by Abbie Dressler
On November 4th 2016 i turned 17 years old and my parents surprised me with tickets to Disney's Aladdin on broadway. Aladdin is my favorite Disney movie and I have been wanting to see the broadway show since its debut in 2014, so I was thrilled to be able to go.
The minute i walked inside the historic New Amsterdam theater in New york City i was greeted by fabulous Disney cast members who ushered us to the elevator to go to the balcony floor where my family and i were sitting.
The orchestra started to tune and the lights began to dim, it was showtime!.
The shows opening number, ‘Arabian Nights,’ started off with Tony award winner James Monroe Iglehart as the Genie narrating the story. The stage then lit up with lights and the ensemble walked on sang the classic song ‘Arabian Nights’ from the film, In just the first 6 minutes of the show I was in awe over the costumes, choreography and sets. The marketplace scene in the first act really showed the audience who Aladdin really is, It showed he isn't just a street rat thief, instead showed that he is a good person. My mother and i during ‘One Jump Ahead’ whispered to each other that we both thought that Addam sounded just like Aladdin in the movie. But the song that really made me love Adam Jacob's performance was ‘Proud of your Boy’ which was written for the original 1992 film but was later cut, this song was about Aladdin telling his mother that he was going to make her proud someday.
Courtney Reed's performance as Princess Jasmine was amazing as well, especially during her solo song ‘These Palace Walls’. The song is about Jasmine wanting to explore the world but shes not allowed to leave the palace so she sings this song as she decides to run away from home. The song was cut from the film but Alan Menken a Disney legend and composer of many classic Disney films including Aladdin, brought these cut songs back for the stage show.
Jonathan Freeman who portrayed the villain Jafar in the 1992 film also portrayed Jafar at the Broadway show. This made his performance so amazing because every word he said or sang sounded just like Jafar. Especially in the newly written song ‘Diamond in the Rough’ which is about Jafar and Iago tricking Aladdin (who is the diamond in the rough) into fetching Jafar the Genie lamp in the cave of wonders.
James Monroe Iglehart portrayal of the Genie was fabulous in every way. In the show during ‘Friend like Me’ the Genie is showing Aladdin all the possibilities of his 3 wishes there was confetti, tap dancing, lots of energy and the lyrics everyone knows and loves from the film and it was the biggest number in the show. In no way was James trying to be just like the late Robin Williams (Genie in 1992 film) he truly made the genie his own while still saying original lines from the film.
‘A whole new World’ was my favorite part of the show it was truly magical when Jasmine and Aladdin rode the carpet in the night sky. Another song i really enjoyed was ‘High Adventure’ which was about Aladdins best friends Omar, Kassim and Babkak going on a mission to rescue Aladdin from jail, the song had sword fights and a catchy chorus.
Overall the show was amazing and i highly recommend it, i even got to meet the cast after the show. I told Courtney Reed that Jasmine is my favorite Princess and she told me that “Jasmine is my favorite princess too”, She also loved my Jasmine phone case and shirt. I also got to speak to James Monroe Iglehart after the show and he told me that “Aladdin is my favorite Disney movie too” and told me that he started to get into theater in high school. Adam Jacobs told me that he loved my shirt and thanked me for coming to the show.