Reviewed by Kevin Pollack
For every Disney fan, there’s an expectation of how a Disney movie can be transitioned to the stage as a full blown musical. Aladdin is one of the Disney classics that everyone remembers. Just like Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, Mary Poppins, and The Lion King, Aladdin is a spectacle to see on stage. Although there are some character differences from the film, this show is definitely one to see!
With this being the first national tour, there is a lot to bring on the road including the incredible costumes, sets, pyrotechnics and amazing special effects. Technically, it’s a lot. But what a dazzler it is.
Reprising his Broadway role as the street rat Aladdin is Adam Jacobs, a perfect fit to this role. You can tell he has fun with the role; especially with the Genie, played by the incredibly funny and talented Anthony Murphy. Murphy’s “Friend Like Me” number is one to see. It is truly the highlight of the whole show. As a matter of fact, the number is so big, a friend who works at the Cadillac Palace told me that the number used so much electricity the power went out during one of the shows! One of the other musical highlights is the Aladdin/Princess Jasmine duet “A Whole New World.” One of the cool special effects is that there is actually a flying carpet. I couldn’t even figure out how they flew it around the stage with no wires or anything!
Other notable performances include Chicago-based actor Jonathan Weir as Jafar, Reggie de Leon as Iago (in human form), Isabelle McCalla as Princess Jasmine and JC Montgomery as the Sultan. Instead of the monkey Abu as Aladdin’s sidekick, he’s given 3 friends, Omar (Philippe Arroyo), Kassim (Mike Longo) and Babkak (Zach Bencal). I have to say these 3 guys work so well together and their musical numbers shine as some of the best moments in the show.
Throughout the show, you will recognize a lot of your favorite Alan Menken songs from the film, but you will also hear some new songs with lyrics by Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin. Beguelin also wrote the great script for the show.
Overall, If you’re looking for a fun night out with either your spouse, your family or your kids, Aladdin is truly a delight to see and hear and you will walk out of the theatre humming all the songs you know and love.
At the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL, call 800-775-2000, www.broadwayinchicago.com, tickets $44 – $153, running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes with intermission, through September 10, 2017.