Pros: Music, laughs, fun
Cons: A little over acting, mainly from Genie and Jafar
The Bottom Line:
Aladdin on stage
Show stopping numbers and laughs
Make fun evening
Your Wish for a Magical Stage Play Has Been Granted
I was in high school and college during the second golden age of Disney animation (the era ushered in by The Little Mermaid), so I have a special place in my heart for all of those movies. Then, I spent years enjoying the stage version of Aladdin they put on at the Hyperion Theater in California Adventure. So, when Aladdin finally hit Broadway, I started watching for the tour to hit Los Angeles. My only question was when I was going. I was able to go and enjoy this last Saturday.
The story sticks close to the animated movie. We quickly meet Aladdin, a poor “street rat” who is a diamond in the rough; Jasmin, the princess who wants to marry for love; and Jafar, the magician who wants to take over the kingdom. Throw in a Genie who grants wishes, and you’ve got a magical story.
And if you are familiar with the animated movie, you have the basis of the stage musical. Yes, they do make a few changes to it, like getting rid of the animals. It doesn’t surprise me that they got rid of Abu and Raj, but I was a bit surprised that they didn’t use a puppet for Iago. Yes, Iago is still around, he’s just a human this time.
But since Aladdin and Jasmin need sidekicks, they get them in human form – three each in fact. Aladdin’s friends even get a couple of fun songs and a bit of a sub-plot of their own.
And yes, all the songs you already know and love are included here. Both of the Genie’s songs (“Friend Like Me” and “Prince Ali”) are the show stoppers you’d expect and tons of fun. Of the new songs, the one I enjoyed the most was “High Adventure” because of the humor in it. The others certainly have the potential to grow on me, and I’m planning to get the soundtrack very soon.
As much as I enjoyed it, I did find some of the acting over the stop, even for a stage play. The worst offenders were Genie and Jafar. And yes, I’m saying that even with Robin Williams having played the role in the animated film.
Overall, it was a fun night in the theater. If Aladdin is coming to a city near you, I definitely recommend you check it out.