When it comes to Disney and/or Broadway shows, I always have incredibly high expectations for what they’ll deliver. While Disney is always less likely to let me down, I’ve been to some Broadway shows that just don’t reach the potential I believe they could or should. When I got my tickets for Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway, I had mixed feelings about what I should expect. Aladdin had never been one of my favorite Disney flicks, and although most reviews claimed it to be “Genie-us!” (USA Today), “Jaw-dropping and Delightful!” (New York Magazine), and “Fabulous! Extravagant!” (The New York Times), I was still uneasy. I read one review that absolutely hated it for it’s changes from the original animated movie, but I will gladly let you know this bitter reviewer was just looking for something wrong with this Broadway adaptation of the Disney masterpiece.
The fabulous and hilarious Genie opens the show with the fantastic song and dance “Arabian Nights” that includes the entire cast. I must say, the show was off to a great start! Next, you’re introduced to the perfectly casted Adam Jacobs as Aladdin in his number, “One Jump Ahead.” I cannot even try to express the effect of Jacobs’s mere presence in this production. He perfectly captures Aladdin’s boyish charm and makes you fall in love with the character all over again. And the next song, “Proud of Your Boy,” a beautiful and uplifting ballad that was cut from the original Aladdin film, makes you adore the character even more (seriously though, I’ve been singing that song for weeks)! In the next scene, the gorgeous Courtney Reed brings Jasmine to life singing “These Palace Walls” about how she wishes to run away. She is accompanied by three girlfriends, rather than her pet tiger, Rajah, as a more realistic adaptation of the Disney movie. Likewise, Aladdin has three friends, Babkak, Kassim, and Omar, replacing his monkey, Abu, from the original movie. They are introduced in a song, “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim,” before Aladdin and Jasmine meet in the marketplace. You know what happens next, Jasmine falls for Aladdin but believes he is dead after he is captured by guards yada, yada, yada. Now you really get to meet the devilish Jafar and the hilarious Iago (he had me laughing so hard)! They sing an evil tune, “Diamond in the Rough,” and convince Aladdin to enter the Cave of Wonders to fetch the magic lamp. And wow, the set for the Cave of Wonders was so incredible. The golden cave was so extravagant, it’s no wonder Aladdin was tempted to take the other riches. The whole stage seemed to shake as Aladdin trapped himself in the golden cave, and suddenly it’s time for the intermission.
This show is already so incredible, and we haven’t even met the Genie yet! James Monroe Iglehart steals the show when he suddenly appears and performs “Friend Like Me.” He is currently the best character on Broadway, and I cannot emphasize enough how insanely magnificent this number was! This performance would make even the oldest audience member believe in magic and wish they had a friend like Genie! And let’s not forget to mention all the nostalgic feels Iglehart brings with his mid-performance Disney medley. Yes, that’s right, he just starts singing tunes from Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, and more! This drove all the Disney fanatics (like myself) crazy! This number was so big, there was only one way to end it: fireworks! Praise for James Monroe Iglehart roared through the theater as he received a standing ovation, and if you can’t take too much talent in one night, leave now, because Iglehart has much more where that came from.
This show was put together so well, I cant stand it! The cast, the music, the dances, and the comedy, it was just all so magnificent! The end of this production, while generally sticking to Disney’s original storyline, has a few new parts, like the hilarious song sung by Aladdin’s buddies called “High Adventure,” a slightly changed ending, and a live flying magic carpet ride. Seriously, when are they going to spill the beans on the carpet?! It was flying!! I came out of the New Amsterdam Theater having more appreciation and love for the street rat’s story than I ever had during my childhood. I want to see Aladdin again and again, and if you are a Disney fan or just like Broadway shows, you need to see Aladdin, too.
Let me know what you thought of this article or your opinions on Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway.