The very first movie my mom ever took me to see in theaters as a kid was The Jungle Book, setting the stage for my love of all things Disney and musical. In 1992, the Disney version of Aladdin came to the screen, and my siblings and I must have watched that VHS copy, oh, a proper 1,572 times over the years. No joke.
Flash forward to 2014 when Aladdin comes to the biggest off-screen of NYC, Broadway! My hopes were high, and only to be exceeded by the brilliant directing and choreography (Casey Nicholaw, Tony award winner for directing The Book of Mormon), music (by composer Alan Menken), design of the massive sets, glittery costumes, and other worldly-lighting (Bob Crowley, Gregg Barnes, and Natasha Katz) and the crazy-talented cast (seriously, James Monroe Iglehart who played the Genie just blew the performance out of the park! Wow!!! He also took home the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, just FYI.) A special shout out to the special effect team (led by illusion master Jim Steinmeyer) who was charged with everything from creating magical books to materializing Genies to creating flying carpets (with no strings to be seen anywhere, folks!)
For those of you who perhaps haven’t seen the Disney version (Netflix immediately!), Aladdin tells the story of a young lad in Arabian times, who gets three wishes from a genie trapped in a magic lamp. Throw in a princess who doesn’t want to get married to just any old prince, an evil villain who’s trying to steal the throne, and mix this all together with some truly incredible music and dance numbers, and you have the recipe for a hit. A spot on one at that.
While the musical is certainly kid friendly, it has some great adult humor in there, too. And while, yes, it’s a musical inspired by Disney, it’s important to note that this production is packed with more old-school Broadway pizazz then you’ll find anywhere else on the stage right now. We’re talking high kicking, show stopping, over-the-top-in-all-the-right-ways numbers that will have you singing the likes of “Friend Like Me” and “A Whole New World” for weeks to come! This is one all generations will enjoy so much, you’ll be wishing for your own magic lamp only to request to see it over, and over, and over again.
What’s your favorite Disney musical brought to the stage? Share below!
By: Jessica Tiare Bowen