Disney’s Aladdin is all set for landing at London’s Prince Edward Theatre in summer 2016, and it’s fair to say it looks like a lot of fun. But, if like me, you need a little bit of convincing - partly because you’re still upset that Aladdin’s replacing the fabulous Miss Saigon, and partly because you can’t see any Disney musical ever beating The Lion King - you may want to know what we can expect from the show. So, to help us out, let’s take a look at some of the reviews for Aladdin on Broadway!
USA Today’s review described Aladdin as ‘genie-us’, awarding it 3.5 out of 4 stars, and New York Magazine called it ‘musical comedy wish fulfillment’. Meanwhile Charles Isherwood, reviewing Aladdin for the New York Times, was grudgingly impressed, admitting that it ‘defied my dour expectations’, and that it has ‘an infectious and only mildly syrupy spirit’.
A lot of Aladdin Broadway reviews seemed to single out the eight-minute musical extravaganza from the Genie, ‘Friend Like Me’, as a high point. Time Out’s review described it as ‘wave upon wave of razzle-dazzle’ while Variety called it ‘a bona fide showstopper’. USA Today even claimed that at this point in the show, James Monroe Iglehart, who played the Genie on Broadway, topped the performance given by the legendary Robin Williams in the 1992 movie - and the New York Post agreed that the show ‘lets a pretty nifty genie out of a lamp’.
A Whole New World is, obviously, one of the best known numbers in the movie, and all eyes will be on how it’s adapted for the West End stage. Fortunately, the reviews from Broadway have been largely positive: the New York Times was impressed by ‘a nifty bit of wonder for the magic carpet, which appears to float softly around the stage without benefit of any visible lifting apparatus’, while the New York Post called it ‘a moonlit magic-carpet joy ride, as Aladdin and Jasmine float above the stage against a star-studded sky — a worthy setting for the biggest hit of Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice’s solid score’.
Okay, I’ll admit it; from reading the Broadway reviews of Aladdin, it sounds like we’re in for a great time. As for whether it can beat The Lion King - I guess I’ll just have to watch the show and find out…
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