Confession: When I found out Aladdin was coming to Broadway, I was completely uninterested. With the exception of the ever-brilliant Newsies, Disney on Broadway isn’t really my thing.
Or I guess I should say Disney on Broadway wasn’t really my thing—because I saw Aladdin and I loved it. I’m sure you’ll love it, too, so do me a favor and go get your tickets. In case you’re not convinced, here are five reasons to see the show:
1. The show stays true to story you know and love from the animated movie classic. Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin opens with “Arabian Nights” before taking you down memory lane with “One Jump Ahead,” “Friend Like Me,” “Prince Ali” and “A Whole New World.” Feel free to sing along from your seat. There are some changes, of course—Jasmine’s tiger Rajah is replaced by a group of girlfriends, and Abu (Aladdin’s monkey BFF) is replaced by three real-life friends, Babkak, Omar and Kassim—but all the major players are still there, including Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar, Iago and even the magic carpet.
2. But there are also some new songs and they’re really good (and totally catchy)! My favorites were “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim,” which is a silly boy-bandy number with tons of dancing, and “High Adventure,” which again features Aladdin’s crazy comrades dancing up a storm.
3. The sets and costumes go beyond anything I’ve ever seen. The “Cave of Wonders” is quite literally dripping in gold, from the New Amsterdam Theatre’s ceiling right down to the orchestra pit, and the costumes are gaudy, over the top and downright fabulous. There are about a billion costume changes throughout the show, so keep an eye out for them.
4. The Genie is the best Broadway character on any stage right now. When Robin Williams voiced the original Genie role in the Disney film, he pretty much stole the show—and that’s what happens in the Broadway version, too, but on a way grander scale. The Genie, played by James Monroe Iglehart, is so funny and is such a wild dancer and every word out of his mouth is hysterical. After Genie led the ensemble through a huge, lavish, dance-packed rendition of “Friend Like Me,” the audience at my matinee show leapt to its feet. This was only the second time I’ve witnessed a mid-act standing ovation! Pretty magical, don’t ya think?
5. Aladdin (played by Adam Jacobs) is hot. So are his friends. If nothing else, go for the abs. (OK, OK, they’re all good singers, actors and dancers, too, and they’re really funny. But also, abs.)
Sold? I thought so. (Have the best time!)