There is a land far away covered in sand, but full of magic and deception. Where thieves turn into royalty and princesses disguise themselves in rags. It is also home to wish-granting genies. The usual way to get there is by magic flying carpet, but you can get a chance to see it at the Dr. Phillips Center. That’s right, Disney’s hit Broadway show, Aladdin, is now on tour at the Dr. Phillips Center for a limited time. Based on the animated movie under the same name, the show actually branches off quite a bit from its source material.
For starters, instead of including Aladdin’s lovable monkey sidekick, Abu, he is replaced with three new human friends named Omar, Babkak and Kassim who were supposed to be in the original film but were scrapped. Yet, that’s not the only difference. The show even goes a bit into Aladdin’s back story and his relationship with his mother. Iago, Jafar’s parrot sidekick, is also given a makeover. Instead of appearing as a bird the character is given a human role. So, you won’t see him squawking and flying around. Nonetheless, he shares the same comedic charisma. Even Jasmine is given her own entourage by having three handmaidens assist her from time to time with her schemes.
The premise mainly stays true to the original source material but with an added mix of a few new songs. As for the characters, the Genie is the one who steals the show. To be honest, the best scene from the play had to be when the Genie is introduced and he starts singing “Friend Like Me.” Just that scene in itself had a lot of energy and the song is actually a bit longer than the movie version. The scene included magic tricks, indoor fireworks and many references to other Disney movies such as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
Aladdin is just the very definition of adorkable. When around friends he is charming and confident, yet when he’s with Jasmine, Aladdin starts to feel awkward, adding more depth to the character. Jasmine, on the other hand, is very similar to her character in the animated movie. She is a strong and independent person but in the show, she also has more of a sense of humor to the point where she receives laughs from the audience.
The costumes of this play are phenomenal. They have so many bright colors and sequences on them that it can be seen from the furthest balcony.
The music itself is excellent. There were songs from the original film which are performed wonderfully such as “A Whole New World” where you can see Aladdin and Jasmine fly on a magic carpet across a starry sky. Then there are songs made exclusively for the play such as “High Adventure,” where Aladdin’s three human friends raid the palace to go save him after he was captured. This song is underrated and a personal favorite. It is filled with sword fights against palace guards, running in slow-motion and a little dash of comedy.
In conclusion, this show is an amazing experience for all ages whether you are a Disney or Broadway fan. Now, it’s up to you to join the magic carpet ride that will be at the Dr. Phillips Center until Feb 9.
Images: All provided by the author