Thursday night I checked out Disney’s Aladdin at the Detroit Opera House.
I am at that age where I clearly remember when Disney released the cartoon version of Aladdin in 1992. I remember seeing the movie in the theatre with my friends. So, I am sometimes skeptical of movies being turned into Broadway musicals.
I’m not ashamed to say that I sorely misjudged this musical.
It was pretty freaking great. Even my husband who doesn’t think he likes musicals liked it.
The costumes and scenery were bright and colorful. The actors did a great job. It was surprisingly funny with a few pop culture references from other Disney films, West Side Story, and Let’s Make a Deal. There was also an amazing full company tap dancing break ala 42nd Street.
Did I mention that there was a flying carpet? Because there was during “I Can Show You The World.” I’m still trying to figure out how they got it to fly. It was some David Copperfield stuff there.
All of your favorite songs from the original film like “Arabian Nights”, “One Jump Ahead”, “Friend Like Me” and “Prince Ali” are included in the musical. There are some additional songs as well for your listening pleasure. Three of the songs were from the film that were not included in the final version. There are also four new songs that were written by Alan Menken and Chad Beguelin.
One of the things I was curious about the Broadway adaptation was whether or not there would be a monkey. I mean, Aladdin’s best friend in the movie was a monkey named Abu after all. That would not be practical at all.
There is no monkey in the musical, though they do give a nod to him during the song “Prince Ali”. Aladdin has three best friends named Omar, Kassim, and Babkak. The these friends add some fun dialogue and amp up the camp during the songs “High Adventure” and “Somebody’s Got Your Back”.
Michael James Scott as the Genie is phenomenal. He has the charisma to pull off a character like the Genie. He had the entire audience eating out of the palm of his hand.
Clinton Greenspan portrays Aladdin, the thief turned prince. From the audience it seems like he really enjoys playing Aladdin. Not to mention he and Lissa deGuzman, who plays Princess Jasmine have chemistry on stage.
Last but not least let’s talk about villains for a minute. Jonathan Weir does a solid job as Jafar. Jay Paranda as Iago was hilarious. I know I was not supposed to like Iago, but he had some pretty funny lines.
The show will be in Detroit for the next month as part of Broadway in Detroit.
Aladdin is playing at the Detroit Opera House from December 12 through January 13, 2019. There are still plenty of tickets available for purchase for the run of this show.