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  • [Question] Actors using scooters?

    Just out of curiosity, has anyone else noticed that in the Aladdin show there is a woman using one of those motorized scouters? Anyone know what the story is behind this, I was assuming some lawsuit or something. Seems a bit strange and kind of completely altered the scene when everyone is supposed to be acting like they are in an Arabian market place hundreds of years ago when all of a sudden someone zooms across the stage in a motorized wheelchair... Are the ADA lawsuits such a problem in California that this kind of stuff happens on a regular basis?

  • #2
    Re: Actors using scooters?

    Originally posted by Thomas998 View Post
    Just out of curiosity, has anyone else noticed that in the Aladdin show there is a woman using one of those motorized scouters? Anyone know what the story is behind this, I was assuming some lawsuit or something.
    The story? It's an actor that requires a wheelchair/ECV

    Before assuming this was forced upon Disney - consider Disney is a company that embraces inclusion and likely cast the actor on their own will.

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    • #3
      Re: Actors using scooters?

      Originally posted by flynnibus View Post
      The story? It's an actor that requires a wheelchair/ECV

      Before assuming this was forced upon Disney - consider Disney is a company that embraces inclusion and likely cast the actor on their own will.

      And you missed the point of my question... Yes it is an actor in a wheelchair, but if taken to an extreme how believable would it be to have Peter Pan played by an actor that was in a wheelchair? How about a Belle dancing with the Beast that didn't dance but rather moved around on a motorized wheelchair? Sorry, but the point of a show is to transport the viewer to another place... that can hardly be accomplished if the place is before the advent of electricity and you have an actor zipping around on a battery powered wheelchair.... or maybe you don't care that Disney casts people to play characters based on them looking like the character they are supposed to be...Would you be equally thrilled if Tiana was played by a blond haired blue eyed Scandinavian?

      I have no problem with a company making accommodations for disabilities of workers... but it simply makes no sense to make this type of an accommodation for an actor.

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      • #4
        Re: Actors using scooters?

        It is all based on talent. I heard that she's an amazing singer.
        I Get In. I Get Out. I Never Get Noticed!
        - From "Prep And Landing"

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        • #5
          Re: Actors using scooters?

          And an amazing actress too.

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          • #6
            Re: Actors using scooters?

            I love sitting in the front rows when she's in the show. Have you heard that girl? She can SANG! She's got some powerhouse vocals and you can really feel her energy from around the theater. She gives me chills! I think it's really admirable that Disney switched some stuff around so she could be apart of the show. They definitely didn't turn down talent in this case! And most of the time, I kind of forget she's in a wheelchair. She makes you focus on her when she's on that stage, not her way of mobility.

            Brava Disney!

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            • #7
              Re: Actors using scooters?

              Originally posted by Thomas998 View Post
              And you missed the point of my question... Yes it is an actor in a wheelchair, but if taken to an extreme how believable would it be to have Peter Pan played by an actor that was in a wheelchair? How about a Belle dancing with the Beast that didn't dance but rather moved around on a motorized wheelchair? Sorry, but the point of a show is to transport the viewer to another place... that can hardly be accomplished if the place is before the advent of electricity and you have an actor zipping around on a battery powered wheelchair....
              I understand your point, but I have to disagree. The lady in the wheelchair isn't playing Peter Pan, Belle or as in this case Jasmine, she is playing a background fill character that for the most part people will hardly remember. There is no specific face for the background characters so Disney isn't casting them as characters they don't look like. As for the transporting to another time and place, I don't believe they had spot lights and wireless microphones back in those days either.

              I would actually say I commend Disney for this casting decision, especially if the decision was based on her singing talent. Aladdin is a "musical" production so having a good voice trumps the wheelchair in my opinion. And for the record, yes I have seen her and it didn't change my perception of the show one way or the other.
              Stalking is when two people go for a long romantic walk together but only one of them knows about it.

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              • #8
                Re: Actors using scooters?

                I think it's wonderful that they are able to include a talented singer like that. It's about willing suspension of disbelief...people in real Arabian marketplaces don't generally burst into song, encounter blue Genies, et al either. Why would this be any different than any of those other examples? If it's critical for a character to be a certain ethnic background/age/etc. it's one thing. If not, in a marketplace where you WOULD find a lot of diverse people, why not? It would be a shame if a talented singer were knocked out of contention because she can't walk.

                And who knows how many kids in that audience that have some sort of disability or illness, whether it's cancer, asthma, being in a wheelchair, etc. will look at that wonderful actress and be inspired.

                To the OP: would you be more comfortable with it if the actress had a "historically accurate" wheelchair?
                Merida looks like this. Not a Barbie doll!

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                • #9
                  Re: Actors using scooters?

                  Originally posted by DLandFansAZ View Post
                  I understand your point, but I have to disagree. The lady in the wheelchair isn't playing Peter Pan, Belle or as in this case Jasmine, she is playing a background fill character that for the most part people will hardly remember. There is no specific face for the background characters so Disney isn't casting them as characters they don't look like. As for the transporting to another time and place, I don't believe they had spot lights and wireless microphones back in those days either.

                  I would actually say I commend Disney for this casting decision, especially if the decision was based on her singing talent. Aladdin is a "musical" production so having a good voice trumps the wheelchair in my opinion. And for the record, yes I have seen her and it didn't change my perception of the show one way or the other.
                  Took words out of my mouth....

                  I have seen that wheelchair performer since the first show I saw back in February 2005. Is it the same girl? Good for her! I always loved hearing her sing when I got close enough to the stage.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Actors using scooters?

                    I have only seen one, so I would have to say that it is the same actress.

                    I hadn't seen her this year so I was wondering if she was still working.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Actors using scooters?

                      If you went to see particular stage production on Broadway or the like (such as Phantom of the Opera or Wicked), than someone that does not fit how a particular character should be, could be distracting.

                      We saw her with our last visit a couple of weeks ago, so she is still active with them. My husband and I have never found her distracting. Frankly, I think it is great to see Disney being open to hire actors of all types for this musical. Considering their aversions to many types of employees in the past who didn't "fit" their image, I think it is good to see!
                      :thumbup:
                      “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.”

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                      • #12
                        Re: Actors using scooters?

                        It has absolutely nothing to do with ADA laws in California or anywhere else and everything to do with the fact that she is an amazingly talented actress and singer hired for a role by Disney who just happens to use a wheelchair/scooter to do her part in the play. You seem to be insinuating that the only reason Disney hired her was to fill some quota of handicapped cast members because they were forced into it. Nothing could be further from the truth.




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                        all you need to know about the mommy stick is.. out of all the bad things that could happen to you... it's right between wetting yourself and death.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Actors using scooters?

                          Originally posted by Thomas998 View Post
                          And you missed the point of my question...
                          Oh I knew where you were coming from.. I just wasn't going to go into that gutter. Disney has opt'd to hire the actress regardless of her physical constraints.

                          Disney, and society, in the spirit of inclusion, has evolved to turn a blind eye to variations in race, gender, and here, handicaps, to focus on the strengths of the individuals rather than exclude them based on extremes.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Actors using scooters?

                            Her name is Jennifer Kumiyama. She's been with the show a long time. You can read about her in an OC Register article.

                            DCA's version of Aladdin is definitely is a light take on the movie. Early in the show Aladdin makes a wire assisted jump. They have a scene with an Eiffel tower prop which ain't exactly period appropriate. And Genie references current affairs in his jokes. So a chick in a wheelchair fits in just fine in my opinion.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Actors using scooters?

                              I haven't read any of the other posts, but if you'd notice, she's the AWESOME soprano singing all those high notes. Her voice got her the job and luckily, Disney doesn't discriminate.

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