Stacey Addo | Arts and Entertainment Editor
The beloved Disney classic movie Aladdin was released in 1992. The movie follows Aladdin, who finds a magic lamp with a genie. As he and the genie become friends, he tries to impress Princess Jasmine while needing to stop Jafar from overthrowing the kingdom. The movie is filled with catchy music, including the iconic song “A Whole New World”, extravagance, adventure, and a little romance.
The stage adaption of Aladdin came to Broadway in 2014 in the New Amsterdam Theatre. The show was nominated for five Tony Awards and won one for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical by James Monroe Iglehart. These nominations are well deserved!
One thing that I love about the original Aladdin movie is how magical it feels and they were able to capture that feeling on stage. The set and costume designs were beautiful! The stage had trap doors that allowed props and actors to come up through the floor. When it came to the most iconic scene in the movie, “A Whole New World,” they were successfully able to capture the same magic that so many of us felt as kids. They were able to recreate the magic carpet ride in a way that didn’t take away from the magic. I couldn’t see the motors, strings, or any of the tech that made the magic carpet fly.
The costumes in the show were beautiful. On their website, they mention their use of Swarovski crystals and even that they’ve used 8,644 crystals in a single costume. You could tell! Even while sitting in the back of the theater, I could see the costumes glittering under the lights. Every costume was beautiful and kept the same feelings of extravagance from the movie.
In the main cast, Aladdin was played by Michael Maliakel, The Genie was played by Michael James Scott, Jasmine was played by Sonya Balsara, and Jafar was played by Dennis Stone. All of the actors were great but Scott stood out as the Genie. The original role is best known to be played by Robin Williams, but the changes made in the stage adaption make the role of Genie interactive with the audience allowing Scott to bring so much charm and humor to the role in a way that feels especially distinct to the original movie or the Will Smith rendition of the character.
Some major differences to the Broadway play are the removal of Abu and the magic carpet as characters and Iago as a character interacting a lot more with Jafar with more humanistic qualities. As mentioned earlier, the magic carpet is present, it however doesn’t follow Aladdin around like a character in the original movie it is simply just a magical carpet. Abu and the carpet are instead replaced with Omar, Babkak, and Kassim who serve as Aladdin’s friends. The changes were unexpected but it doesn’t necessarily take away from the show if you’re open to them.
Overall, I would recommend seeing the production if you’re in New York. It’s perfect for the entire family, entertaining, and was beautiful to watch!