Review: Aladdin at Broadway Sacramento
The treasured story of Aladdin comes to life on the Community Center Theater stage with both familiar and new music, dazzling colors and a brilliant company of performers. The tale follows the kindhearted street rat, Aladdin (Clinton Greenspan/Jacob Dickey), who finds a charismatic genie (Major Attaway) in a magic lamp in the Cave of Wonders. Aladdin uses his three wishes to persuade Princess Jasmine (Kaenaonalani Kekoa) to fall in love with him, but the nefarious Jafar (Jonathan Weir) and his evil sidekick Iago (Reggie De Leon) create treacherous interference and distraction along the way.
The story of Aladdin invites viewers to see a new, fantastic point of view, while teaching the importance of honesty, friendship and love.
Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, the North American Broadway Tour introduces some new characters and songs that add a fresh feel to the story. Instead of the pet monkey Abu, we meet Aladdin’s closest pals Babkak (Zach Bencal), Omar (Ben Chavez) and Kassim (Erik Hernandez) who join him on his adventure and take on the palace guards to rescue Aladdin.
As Aladdin, Greenspan was flawless throughout the entire high-energy production, especially in an emotional performance of “Proud of Your Boy.”
Attaway (who also played Genie in the original Broadway production) carries the show with his comedic attitude and impressive vocal range. His powerful performance of “Friend Like Me” does not disappoint, and is fittingly accompanied by a glitzy set, riveting choreography, quick costume changes and explosive pyrotechnics.
Making her Broadway on Tour debut is the lovely Kaenaonalani Kekoa, whose charming portrayal of the sweet, but not-so-obedient Jasmine is tender and exquisite. The multi-talented ensemble entertain with tap dancing, traditional dances of the Middle East, musicality and animated stagecraft, while the Aladdin Touring Orchestra (joined by several local orchestra members) splendidly and skillfully recreate the music of Alan Menken.
When Aladdin and Jasmine soar above the stage on the magic carpet through the dazzling, diamond sky, it’s almost impossible not to be transported with them as they sing “A Whole New World.” As the theater transforms into a night sky above the city of Agrabah, the audience sits below, spellbound by this enchanting scene. With its magical moving sets and glittering costumes, the overall production is fun, fanciful and polished to perfection.
It’s a musical that’s bursting with excitement and is ideal for families with young children, or anyone who grew up watching the animated Disney film and loved singing along to “Arabian Nights,” “Prince Ali” and “A Whole New World.” This show is everything one would hope for in a live Broadway performance of Disney’s Aladdin, as it whisks you away on delightful journey to a distant land filled with sword fights, magic genies and one heroic diamond in the rough.