To set the stage, my expectations for this show were high. Aladdin was one of my favorite Disney films growing up, and Robin Williams voiced an iconic character of epic proportions. Despite my excitement, I will admit I was a little worried about whether or not it would translate well to the stage. I should have known better.
A dazzling spectacle
From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle.
-Denver Center for the Performing Arts
The show was dazzling, splashy, and colorful, with original songs by Tony and Academy Award winner Alan Menken, as well as a few new songs (some originally written by Howard Ashman) to round everything out. The costuming, scenic design, makeup and dance choreography were magical, proving that your imagination really is the limit. I only wish as much of that energy had been put into the choreography for the fight scenes, which were a bit lackluster.
I would have absolutely loved a chance behind-the-scenes in the shops to watch them put together all the design elements, especially the magic carpet.
Yes, that magic carpet. The one flying around on stage? Because I need one.
A little old and a little new
The cast was rounded out by Clinton Greenspan as Aladdin, Isabelle McCala as Jasmine, and another fan favorite, Jay Paranada as Iago (“I can’t be creative unless I’m in a safe space!”). But we can’t forget Aladdin’s pals, Babkak (Zach Bencal), Omar (Philippe Arroyo) and Kassim (Jed Feder). As fun as it would have been to see a monkey on stage, they filled the void left by the lack of Abu, adding more depth, humor and some fun new numbers. (Especially the pun-derful Babkak, who manages to tie in food to just about everything… mmm, falafel).
“Friend Like Me” was the highlight, with everything from magic tricks to quick changes for the entire ensemble (ridiculously quick changes) to gymnastics and all the flashy lighting effects one could possibly store up their sleeve. A personal favorite, “A Whole New World” wasn’t as showy a number, but still lovely and nostaglic.
Genie, played by Michael James Scott, is full of sass and soul (undeniably my favorite character of the show). His one-liners, pop culture references and 4th wall breaks were on point and added a layer of mischief for adults as well as kids.
“The show is not a kid’s show, it’s an everybody’s show.”
-Michael James Scott
Although Aladdin closes today, we highly recommend it to everyone on its tour schedule through summer 2019 (that’s a while!). You can click here to see where Aladdin will be flying in next!