Aladdin (2011 musical)

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Aladdin
Aladdin-Bposter.png
Broadway promotional poster
Music Alan Menken
Lyrics Howard Ashman
Tim Rice
Chad Beguelin
Book Chad Beguelin
Basis 1992 Disney animated film
Aladdin
Productions 2011 Seattle
2012 St. Louis
2013 Toronto tryout
2014 Broadway

Aladdin is a musical based on the 1992 Disney animated film of the same name with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin, who also wrote the book. Aladdin premiered at the 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle, played at Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Ivins and also in Muny Theatre in St. Louis. It opened on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre on March 20, 2014.

Production history[edit]

In November 2010 Alan Menken confirmed that a musical theatre adaptation of the show is in the works with a book written by Chad Beguelin.[1] The musical premiered in Seattle at the 5th Avenue Theatre from July 7–31, 2011.[2] Jonathan Freeman, who voiced Jafar in the film, played the role in the stage adaptation.[3] Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed played Aladdin and Jasmine. Additional cast included James Monroe Iglehart as Genie; Seán G. Griffin as the Sultan; Don Darryl Rivera as Iago; and, playing Omar, Kassim and Babkak—a trio of characters originally conceived by the film's creators but not used[4]Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Brian Gonzales and Brandon O'Neill, respectively. The show was directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw.[5]

Other productions of the musical played at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Ivins from June–October 2012 and the Muny Theatre in St. Louis from July 5–13, 2012.[6][7][8]

The musical had a pre-Broadway tryout at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto from November 13, 2013 to January 5, 2014.[9][10] Nicholaw again directed and choreographed, with book and additional lyrics by Beguelin, scenic design by Bob Crowley, and costume design by Gregg Barnes.[4][9][11]

The musical premiered on Broadway on February 26, 2014 (in previews) and officially opened on March 20, 2014 at the New Amsterdam Theatre, taking the place of Mary Poppins, which closed on March 3, 2013 to make way for this production.[12][13][14]

Plot[edit]

Act I[edit]

The Genie appears and welcomes the audience to the middle-eastern city of Agrabah. He notes that Agrabah is a very diverse place, full of revered nobles, misfits, and even a few villains ("Arabian Nights").

Aladdin is a young homeless man who spends his days stealing food from the street vendors of Agrabah along with his three best friends, Kassim, Omar, and Babkak ("One Jump Ahead"). After being referred to as a "worthless street rat" Aladdin expresses his dreams of showing the world he's more than just a common urchin ("One Jump Ahead (Reprise)"). He notes his guilt in thievery, having vowed to never steal again after the death of his mother ("Proud of Your Boy").

Meanwhile, in the palace of Agrabah, Princess Jasmine is chastised by her father, the Sultan, for refusing yet another suitor. The Sultan demands that Jasmine choose a noble prince to marry or he will find one for her. Jasmine laments the situation to her handmaidens ("These Palace Walls"). This news also disturbs the Sultan's Grand Vizier, Jafar, who wishes to usurp the throne himself. He and his assistant, Iago, search for a way to enter the "Cave of Wonders", a mysterious cavern in the desert said to hold untold power. The voice of the cave reveals that only one who is worthy, a "diamond in the rough", may enter. When Jafar asks the identity of this "diamond in the rough", it is revealed to be Aladdin. Jafar and Iago set out to find him.

While entertaining the locals ("Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim"), Aladdin bumps into Jasmine, who disguised herself as a commoner to get a sense of life outside the palace. Aladdin has no idea who she is, but is immediately smitten. After a brief scuffle with the authorities, he takes Jasmine to his hideout, where they both reveal their unhappiness in their own lives ("A Million Miles Away"). Jasmine is discovered by the authorities and taken back to the palace. Aladdin is ordered to be killed, but is saved by Jafar and Iago, who take Aladdin to the Cave of Wonders ("Diamond in the Rough"). Grateful for saving his life, Aladdin honors Jafar's request to enter the cave. Once inside, Aladdin is instructed to bring a golden oil lamp to Jafar and touch nothing else. Astonished by all the treasure buried within the cave, Aladdin attempts to take some gold coins along with the lamp. The cave angrily seals itself, trapping Aladdin inside. Engulfed in darkness, Aladdin rubs the lamp which to his surprise unleashes a magical Genie that offers to grant him three wishes. Aladdin initially shrugs this off in disbelief, prompting the Genie to display his powers with an impressive musical number ("Friend Like Me"). The Genie then reveals that he has limitations to his powers. He can't grant wishes that include: murder, romance, revival of the dead, or wishing for additional wishes. Amused and overjoyed at his good fortune, Aladdin tricks Genie into magically freeing themselves from the cave without actually using a wish; thereafter, Genie states that Aladdin will not receive any more magic help unless he explicitly states "I wish". While contemplating his wishes, Genie admits he would wish for freedom, since he is a prisoner to his lamp. Aladdin promises to free Genie as his last wish. Aladdin decides to use his first wish to become a prince in order to be legally able to court Jasmine ("Act One Finale (Friend Like Me (Reprise)/Proud of Your Boy (Reprise I)").

Act II[edit]

A vast parade storms through the streets of Agrabah led by Genie, Babkak, Omar, and Kassim. They all announce the arrival of "Prince Ali of Ababwa" ("Prince Ali"). Once at the palace, Ali expresses his desire to marry Jasmine to the Sultan. Jasmine overhears the conversation and perceives Ali to be just another shallow prince. Jafar, who is suspicious of Ali, tells him the location of Jasmine's bedroom, not mentioning that it is against Agrabah law for the Princess to have a suitor in her quarters unsupervised. Ali courts Jasmine with a ride on his magic carpet provided to him by Genie ("A Whole New World"). Once they return, Jasmine reveals she recognizes Ali to be Aladdin in disguise. Aladdin lies and says that he really is a prince, he just sometimes likes to dress as a commoner to escape the pressures of palace living, much like Jasmine did that day. Seeing he isn't shallow and self-absorbed like the others, Jasmine kisses Aladdin good night. After she leaves, Jafar has Ali arrested for entering the Princess' room unsupervised. Upon hearing the news, Babkak, Omar, and Kassim storm the palace to rescue their friend ("High Adventure"). They are captured and thrown into the dungeon as well, but with a little help from the Genie, Aladdin uses his second wish to free them ("Somebody's Got Your Back").

The Sultan greets Ali in the hall and gives him his blessing to marry Jasmine, meaning that Aladdin himself will inherit the throne as the new Sultan one day. Fearful of this great responsibility, he tells Genie he's going to save his third wish for a day he may need it rather than use it to free Genie like he promised. Distraught, Genie returns to his lamp and refuses to speak to Aladdin. Aladdin laments ("Proud of Your Boy (Reprise II)"). Meanwhile, Jafar and Iago manage to steal the lamp that Aladdin carelessly discarded.

As the Sultan announces to the public that Jasmine is to wed Prince Ali ("Prince Ali (Sultan Reprise)"), Jafar appears and reveals Ali to be merely a common street rat named Aladdin ("Prince Ali (Jafar Reprise)"). Genie then enters with Jasmine in chains, claiming that Jafar is now his master and that his first wish was to make Jasmine his prisoner. Jafar uses his second wish to crown himself Sultan, which Genie reluctantly grants. Realizing what Genie has told him earlier about his powers being limited, Aladdin tricks Jafar into wishing for himself to become a Genie so that his power will be unmatched. Genie grants Jafar's final wish to become a genie himself, but Jafar is quickly sucked into a lamp of his own, bound to it for eternity.

Aladdin uses his third and final wish to set Genie free and admits to Jasmine that while he loves her, he cannot pretend to be someone he's not. Seeing the nobility in Aladdin, the Sultan decrees that henceforth the Princess can marry whomever she pleases. Babkak, Omar, and Kassim are made royal advisors, while Iago is arrested. Aladdin and Jasmine are married, and Genie prepares for a long-awaited vacation. All ends well as Aladdin and Jasmine board the magic carpet and take flight ("Finale Ultimo (Arabian Nights (Reprise)/A Whole New World (Reprise)").

Cast lists[edit]

Original casts of notable productions.

Character Original Seattle Cast Original Toronto/Broadway Cast[15]
Aladdin Adam Jacobs
Jasmine Courtney Reed
Genie James Monroe Iglehart
Jafar Jonathan Freeman
The Sultan Seán G. Griffin Clifton Davis
Iago Don Darryl Rivera
Omar Andrew Keenan-Bolger Jonathan Schwartz
Babkak Brian Gonzales
Kassim Brandon O’Neill

Musical numbers[edit]

Many of these songs were deleted songs from the 1992 film cut following the death of Howard Ashman that were restored for the musical. Others were written especially for it. The genres are a mix of both Broadway-style songs and adult contemporary ballads, in accordance to the various song-writing teams that worked on the show.

All songs feature music by Alan Menkin. Lyricists are listed on the individual songs

Pre-Broadway[edit]

Instrumentation[edit]

Aladdin uses an eighteen-member orchestra:

Broadway[edit]

(*) Song originally cut from the movie, but restored for the musical.
(**) New song written for the musical.

Reception[edit]

Pre-Broadway[edit]

The pre-Broadway production opened in Toronto on November 21, 2013 to mixed reviews. The National Post review said "This Aladdin turns out to be the best ever stage version of a movie", praising its score, direction, choreography, staging, lighting, design, and altered characterisations.[11] CHCH said "Artistically, this Aladdin is top grade. It will become a classic."[16] The Globe and Mail reviewer gave the show 2.5 stars out of 4, saying that it was "strictly for the kiddies".[17] The Toronto Star gave the musical the same rating, and said "You’re likely to hear the sound of deafening applause [during the] show-stopping staging of “A Friend Like Me” and James Monroe Iglehart’s blessedly bravura performance as the Genie. It’s the kind of exhilarating moment we go to the theatre for. But it’s my unhappy duty to report that, as it now stands, nothing before or after it in Aladdin lives up to those six sublime minutes."[18]

The Vancouver Sun said "Director Casey Nicholaw has served up a thoroughly satisfying confection for kids, who will no doubt delight in the swords, smoke and spectacular tunes of “Aladdin” — and will leave the theatre content to have been transported to “a whole new world.” Their parents? Maybe not so much."[19] The website BroadwayWorld said "the show had the unbelievable sights but sadly struggled with the indescribable feelings", adding "The problem is, Chad Beguelin's book fails to make us truly care for the characters - and the special effects can only take the show so far when the investment at the heart of the story isn't making the connection it should. It felt as though the book concentrated too hard on adding cheesy 'current affair' style jokes (think pop culture references and an odd ode to Disney style number) and clunky one-liners instead of giving depth and material to Aladdin, Jasmine and the Genie."[20] The Toronto Sun said: "In short, it's a visual assault that doesn't so much draw one in as simply sweep one up in an overly long first act that washes one up on the shores of intermission, gasping for air. With the exception of Iglehart's gigantically genial Genie, there is no character in which an audience can make an emotional investment -- no quiet moment that might allow any of the characters, good or evil, to exist in three dimensions."[21]

Broadway[edit]

The Broadway production received mixed to positive reviews from critics.[22] Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press gave the production a rave review, writing, "It's spritely directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, well sung by a huge 35-person cast wearing an alarming number of harem pants, and hits that sweet spot Disney Theatrical Productions do so well, a saccharine fairy tale for the kids cut by some sly, vinegary quips for their parents."[23] Elysa Gardener of USA Today gave the show 3.5 out of four stars and said, "If Disney Theatrical's latest production doesn't sustain that frenzied high throughout, it delivers a rush that may surprise folks who attend either as chaperones or to relive their own youths. Nicholaw, noted for less family-friendly projects such as The Book of Mormon and The Drowsy Chaperone, works with a book by Chad Beguelin, also his collaborator on Elf: The Musical, for which Beguelin provided mostly hokey lyrics.".[24] Thom Grier of Entertainment Weekly gave the show a "B" and said, "Overall, this is one of the better Disney stage musicals, complete with several eye-popping production numbers that benefit from Nicholaw's spirited choreography, Bob Crowley's elaborate and chameleonic sets, and Gregg Barnes' glittery costumes."[25]

Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal praised the performance of Iglehart, especially during the number "Friend Like Me". However, he had mixed feelings about the show overall writing, "The trouble is that nothing else in the first act can touch it. Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed, who play Aladdin and his princess, are pretty but bland, and the temperature doesn't start rising again until the magic-carpet ride, which comes after intermission and is the slickest thing to hit Broadway since the flying car in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." From then on, "Aladdin" becomes fun and stays that way."[26] Charles Isherwood of The New York Times was somewhat positive in his review and wrote, "The prospect of "Aladdin," promising another weary night in the presence of a spunky youngster and wisecracking animals, didn't exactly set my heart racing. But this latest musical adapted from one of Disney's popular movies, which opened on Thursday night at the New Amsterdam Theater, defied my dour expectations. As directed and choreographed (and choreographed, and choreographed) by Casey Nicholaw, and adapted by the book writer Chad Beguelin, "Aladdin" has an infectious and only mildly syrupy spirit. Not to mention enough baubles, bangles and beading to keep a whole season of "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestants in runway attire.[27] Marilyn Stasio of Variety gave the show a negative review and said, "The magic-carpet ride is magical. The Cave of Wonders is wonderful. And yes, you'll hear the tunes you loved in the 1992 movie. But the notion that "Disney Aladdin" somehow resurrects the spirit of the late Howard Ashman, who had the original inspiration for the movie and contributed most of its clever lyrics, is a joke. Restoring a person's work without respecting his artistic sensibility is no tribute at all."[28]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2014 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Chad Beguelin Nominated
Best Original Score Alan Menken (music), Howard Ashman (lyrics), Tim Rice (lyrics), and Chad Beguelin (lyrics) Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical James Monroe Iglehart Won
Best Choreography Casey Nicholaw Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Book of a Musical Chad Beguelin Nominated
Outstanding Music Alan Menken Nominated
Outstanding Lyrics Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Adam Jacobs Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical James Monroe Iglehart Won
Outstanding Choreography Casey Nicholaw Nominated


International Productions[edit]

The Asian premiere of Aladdin was in Manila, the Philippines at the Meralco Theater. It was staged by Atlantis Productions, Inc. from November 16 to December 9, 2012. Directed by Bobby Garcia and Chari Arespacochaga, it starred Tom Rodriguez as Aladdin, K-La Rivera as Princess Jasmine, Raul Montesa as Jafar, and Aiza Seguerra alternating with Calvin Millado as Genie. [29] The Colombian version of Aladdin was premiered on April 4, 2013 with Sebastian Martinez as Aladdin, María José Camacho as Jasmine, Felipe Salazar as the Genie and Juan Camilo Castillo as Jafar.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BWW EXCLUSIVE: Alan Menken Talks TANGLED, SISTER ACT, LEAP OF FAITH, HUNCHBACK, ALADDIN & More" broadwayworld.com
  2. ^ "Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre Premieres ALADDIN, 7/7-31", Broadway World
  3. ^ "Jonathan Freeman Will Bring Jafar from Screen to Stage in Disney's Aladdin at 5th Avenue", Playbill
  4. ^ a b Hetrick, Adam. "Disney's Aladdin Will Play Toronto This Fall Prior to 2014 Broadway Premiere" playbill.com, January 22, 2013
  5. ^ "Memphis Star James Monroe Iglehart Is Genie in Disney's Aladdin; Adam Jacobs Is Title Hero", Playbill
  6. ^ "'Tuacahn presents Disney's Aladdin - The New Stage Musical 2012" YouTube
  7. ^ "ALADDIN, CHICAGO, DREAMGIRLS et al. Set for Muny 2012 Season" broadwayworld.com, 2011
  8. ^ "2012 Muny Season" muny.org
  9. ^ a b "Breaking News: Disney's ALADDIN to Play Pre-Broadway Tryout in Toronto Starting November 2013; Broadway Spring 2014" broadwayworld.com, January 22, 2013
  10. ^ Disney's ALADDIN Ends Pre-Broadway Toronto Engagement Today broadwayworld.com, January 5, 2013
  11. ^ a b "Theatre review: Forget the Lion, this Aladdin is king of the stage | National Post". Arts.nationalpost.com. 2013-11-22. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  12. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Disney's 'Aladdin' Will Arrive on Broadway in February 2014" playbill.com, August 29, 2013
  13. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Broadway's 'Mary Poppins' Flies Out Of New Amsterdam Theatre March 3" playbill.com, March 3, 2013
  14. ^ "Rialto Chatter: 'Aladdin' to Hit Broadway Spring of 2014 with 'Major New Player' on Creative Team" broadwayworld.com, 2013
  15. ^ "Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed Will Co-Star in Disney's Aladdin; Complete Cast Announced". playbill.com. Playbill. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  16. ^ Review chch.com
  17. ^ J. Kelly Nestruck (2013-11-21). "There’s a carpet, but not much magic in Aladdin". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  18. ^ Friday, December 13, 2013 6:33 AM EST Facebook Twitter RSS (2013-11-21). "Aladdin's carpet ride is missing some magic: review | Toronto Star". Thestar.com. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  19. ^ Baillie, Andrea (2013-11-22). "Review: Aladdin’s magic may charm kids, but maybe not their parents (with video)". Vancouversun.com. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  20. ^ "BWW Reviews: Broadway Bound ALADDIN Opens in Toronto". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  21. ^ Coulbourn, John. "Aladdin's wild magic carpet ride | Stage | Entertainment". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  22. ^ Review Roundup: ALADDIN Opens on Broadway - All the Reviews! broadwayworld.com, Retrieved March 21, 2014
  23. ^ Kennedy, Mark (2014-03-20). "Review: Disney hits magic again with 'Aladdin' on Broadway, thanks to a new Genie". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  24. ^ Gardener, Elysa (2014-03-20). "It's genie-us! 'Aladdin' rubs you the right way". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  25. ^ Grier, Thom (2014-03-20). "STAGE REVIEW Aladdin (2014)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  26. ^ Teachout, Terry (2014-03-20). "'Aladdin' Proves Its Worth on Broadway". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  27. ^ Isherwood, Charles (2014-03-20). "Sly Alchemy From That Lamp". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  28. ^ Stasio, Marilyn (2014-03-20). "Broadway Review: ‘Disney Aladdin’". Variety. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  29. ^ http://www.philstar.com/arts-and-culture/2012/11/12/865766/atlantis-productions-stages-%E2%80%98disney%E2%80%99s-aladdin%E2%80%99

External links[edit]