The tale of the street urchin Aladdin, who wins the heart of
Princess Jasmine, unleashes the Genie from the lamp and battles
the evil Jafar, was the top-grossing film of 1992, and picked up
Academy Awards for best original score and song for "A Whole New
The musical that opened on Thursday night is the latest Disney
film to be adapted for the stage, following the long-running and
hugely successful "Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast," "The
Little Mermaid" and others.
Although "Aladdin" includes new songs, elaborate costumes and
sets, dance numbers and a magical carpet that mysteriously
floats, it left some critics wishing for more.
"This super-costly extravaganza doesn't do justice to the movie,
or to the spirit of the late Howard Ashman," trade magazine
Variety said, referring to the lyricist who had the original
inspiration for the film.
The Hollywood Reporter described the show as "sweet, silly fun,"
while the New York Daily News found the extravagant production
lacking compared to the film.
"Most moving thing in 'Aladdin' is the flying carpet," it said
in a headline, adding that the musical was "entertaining but an
emotionally sparse adaptation" of the film.
"While burning through wishes, you should ask for a musical with
a lot more heart," it said.
But the New York Times' Charles Isherwood, who admitted he was
not enthusiastic about the prospect of yet another Disney show
on Broadway, said the show defied his dour expectations.
"Aladdin' has an infectious and only mildly syrupy spirit," he
wrote. "Not to mention enough baubles, bangles and beading to
keep a whole season of 'RuPaul's Drag Race' contestants in
[to top of second column]
Adam Jacobs ("The Lion King") plays Aladdin in the show directed and
choreographed by Casey Nicholaw ("Elf"). Courtney Reed ("Mama Mia")
is the rebellious Princess Jasmine and James Monroe Iglehart
("Memphis") takes on the role of the Genie that was voiced by comic
Robin Williams in the film version.
Although less enthusiastic about the musical, the New York Post had
high praise for Iglehart's rousing performance.
"Disney's new 'Aladdin' doesn't quite catch lightening in a bottle — but it lets a pretty nifty genie out of a lamp," the newspaper said.
"That would be James Monroe Iglehart."
USA Today went a step further, saying Iglehart's rendition of the
song "Friend Like Me" topped the version sung by Williams.
"By the end of the number, which includes a game-show segment, a
medley of tunes from other Disney musicals, Iglehart's Genie is
deliriously huffing and puffing: the audience, which received it at
a recent preview with a standing ovation, is just as giddy," the
The Hollywood Reporter found the musical perhaps the most old-school
of Disney's screen-to-stage adaptations since "Beauty and the Beast"
but added it could still become a family-friendly hit.
"It's not the most sophisticated entertainment, but the target
demographic won't mind at all," it said.
Another Disney movie bound for Broadway is "Frozen," this year's
Oscar-winning best animated film which has generated $1 billion at
the global box office since November.
(Editing by Eric Kelsey and Andrew Hay)
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