The national tour of Aladdin flew into the Orpheum Theater last weekend, and will be departing on October 8. The latest Disney broadway musical, following Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, expands the popular Aladdin movie new songs and more characters. Adam Jacobs plays the part of Aladdin, he also originated the part on Broadway, and does so with heart and voice that is lovely to listen to. Anthony Murphy plays the Genie, he is a commanding presence and the expanded version of Friend Like Me, which he lead, was by far the most spectacular number in the show. Isabelle McCalla is Jasmine, and she is fiery and plays the feminist character with great strength, her line about why can't a woman lead stopped the show for a moment as the audience applauded.
Aladdin is obvious a well known and well loved story, and with a property like Disney behind I came into the show with pretty high expectations. The danger with having those expectations is that you can be disappointed. With the exception of the spectacular number "Friend like Me", which by itself could justify the high ticket prices, all of the numbers seemed to fall short. I felt like "One Jump Ahead", my favorite song from the movie didn't have enough energy and the delivery of "A Whole New World" did its job in giving the audience the essential song from the movie but there was nothing that special behind it. The humor of the show also felt stiff, filled with bad puns and forced jokes.
The show is successful in delivering the heart of the story, about two characters in different socio-economic classes that both feel trapped and are drawn to each other by their desire to explore and be and know more. It is a beautiful and simple story that is timeless, I just wish that it was filled with less fluff. It is also very refreshing to see a story that takes place in the Middle East that casts the setting as a vibrant, beautiful and cultured place (because it is all of those things).
There are multiple reasons that the national tour of Aladdin is worth seeing, and if you go in with reasonable expectations I think you will have a good time.
Aladdin is playing at the Orpheum Theater until October 8.
More information and tickets can be found on the Hennepin
Theater Trust's Website Here:
*Photos by Deen Van Meer