While the classic trope of royalty falling for a commoner fills many fairy tales, Disney’s Aladdin musical is more than just another fantasy set within an exotic Arabian world. The themes of allowing a woman to choose her own path, overcoming status, and loyalty to friendship are just as important as the happily ever after moment.
Disney has transformed many of its popular tales into Broadway musicals. From the pride lands of Africa to the frozen castles in snowy locales, those tales as old as time resonate with audiences. Even if people could sing along in karaoke moments, the familiar is welcome, comforting, and endearing.
With Disney’s Aladdin musical, many people are captivated by the romance of a magical carpet ride or wonder at the splendor of a golden cave. Although those moments are visually impressive, it is the heart of the story that allows this musical to be played time and time again. Even if a few of the lines are modernized from its original script, the concepts last longer those 1,001 Arabian nights.
As the National Tour of Disney’s Aladdin musical stopped at Dr Phillips Center in Orlando, the audience embraced the high-energy, fast-paced, colorful production. Even though Jasmine and Aladdin might do character meet and greets a few miles away, this musical theater is not about getting a photo for the social media page. It is a reminder of what fairy tales are meant to do, get people to contemplate their choices.
Like any good fable, the hero and the villain each have their moments to shine. With a sprinkling of comic relief to keep the audience engaged, the few hours in the darkened theater seem like just minutes. The live theater escapism is far more pleasurable than staring at another screen.
For this touring production, Marcus M. Martin plays Genie. With a quick-fire, rhythmic cadence to his words, the boisterous Genie has the audience immediately in his pocket. Although the big show moments have everyone applauding, it is the quiet, sometimes overlooked subtleties that make his performance special. Sure, that Hawaiian shirt makes a statement, but the slight voice quiver when a wish might not come true is more meaningful.
Although Genie might be flashing, it is Jasmine, played by Senzel Ahamdy, who has the spunk this princess needs. Never a damsel in distress, she learns to find her voice. That journey of self-discovery can be seen as her voice grows in each song. She is clear; the only person doing the saving is herself.
While Aladdin is the connector between all the characters, he is on his own journey of self-discovery. Played by Adi Roy, there is a boyish charm that endears him to the audience. Yet, everyone wants more for the orphan boy who has lost his way.
Even if the outcome is known and the songs have been played over and over, there is no need to explore a whole new world with the topics or the concept, Disney’s Aladdin musical does exactly what audiences want it to do, entertain. Just like the fable that carefully wove the cautionary tale into a digestible story, the grandeur and spectacle of the stage make the audience smile, clap, and stand at the end of every performance.
Disney’s Aladdin musical is currently on a National Tour. It currently is playing at the Dr Phillips Center in Orlando. Additional dates follow in Georgia, Michigan, and Alabama. In addition, the musical plays on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre.