Adventure, comedy, and romance…it’s all part of a certain diamond in the rough’s journey to win the girl of his dreams in Disney’s ALADDIN. The 1992 film is so beloved that, when I heard it was opening on Broadway in 2014, I wondered how it would be received. Well, it was an instant, bona fide, certified smash, and four years later the Hollywood Pantages Theatre has been transformed into the fabled, fictional city of Agrabah until March 31st.
This post is sponsored. We were given tickets to attend the show.
My kids and I have been listening to the soundtrack for a year, so we were thrilled to find out that Adam Jacobs, who originated the role of Aladdin on Broadway, would be reprising his role on the tour. And we weren’t the only ones who were excited to see him; on opening night, his appearance was met with enthusiastic applause. And it is very cool that SoCal audiences are getting a taste of the NYC show because Adam has reunited with original Broadway cast members Courtney Reed (Jasmine) and Michael James Scott (Genie) for five weeks of the LA run. (Quick note: Isabelle McCalla played Jasmine on opening night, and she will be back in the role on Tuesday, February 20th. Courtney is playing the princess through Sunday, February 18th.)
ALADDIN features music by Tony and Oscar winner Alan Menken, and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin (Chad also wrote the book). There are five songs from the film and and more written especially for the show! I love “These Palace Walls,” which adds surprising depth to Jasmine as she sings about feeling trapped in the palace and wanting to find someone who loves her for who she is, not just her treasure. Since the show is longer than the film (about 2.5 hours, with a short intermission), we get to go deeper with all of the characters and Aladdin gets three friends: Babkak, Omar, and Kassim. The guys have so many funny lines, and the show itself is really hilarious, even before Genie shows up! And speaking of a certain blue dude…Michael James Scott is AMAZING. He has so much energy and exudes so much charisma that after the showstopping “Friend Like Me” there was about a two-minute standing ovation right in the middle of the show!
And the whole cast is terrific; everyone sings and dances and there are lots of gorgeous gals and (bare-chested) guys whirling about the stage in colorful costumes. The set for the Cave of Wonders is unbelievable (I heard that set alone costs $1 million), and the way the “A Whole New World” magic carpet ride scene is done is breathtaking and beautiful. Plus, this is all taking place inside one of the most glamorous and historic theaters in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Pantages, which has been dazzling patrons since 1930.
The Bottom Line: Disney’s ALADDIN is a wonder that will leave kids and adults alike totally entranced and wishing for more.
(Above photos courtesy of Hollywood Pantages)