Hartt's Juwan Crawley Heads To 'Aladdin' As Genie Sub

Juwan Crawley, who graduated from University of Hartford’s Hartt School last year, has just been cast as the understudy for the role of the Genie in Broadway’s “Aladdin.”

Crawley, 22, has had quite a year since. He landed a plum role in the off-Boadway hit, “Spamilton!” -- and was also featured in the cast recording. He was also cast in “Found,” an off-Broadway musical that was re-mounted in Philadelphia with Broadway aspirations.

He was also one of four nominees for the prestigious 2016 Clive Barnes Award given to outstanding young artists in theater and dance.

Crawley’s self-produced CD, “Awakening (Mind),” for which he composed the music and most of the lyrics, was also released last year.

“This past year has been in-sane,” Crawley told me a while back when his inaugural year in New York was just beginning.

But the young performer says he has things in perspective, too. He recalls the day after “Spamilton!” opened, when he woke up in a friend’s apartment where he was staying during the run and found 120 Facebook notifications pointing him to the New York Times review and special praise from theater critic Ben Brantley. “I was crying — Can you tell I’m a very emotional person? — because I’m on the cover on the New York Times arts section. I’m crying because Ben Brantley knows who I am. And I’m crying because I’m on a twin mattress on the floor.”

The genie is one of Crawley’s dream jobs. Others? He sees himself as “a different kind of Lola” in “Kinky Boots” and then as the first male Rafiki in “The Lion King.”“Maybe even in ‘Hamilton!’, too,” he says.