After much speculation and rumour, the magic lamp has finally been rubbed, the Genie has granted a wish and Aladdin is set to come flying into the West End bringing with it its Cave of Wonders.
The adaptation of the hit Disney film of 1992 (was it really that long ago!?) is the latest in a string of musicals making a transfer from Broadway after a successful run. Let’s hope the show lives up to the classic status of the movie.
The film, for me, is memorable for two key reasons. Firstly, the phenomenal songs, which feature in the show, including 'Prince Ali', 'Friend Like Me' and 'Whole New World'. These songs from Ashman, Menkin and Rice are packed with wonderful lyrics, memorable tunes and joy. The collective back catalogue of the three song writers include the likes of Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, The Lion King (also a successful Disney screen to stage adaptation) and many other wondrous scores beside.
The other reason to love Aladdin is the memorable and endearing performance the late and legendary Robin Williams gave as the Genie of the Lamp. A fun, fast, frenetic performance filled with humour and happiness throughout, it beautifully showcased the vocal and comedic talents of the unique star. His shoes are big ones to fill and I will be keeping an eye out for casting updates to see who will get the honour of playing such an iconic role in the West End.
Aladdin is just one of a handful of classic Disney films to find their way onto the stage. The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins are just three examples but, if there are any producers out there that read articles on LondonTheatreDirect (I’m sure they all do) then I would like to cast my vote for the next one to be Hocus Pocus. How fabulous to have the Sanderson Sisters put a spell on the West End!
The news of Aladdin’s 2016 opening at the Prince Edward Theatre has rocketed it to the top of my ‘to see’ list. I am looking forward to seeing what innovative and imaginative staging is employed to bring the show to life. The Lion King is instantly recognisable for its use of puppetry, Mary Poppins has a flying Nanny. What marvellous, magnificent treats do Disney have in store? We will just have to book Aladdin tickets and ‘make way for Prince Ali!'
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