Theatre Review: Disney’s Aladdin at the Hollywood Pantages

Garon CockrellReviews, Theatre, Theatre ReviewLeave a Comment

January 10 – March 31, 2018

Hollywood Pantages
6233 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Tickets start at $35

From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Disney’s ALADDIN, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite.

Hailed by USA Today as “Pure Genie-Us,” ALADDIN features all your favorite songs from the film as well as new music written by Tony® and Academy Award® winner Alan Menken (Newsies) with lyrics penned by the legendary Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast), Tony Award winner Tim Rice (The Lion King, Aida), and book writer Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer).

Aladdin is one of my favorite Disney animated films. It’s perfect. The songs are fantastic, the animation beautiful, and Robin Williams’ genie is a work of brilliance. So, when given the opportunity to see this live stage version, which by all accounts is fantastic, I was super excited.

For the most part, the show is a grand, gorgeous spectacle with an incredible show stealing performance from Michael James Scott as the Genie. But, when he is not on stage, it kind of feels like something is missing, like the air is slowly leaking out of a balloon and the sides are starting to concave.

The cast is great. Everyone does really great work here. Voices are strong and the performances are fun and believable. There is a weird sort of up and down feeling for the performances. Some of them are great and others feel a little wanting, almost slow, especially a “battle” scene that happens with Aladdin’s three friends (replacing Apu and Carpet). The scene, while funny and featuring a good new song, felt a little slow to me. Almost calculated.

Speaking of Apu and Carpet, I found myself missing them and wishing they had figured someway to include them. They’re replaced by a trio of new characters who are fun comic relief (including a captivatingly fun turn by Phillipe Arroyo as Omar), but I still found myself hoping to see these other beloved characters.

The real show stopper here though is the Genie. Michael James Scott is phenomenal in the role. He’s funny, charming, and a blast to watch. He does an absolutely wonderful job bringing this iconic character to life and when he isn’t on stage, his absence is really felt. When he is on stage, he is an explosion of energy and joy. Really an amazing performance to behold.

The sets are gorgeous. Bright colors, great effects, truly dazzling to behold especially when Jasmine and Aladdin are flying on the carpet singing A Whole New World (even with the weird choice to have earth in the background). It’s really breathtaking.

The songs remain just as great as always. They are implemented wonderfully, including the fantastic Proud Of Your Boy, which was deleted from the film. The new songs are good but they don’t quite measure up to the original songs.

Overall, Disney’s Aladdin is a fun, if inconsistent, night at the theatre for all ages. It’s a great intro into musicals and is sure to captivate the kids with its amazing visuals and stellar Genie.

Disney’s Aladdin is running through March 31.

A fun, if inconsistent, show that people of all ages will find exciting and magical.

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Garon CockrellTheatre Review: Disney’s Aladdin at the Hollywood Pantages