Broadway’s Aladdin takes a magical carpet ride into the Cadillac Palace Theatre! (no promises but I’ll try to keep the Aladdin-themed references to a minimum). Director Casey Nicholaw alongside the incredible Bob Crowley (set designer) bring the city of Agrabah to life in the most enchanting of ways. For a Broadway and Disney buff like me, I had high expectations for this musical; fortunately, the talented cast and impressive sets did not let me down. The musical features Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, who actually premiered the role in the original Broadway cast, and his stellar depiction of our favorite street rat is not to be missed.
If you consider yourself an Aladdin fan, you will notice the evil tone of Jafar is seriously downplayed giving way for more crowd-pleasing shenanigans and light-hearted tunes. Overall Aladdin is aimed at a younger crowd from a content standpoint, yet still succeeds in pleasing adults with its eye-catching visual effects and comical one liners. The music of Alan Menken, also well known for classics such as Beauty and the Beast and Hercules, adds to the magic of Aladdin— let’s just say “Friend Like Me” is now my favorite Broadway number of all time–a genie, a faux Dancing with the Stars and elaborate puns, I couldn’t love it more if I tried.
The Genie (Anthony Murphy) carries the show, bringing just the right amount of sass and vocal belts to all of his scenes. In fact, our night at the Cadillac Theatre was interrupted by a power outage in the area- meaning that the Genie’s musical spotlight-“A Friend Like Me”–got cut in half. By the time we resumed, the actors did not skip a beat, and Murphy even threw in a couple zingers on the outage–you already had me cheering for you, but way to not let them throw a wrench in your lamp! (I made it pretty far.) The ensemble completes this musical with their grandiose dance numbers and careful attention to carrying the tune of the musical. Of course our evil protagonist, Jafar (Jonathan Weir), embodies the sinister man with just enough spook to catch our attention but not enough to make us feel any sort of fear. Weir does a fantastic job at keeping true to Jafar’s roles and intentions, and it doesn’t hurt that his evil laugh is eerily on point. Last, my favorite trio of characters, Aladdin’s best pals/scoundrels, are a welcome addition to the story line: Babkak (JC Montgomerry), Omar (Philippe Arroyo) and Kassim (Michael Longo). Their comedic abilities complete this marvelous cast of actors ready to make your Disney dreams a reality.
If for no other reason than the acting and because, who are you kidding you totally love Aladdin, come see this musical for its impressive sets and beautiful costumes (Gregg Barnes).This musical is not written to be a serious love story or tale of adventure–instead, expect an extremely all-audience-friendly play, where the evil moments are contained, and the illustrious sets and vivid costumes bring your imagination to life. All in all, come out to the Cadillac, bring your kids and adult friends who still act like kids, and enjoy a night in Agrabah, which is conveniently located on Randolph Street.
Aladdin is at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through September 10. Tickets range from $45-110 and you can buy them here!