”

“Funny enough, I had like a distant chance to play Aladdin in high school,” Vazquez says, recalling how he became busy with work and “lost the courage over time to continue auditioning.” When he began working at The Firehouse Theatre, his manager encouraged him to jump back onstage and audition for its production of “Footloose.” “If I’m speaking completely honest, I definitely chickened out on ‘Footloose,’” Vazquez says.

“Aladdin” was different, though. Vazquez loved the movie and wanted to give himself another chance to be the character. With the encouragement of Director Pamela Anglero’ and the show’s Genie, Jason Philip Solís, Vazquez auditioned for the role and got the part. “Now, I have the chance to not only be Aladdin but to be a Puerto Rican-Columbian Aladdin with no shame at all, just nothing but support from our incredibly diverse cast,” Vazquez says. “It feels like a blessing, honestly, to say the least.”

The Firehouse Theatre production of “Aladdin” isn’t your typical retelling of the Disney classic. It’s the “dual language edition” of the show, which includes both English and Spanish throughout every night of the production. Anglero’ explains that the show is still “very much the ‘Aladdin’ we all know and love,” except the villainous vizier Jafar has already had control of the magic lamp and made a wish to split the land of “bilingual happiness” into the Spanish-speaking royals and the English-speaking citizens.

That means some scenes are entirely in English or Spanish. The show then makes use of bilingual characters like Abu, Rajah and Iago to help translate parts of those scenes for both the characters onstage and the audience. “The cool part about that is that it puts you in the position of either a palace person, common person or one of the bilingual characters that understands both,” Anglero’ says.

Solís’ Genie is also one of the bilingual characters in the show. A mainstay of The Firehouse Theatre stage, Solís’ recalls how Aladdin influenced them growing up. “That was like my favorite Disney movie because I thought Aladdin was Hispanic,” Solís says. “It’s awesome to know that maybe I can be that for somebody else. When they look up to Genie and they see a brown Genie, and they’re like, ‘Oh wow, that’s my character.’”

Solís’ describes their take on the role as having “a little bit of a Latino flair.” “He is very Robin Williams, but he’s sometimes a little smooth like Will Smith,” Solís’ says, explaining that they approach certain lines “like the crazy uncle that is trying to make the kids laugh all the time.”

Both Solís and Vazquez praise the supportive rehearsal environment that Anglero’ created for the production. They frequently look to the director for insights into their performance during rehearsals. “It just makes it so much easier to play around to see what fits, what looks right (and) what sounds right,” Solís says.

Anglero’ pulls from her own Disney experiences to help provide that insight. The director and actor previously worked as costumed characters like Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse during her time working at Disney World and on the Disney Cruise Line prior to moving to DFW. “Disney is just so magical,” Anglero’ says.

She plans to bring some of that Disney magic to the stage by adding in famous characters like the Magic Carpet and experimenting with different special effects for elements like Genie’s reveal and the flying sequences. “We’re very much going off of classic musical theater,” Anglero’ says. “Lots of lighting effects and just making it look as magical and enhanced as we can.”

Her experience and longtime love of Disney often comes through in her stage direction as well. She’ll reference scenes from other Disney movies like “Ratatouille” and “The Lion King” when giving advice to the actors. “(Anglero’) actually told me to watch “A Bug’s Life” for homework one time,” Vazquez recalls, drawing a laugh from the director.

It’s clear that Anglero’, Vazquez and Solís each look to put a part of themselves into the production. In fact, the bilingual basis of the show resonates with each of them personally. “We all have very similar stories,” Anglero’ says regarding their experiences growing up in bilingual households and eventually having to lose part of that side of themselves due to schools or childhood bullying.

Their past experiences make it that much more meaningful to have the opportunity to proudly present the bilingual, diverse production. Solís describes the show as transcending barriers. “It’s really an amazing, probably once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because shows like this don’t happen,” Solís says. Solís explains that they hope the audience takes away that “despite a language barrier or just being different that we’re all able to enjoy and reap the benefits of such a timeless and magical story.”

The Firehouse Theatre production of “Aladdin: Dual Language Edition” runs from June 20-July 7. For more information, including how to purchase tickets, visit


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.