Words From the Wings: Zach Bencal of ALADDIN Talks Pre-Show Rituals, Backstage Must-Haves, and More!

Words From the Wings brings fans behind the scenes of some of their favorite Broadway stars' backstage routines!

By: Apr. 10, 2023

BroadwayWorld is bringing you Words From the Wings, a new series of interviews that take fans behind the scenes of some of their favorite Broadway stars' backstage routines!

Today we're chatting with Zach Bencal, who is currently making his Broadway debut as Babkak in Aladdin! Zach told us all about his pre-show rituals, favorite backstage moments, and more!

Check out his answers, along with photos taken by BroadwayWorld's Jennifer Broski, below!


What's the first thing you do when you arrive to the theatre?

Sign in, grab a sweet treat by the call board (my coworkers love making irresistible baked goods and I have 0 self control), and when I get to my dressing room I always make a cup of tea.

What's the last thing you do before you go on stage?

I brush my teeth, put on chapstick, do a makeup check, spritz some hairspray, do some vocal sirens, and then take the elevator down to the deck. I say hi to my other cast and crew members backstage. We typically go down the line and give each other a fist bump. I think it's a nice way to remember we are part of a team and on this journey together.

What's your must-have backstage snack?

Oh easy, Virginia Peanuts, a Celsius, and a Ricola. Breakfast of champions.

Pre-show ritual that others may think is weird?

I have many weird pre-show rituals to be honest. It just depends on the day. I have all kinds of unique vocal warmups I do that help me get ready to sing the show. I can usually be found walking around with a straw or a kazoo in my mouth. I use a vocal nebulizer to steam before the show.


What are five must-haves in your dressing room?

My steamer, hairspray, mints, Milo Alosi, Brad Weinstock

What's your favorite moment from the show to watch from the wings?

My favorite moment is definitely during "One Jump." We are a part of the number but the majority of the song is spent offstage. I love the energy of the song. You really feel the chaos of the marketplace. There is just as much business happening onstage as there is happening offstage. There are a lot of funny interactions to witness everywhere. It's just a light joyful moment where everyone is busy doing their thing. It's awesome to be a part of.

What has been your favorite backstage moment in your time with this show so far?

It's hard to pick just one moment. I can honestly say I have fun every single day. The New Amsterdam has a reputation for being the happiest building on Broadway, and I can attest to that. Everyone from the wardrobe team, props, hair/makeup, the orchestra, sound etc is just so awesome. The entire company is filled with joy and it's palpable. I spend 99% of my time at work with Milo Alosi (Kassim) and Brad Weinstock (Omar) and we are truly friends on and offstage. Every day is a "high adventure" (see what I did there?) We laugh all day, every day. I feel so lucky I get to work with two of my best friends who are honestly more like brothers at this point. It's truly a joy to come to work.


About Zach Bencal

Broadway debut! 1st Nat'l tour original cast: Aladdin (Babkak), Off-Broadway: The Anthem, The Civil War. Goodspeed, Forestburgh Playhouse, Monomoy Theatre, NCL, TheatreworksUSA and various NYC theatre. BMI, aspiring composer. BFA MT '13, The Hartt School.

About Aladdin

You won't need a magic lamp to experience this crown-pleasing musical. Disney's beloved story about the Diamond in the Rough is brought to thrilling theatrical life in this exciting new Broadway musical. Just as it has on screen for decades, Aladdin's journey sweeps you into an exciting world full of daring adventure, classic comedy and timeless romance. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw, this stage adaptation of the beloved animated classic features the iconic film score by the legendary team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, with new lyrics by Sir Tim Rice, along with book and additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin.


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