On 21st October, I experienced something that will stay with me forever. MY FIRST BROADWAY SHOW! My family and I went to see ‘Aladdin The Musical’ which is currently playing at The New Amsterdam Theatre. The show is based on the 1992 Disney film (with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice), so I don’t feel as though I need to explain the plot. The book and additional lyrics for the musical were written by Chad Beguelin.
Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed are the embodiment of their characters (‘Aladdin’ and ‘Jasmine’ respectively), and have the perfect voices to bring their Disney counterparts to life. Hearing their marvellous vocals ring loud and clear into the black abyss of the theatre auditorium is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine.
However, the person who really makes the show is Mr. James Monroe Inglehart, who plays ‘Genie’. The man’s comedic timing and amazing tap skills give the character a whole new lease of life. Trying to fill the shoes of the late Robin Williams is no mean feat, but he does it with ease. Inglehart’s immense degree of showmanship is on full display during the flashy ‘Friend Like Me’ number, so much so that you just don’t want it to end. The character reminds me so much of ‘Donkey’ in ‘Shrek The Musical’. The trusty sidekick who is always there in times of upset and peril. In fact, am I the only one who notices the similarities between ‘Somebody’s Got Your Back’ and ‘The Travel Song’? James won a Tony for his performance back in 2014. In my opinion, the award was throughly deserved. If someone wrote a show called ‘Genie: Starring James Monroe Inglehart’, I’m pretty sure I would have to make the theatre my home for the entirety of it’s run.
Jonathan Freeman plays the role of the devilish ‘Jafar’ to perfection, but it certainly doesn’t come as a surprise. Was I the only one who wasn’t aware that he voiced the character in the film? He manages to amuse the audience with every swish of his cape, caressing them in a blanket of black-hearted wit.
Not only is the show a pleasure for the ears, it is also a feast for the eyes. Bob Crowley (Scenic Design), Gregg Barnes (Costume Design), Natasha Katz (Lighting Design), and Ken Travis (Sound Design) are a creative dream team, who have found a way to make ‘Aladdin The Musical’ as aesthetically pleasing as it ever was on film.
Seeing classic Disney films reimagined on stage always fills me with a sense of nostalgia. Many of the films that are created by Disney today rely heavily on CGI. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (look at the success of ‘Frozen’), but I miss the days of hand drawn animation. When classic films such as ‘Aladdin’ are brought to life in the theatre, it allows me to sleep soundly at night knowing that these masterpieces will never be forgotten.
I am truly honoured to be able to say that ‘Aladdin The Musical’ was my first Broadway show, and I urge you to attend a performance whilst you still can.
Tickets are available here: http://www.aladdinthemusical.com/tickets