I missed press night for Disney's Aladdin: The New Stage Musical, but I decided to go down this Tuesday and check out the production from the free seats. Armed with a pair of binoculars, which I didn't really need, I was able to take in this wonderfully charming presentation after all. And, I was not disappointed. And, those of you who bring children in tow won't be either. This is a delightfully colorful production that captures the feel of the original movie, while adding quite a few new musical numbers (that were in the original draft of the movie) and wrinkles to it. I highly recommend this spirited show.
If you haven't seen the animated film (1992) then you've missed a real gem. Aladdin is a street-urchin trying to make the best of his bad situation. When Princess Jasmine gets tired of being forced to remain in the palace that overlooks the city, she sneaks out to the marketplace, where she runs into Aladdin. Under the orders of the evil Jafar, Aladdin is tossed in jail and becomes caught up in his plot to rule the land with the aid of a mysterious lamp.
The entire cast is superb, with terrific work by Robin deJesus (Aladdin), John Tartaglia (Genie), Thom Sesma (the evil, cackling Jafar), Samantha Massell (Jasmine), Ken Page (Jasmine's father), Curtis Holbrook (Iago, a talking bird), and a trio of singers who bring considerable panache and a great deal of amusement to the proceedings (Jason Graae, Eddie Korbich and Francis Jue).
Gary Griffin's direction keeps the joint jumping for the most part, and he's aided by the choreography of Alex Sanchez. The fine set is the work of Michael Anania, and the splendorous costumes are by Mara Blumenfeld, and it's all well lit by designer Seth Jackson. Greg Anthony conducts the Muny orchestra with considerable aplomb. Extra points are awarded for the live camels who grace the stage.
Families will find plenty to love about the Muny's eye-popping production of Disney's Aladdin: The New Stage Musical, and it continues through July 13, 2012.