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Aladdin Arrives on Broadway

Arabian Nights Number in Aladdin
Arabian Nights Number in Aladdin
Deen Van Meer

There are some outstanding elements of Aladdin, the Disney-fied musical that just opened on Broadway, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw.

Of course, there is the magic carpet ride, that really is magical. (Don't you love theatrical ingenuity?)
Then there is the super talented James Monroe Iglehart who carries the musical as the Genie and pulls off a show-stopper in the number "Friend Like Me." You've got the wonderful Jonathan Freeman who plays the evil Jafar (and who was also the voice in the animated feature.) And then, off-stage in the theatre, there's the downstairs bar and lounge area of the magnificent New Amsterdam Theatre (really look at the design and architecture) where a Bar at Agrabah has been created.

Yes, Adam Jacobs (Aladdin) and Courtney Reed (Jasmine) are adorable and lovely enough (respectively) to handle these parts. Absolutely, the formulaic comic relief by the three distinctive fellas who follow Aladdin around, and Jafar's over the top henchman Iago induce chuckles. Sure, the super spooky voice of the cave is outstanding, and the luxurious colors of the sets and costumes are quite beautiful.

Yet, with all that, and despite the fact that Aladdin is a pleasant enough way to spend a couple of hours in the theatre, something is missing. Maybe it isn't campy enough? Maybe it's too much? Not sure which way to turn, but this Aladdin initiates a smile and a chuckle now and then, as well as a very occasional "awww" when instead, I would really love to say "WOW!"

http://www.aladdinthemusical.com