Aladdin / our review
Shining SHIMMERING splendid
Aug 15th, 2018
Shining, Shimmering, Splendid
Fun Fact: Jim Steinmeyer, also known as the "celebrated invisible man" for his Theatrical Illusion Design is the mastermind behind the flying carpet. It flies! It really really flies!
Target Audience: Disney has the ability to win everyone over! All you need to decide - are you taking the kids, the girls, or your partner?
Best Bit: Telly Leung (Aladdin) and Arielle Jacobs (Jasmine) singing "A Whole New World" on the truly magical magic carpet!
Morning After Effect: It's completely understandable why people would opt for a Disney hit on Broadway! You really can't go wrong.
As I approached the New Amsterdam Theatre, a dream was coming true - to see Aladdin on Broadway! I had wished I would see this with my big sister as it is one of our favorite Disney stories, but alas she is now a grown up and recent mom to my second adorable nephew! I walked in feeling sad that she was not there but the excitement kicked in when I realized I was surrounded by kids freaking out with joy (as were the adults).
I coined a new phrase in the middle of this show, a light bulb moment if you will, as I witnessed a plethora of lavish costumes and impressive sets brought to life by a giant cast of 39. This is the Disney Dollar! I wondered how other shows could ever compete with this spectacle? Disney is a big part of our lives and we reminisce over the fairytales that raised us and tucked us into bed at night, planting little seeds of hopes and dreams that someday we too would be swept away, that the bad guy would get caught, and that we would ultimately live happily ever after. We know the music, love the characters, and when the opportunity presents itself to see them live in action, we go! These magical stories have travelled the globe shedding light through books, merchandise, movies and more recently, the stage. Disney has truly shown us a whole new world - shining, shimmering, splendid!
This must put huge pressure on the company to meet audience expectations as it recreates the enchanted world of Agrabah. Luckily for Disney, incredibly talented designers Bob Crowley (Scenic Design) and Gregg Barnes (Costume Design) go above and beyond in bringing this vibrant, colorful, textured town to life - allowing each character to truly shine in their unique costumes.
Native New Yorker Telly Leung (Aladdin) is no stranger to Broadway and made his first appearance 15 years ago. The Big Apple has surely taught him a thing or two about doing what it takes to get what you want, characteristics he can share with Aladdin! He brings a playfulness and vulnerability to the role which is very sweet. Major Attaway (Genie) is making his Broadway debut, and what a role to do so! His energy consumes the room and he captures the audience's attention as he spirals up and down from the stage, resembling his passageway to the genie lamp. Attaway is mischievous, sassy, and a big ball of love! He is perfect for this role and while he is energetic and flamboyant, he too exudes a vulnerability that melts your heart. His rendition of "Friend Like Me" was superb! Leung and Attaway make a fine pair - as do their evil counterparts Jonathan Freeman (Jafar) and the hysterical Brian Gonzales (Babkak).
While the Genie may only grant three wishes, I'm a big believer that wishes never run out, ever - so as I left the theatre and got my picture with the Genie's lamp, I gave it a little rub and made a wish that I would someday come back to see this production with my sister and my nephews! It brings tears to my eyes knowing how special it is that we can keep these stories alive and pass them onto the next generation, and assure them that someday the bad guy will get caught, and that we can live happily now, and ever after.
View our show pages for more information about Aladdin, New Amsterdam Theater.