South African actor and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre alum Pierre Marais has been cast in the national tour of the hit Disney Broadway musical Aladdin. Marais is the understudy for the titular role, the loveable street rat that first hit the screens in the House of Mouse’s 1992 animated classic.
The Cape Town-born actor graduated from NYFA’s Two-Year Musical Theatre Conservatory in 2012, and has been working steadily in theatre ever since. He has starred in Rock of Ages, directed by Tony nominee Kristin Hanggi, as well as West Side Story and Saturday Night Fever in Connecticut. Critics also praised his 2018 performance in the national tour of A Chorus Line, saying “Pierre Marais plays Paul with a bittersweet wistfulness; his acting commands one of the most powerful scenes in a show famous for its music and dance.”
Marais credits his parents, both trapeze artists who met in the circus, with instilling him with a love of performing. “They were both huge inspirations for me growing up,” he said in an interview with HuffPost. “I spent a lot of time watching them train and training beside them. Learning trampoline, sword fighting, tumbling and how to hit the same mark every time were all reasons why I was able to start with stunts at a young age.”
He began doing stunt work at age 16 with Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House, and racked up a number of film credits in South Africa like The Wake of Death 2 alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme and The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior. Yet despite his success, he knew that if he wanted to have a long-term career, he needed to come to America. “I knew that to sustain that kind of career, I would eventually have to move to the USA, where there is just simply more work.”
He credits his time at NYFA with helping him meet the right people to succeed in New York’s vibrant theatre world, saying “This honestly came as a result of living and studying in New York City….Most of the connections I made at college were in the theatre world.”
The New York Film Academy congratulates Pierre Marais on his continued success and looks forward to seeing his future roles!