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Saturday, 29 March 2014 16:22

Broadway Review: ALADDIN a Magical Carpet Ride

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James Monroe Iglehart James Monroe Iglehart Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann

The music from the movie musical Aladdin had a tuneful nature and much of the score you hear on stage at the New Amsterdam Theatre in the new musical based on the film will be familiar to you. There are, however, some pleasant surprises. This eye-popping evening of candy-colored costumes and pyrotechnically enhanced effects also restores some of the original Alan Menken and Howard Ashman tunes that were cut from the original movie. Some songs make more of an impression ("Proud of Your Boy") than others ("Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim"). One thing is certain, if you take your children, they will be rapt in this production and you parents will get a chuckle or two yourselves.

The story is pretty much as you remember it. Street urchin, Aladdin (here played by the charming and vocally talented Adam Jacobs) dashes through the town market getting into trouble. Along the way he meets Princess Jasmine (played to princessly perfection by Courtney Reed.) Jasmine must select a suitor who will ultimately take the place of her father, the Sultan (Clifton Davis). She is tired of being cooped up in the palace under lock and key and has no interest in any of the princes who have shown up to woo her. She is a strong, independent woman who tells her father, "you can't just pawn me off on any Tom, Dick or Hasseim that comes along". She longs for excitement and finds it in Aladdin.

Standing in the way of Aladdin and Jasmine's happiness is Jafar, her father's malevolent advisor (played to pure evil perfection by Jonathan Freeman who also voiced the same role in the original film). Jafar seeks to inherit the role of Sultan and no one dare stand in his way. He is aided and abetted by the sniveling, ass-kissing, man-servant, Iago (given a hilariously comical performance by Don Darryl Rivera).

Standing out from the crowd in this bejeweled gem, however, is James Monroe Iglehart as Genie (the role voiced by Robin Williams in the film). Iglehart lives up to the memorable performance of his predecessor giving Genie a hip, urban and wise-cracking edge. He turns Genie into the star of Aladdin.

There are some impressive illusions by Jim Steinmeyer and special effects by Jeremy Chernick. They include quick-change costume changes, disappearing genies and a magical flying carpet.

Costume designer, Gregg Barnes has outdone himself. The costumes are beyond stunning. We will be putting him in the "winning" category come awards time. The scenic design by Bob Crowley compliments Barnes's costumes and Natasha Katz's lighting ties the two together into a festive and colorful look.

Director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw has imbued this show with an amped up energy that serve the production brilliantly. The sense of comedy he brought to bear on The Book of Mormon, The Drowsey Chaperone, Elf and Spamalot are on full display here. "Friend Like Me" was a complete show-stopper.

The reason Aladdin works so well on the stage is that it always seemed destined for it. It felt like an original stage musical from the first time you saw it. I'm happy to report that it makes the transition to stage seamlessly in a lavish and magical production that the whole family will enjoy.

View Complete Production Credits at IBDB.com.

UPDATE 5/31/16 - Alladin is just about to open in London's West End.  Get more info on Alladin tickets in London.

Additional Info

  • Theatre: New Amsterdman Theatre
  • Theatre Address: 214 West 42nd Street New York, NY 10036
  • Show Style: Musical
  • Previews:: February 26, 2014
  • Opening Night: March 20, 2014
  • Closing: Open Ended
Last modified on Tuesday, 31 May 2016 10:37

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