Disney has captivated the hearts of thousands once again. This time, bringing the classic story of “Aladdin” to life onstage at New Amsterdam Theater in New York City. This phenomenal play, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, and adapted by the writer Chad Beguelin, has been a major hit since its release in Seattle in 2011.
For approximately two hours and thirty minutes, the audience feels as if they have been transported to a totally different place where spices, exquisite costumes made of exotic silk and “Arabian nights” are the daily rule.
The story follows the tale of how a poor commoner, known to be a “thief,” discovers a genie in a lamp and uses his three wishes to conquer princess Jasmine’s love and to thwart the evil Jafar.
“Aladdin” features all the songs from the 1992 film with new material written specially for Broadway by Alan Menken. The whole play itself has a greater emphasis on comedy than most of Disney’s other stage musicals and the audience’s eyes wide open by showing lots of rhythm, colors and magic tricks.
“The best play I’ve been to,” freshman Kiara Montavon said.
It is divided into two acts. The first act opens in the middle-eastern city of Agrabah. Aladdin (Adam Jacobs) decides to prove he is much more than a “worthless street rat.” Meanwhile, in the palace, Princess Jasmine (Courtney Reed) gets mad at her father, The Sultan for demanding her to choose a noble prince to marry without considering if she loves him or not. Also, the Sultan’s Grand Vizier, Jafar, appears to reveal his wishes of usurping the throne himself. Aladdin bumps into Jasmine, while entertaining an audience with his friends and afterwards, Aladdin gets to meet the Genie (James Monroe Iglehart) who proves his powers with an impressive musical number (“Friend Like Me”) followed by a tap finale featuring blinding gold costumes.
After a short intermission, the curtain is drawn back to the outskirts of Agrabah and instantly, the audience forgets they are really in New York City.
The second act begins with the arrival of “Prince Ali of Ababwa,” who expresses his desire to marry Jasmine to the Sultan. Ali courts Jasmine with a ride on his magic carpet, which appears to float softly around the stage and gives an incredible impression of reality, while the audience clearly looks astonished by it.
In their return, Jasmine reveals she recognizes Ali to be Aladdin in disguise and tells him that she loves him as who he truly is. Lastly, Aladdin uses his wish to set the Genie free, which in all moments, portrays himself to be the most modern character in the play, as he did when he shouted: “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!” when leaving the cave of wonders.
During the final scene, the Sultan states that the princess may marry whomever she pleases. The curtain is closed and the audience gives a standing ovation.
“I loved the special effects, the magic carpet, the stars and the lights,” freshman Jaena Sigue said.
After an imaginary trip to the Middle East, the audience was able to reminisce about their childhood with this lovely, amazing and well-structured Broadway play.