The songs, acting, costumes and sets are anything but ordinary in Aladdin The Musical. The Diva and I attended the second evening show and it was all we talked about on the ride home and how grateful we were to have been able to attend. The Autism Diva was given tickets to Aladdin The Musical for purpose of this review. No other compensation has been received.
A Little About Aladdin The Musical
First off let me start with a little about the story and history of Aladdin The Musical. The 1992 animated classic as with many films had many scenes and songs cut from the final film. In fact, there were 11 songs for the film but only 5 made the final cut. When the draft for the stage version was put together, lyricist Chad Beguelin and composer Alan Menken knew they had to include the deleted songs. The goal was to keep all the stuff everyone loved from the movie with a few fresh spins.
So die-hard animated fans, like my DIVA, are sure to love this musical-comedy. You will enjoy seeing all 5 original songs, the main charters you know and love all mixed with some fresh ideas from a first-class creative team and unparalleled stagecraft only Disney can provide.
Even if you are not a theatre buff with knowledge of quick changes and details of costumes, you will notice it in this production! From DIVA’s own theatre days we came to appreciate the quick change of the dancers but in Aladdin, there are 52 of them that take place in less than 30 seconds! I still can’t figure out how they do it. There are 337 costumes in the show and each one is filled with amazing detail from the trim of the garments to glittery rhinestones. Everyone literally shines on stage. Princess Jasmine’s wedding gown is said to weigh 12lbs because of the crystal beading.
And we need to talk about the Cave of Wonders/Friend Like Me scene. WOW! This is all you heard for the rest of the night. I have never seen a stage set like this. It was just amazing! And then the costumes were just on a whole new level. Just one of the male’s gold costumes is said to have 8,644 rhinestones each. Each-not cast total! And believe me, it is a visual feast for the eyes. I had told a friend that if you saw just this scene alone, you get your money’s worth.
Let’s start with the role of Genie. Let’s face it, the late Robin Williams left some very large shoes to fill when it comes to this role. And while no one can ever replace him, Korie Lee Blossey does a wonderful job bringing life to this live version role. Blossey has a big voice and an even bigger personality that hooks you in with his charm right from the start with the curtain going up.
The two lead roles are paired amazingly well and with good reason. Kaena Kekoa (Jasmine) and Jonah Ho’okano (Aladdin) are not both just Hawaiian natives but childhood friends. They had not seen each other since high school but remember performing together in school productions. Both credit their comfort on stage to having the other around and even to help feel less homesick. Their familiarity helps create the chemistry needed to bring these characters to life in a believable way.
While we don’t see the animals Iago and Abu in the stage version we do get three new characters added as Aladdin’s friends. One of these friends, Kassim is being played by East Providence native Albert Jennings. Jennings earned his bachelor’s degree in arts at Rhode Island College and then started performing on cruise ships. Which landed him on Disney Dream and now back in RI to the PPAC stage.
Iago, as we had mentioned with our interview with Reggie De Leon, is still a comedy side-kick to the evil Jaffar played by Patrick Brown, but now in human form. De Leon has many one-liners that will have you laughing. Combine this with his short stature compared to the tall height of Brown and the comedy just radiates from this two-but of course with an evil twist.
Final Thoughts About Aladdin
Aladdin is sure to appeal to all ages but due to some sudden loud effects, I would recommend keeping the younger kids at home. Even with my not so sensory affected son, I was glad he did not come with us as I am sure we would have had a few meltdowns.
Aladdin The Musical is playing now at the Providence Performing Arts Center through November 10th with tickets still available. Including tickets for the BankNewport Family Night. BankNewort Family Night at ALADDIN is Wednesday, November 6th at 7 PM. Patrons who purchase a regularly priced ticket to the Wednesday, November 6th performance of ALADDIN will receive a complimentary ticket of equal value for a child/teenager up to age 18. Family Night tickets are available at the Box Office at 220 Weybosset Street in downtown Providence or by phone at (401) 421-2787 only. Family Night tickets are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis in selected locations. Golden Circle seating is excluded, and standard service fees apply. PPAC’s BankNewport Family Night media sponsors are ABC 6 and Coast 93.3.
For more information, visit AladdinTheMusical.com/tour or follow on