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Up-close with the tech behind Disney's 'Aladdin' musical (pictures)

CNET goes backstage (and under it) at "Aladdin" to look at the technology that makes the show such a spectacle.

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sallyneiman.jpg

Sally Neiman

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Aladdin Broadway tech
1 of 30 Sarah Tew/CNET

Technology on Broadway: Aladdin

Disney's "Aladdin" opened in New York on March 2014.

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Built in 1903, the New Amsterdam Theater is one of the oldest theaters in New York.

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The New Amsterdam Theater sits at least 1,700 people.

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The show's scenery, sound, lights, video and pyrotechnics are all controlled separately.

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CNET takes a backstage look at Disney's "Aladdin."

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Deck automation technician Steve Stackle, operates the show from a room below the stage.

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The set can change in seconds thanks to scenery that moves on and off stage.

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Stackle listens for cues from the stage manager before moving the pieces of scenery to a certain position.

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To operate the show, the automation technician uses a small console with a green button that starts the scenery moving.

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At times there can be several pieces moving from the air, on stage, and even beneath the stage.

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Production stage manager Jimmie Lee Smith manages the cast, the crew and the orchestra with the help of four assistants.

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Cast members dance around the elevators while they are open.

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The quick lifts are used twice during the show.

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These lifts are used to push some of the cast members up on stage at a rate of 12 feet per second.

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CNET Producer Sally Neiman got to ride one of the quick lifts.

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The stage manager gives the automation technician the cue for the lifts to go.

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All the props are stored behind the stage.

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Space is limited, so some scenery is stored on large motors hanging above the stage.

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Below the stage are two high-speed elevators and hydraulic elevators that lift heavy pieces of scenery.

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Sound designer Ken Travis was in charge of designing all the audio coming out of the show.

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Some cast members wear a tracker in their microphone belts.

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The radars are constantly searching for a signal from the trackers.

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The sound of Aladdin was created with one goal in mind: to deliver a big theatrical and cinematic experience.

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Engineers divide the stage into 14 zones.

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There are seven radars across the auditorium.

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There are a total of 200 speakers in the house.

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A crew of 60 is required to ensure the show runs smoothly every night.

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Six prop-man and six carpenters make sure all props and scenary are always in place.

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During the number "Prince Ali" there are 70 quick changes.

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All costumes are stored in the bunker, a room underneath the stage.

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