I recently saw Aladdin, the Broadway musical, at the Kennedy Center. I had very high expectations for the show after watching the live-action remake of the original Disney movie. I really enjoyed the movie and had to stop myself from comparing it to the show because of the many differences between the stage and film productions.
Toward the beginning of the show, I was worried that it would not live up to my expectations. The opening number, “Arabian Nights,” did not quite blow me away as I thought it would. The genie did, however, have many comical moments that made the number a lot better.
As the show progressed, it became obvious that the genie, played by Major Attaway, was the star of the show. He had great stage presence and knew how to connect well with the audience. This was most evident during the most amazing part of the show, “Friend Like Me.” Just one song showcased all the best parts of the production: costumes, scenery, choreography, and of course, music. The song continues for almost eight minutes and contains references to other Disney musicals like The Little Mermaid. The song was fun-filled and I did not want it to end.
For those familiar with the Disney movie, Aladdin has a furry sidekick, a monkey named Abu. The show did not feature Abu, but it added the new characters of Babkak, Omar, and Kassim, Aladdin’s three best friends. These four actors had amazing chemistry with each other. Songs like “High Adventure” featuring these four lovable characters were second-best only to “Friend Like Me.” These three characters where a great addition to the original story line and made it a better stage production.
Overall, Aladdin the musical met my high expectations due to a few shining characters and musical moments. The ensemble really tied the show together and brought to life the fictional city of Agrabah. This classic story was adapted perfectly for the stage featuring iconic songs like “Whole New World.”