Last month I won two tickets to any Broadway show from United Airlines at the Stars in the Alley to promote the Tony Awards. I took a friend to see Aladdin and what a joy it was.
James Monroe Iglehart won the Tony award for his role as Genie in the show, and if there was ever a star making performance, this is it. The opening song Arabian Nights, which features him and the entire cast, sets up the tone of the show. It is bright and bold, with moving scenery and beautiful costumes, singing and dancing that lets you know what you are in for- a dazzling show.
Aladdin and his three friends sing Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kasim and they are also bright spots in this show. They have each others' backs and their puns are silly enough to make the adults in the audience laugh.
When Iglehart belts out Friend Like Me, made memorable by Robin Williams in the animated film, the audience is stunned. His singing and dancing literally stopped the show, something I have rarely seen in all of the many, many Broadway shows I have seen. My jaw literally dropped.
The crowd rewarded this amazing performance with thunderous applause that stopped the show. (Thank goodness, it gave Iglehart a chance to catch his breath.) Although I really liked the entire show, it is worth it just to see this performance. It will be difficult to cast this role if Mr. Iglehart leaves the show.
Another very cool thing was the flying carpet. Jasmine (Courtney Reed) and Aladdin (played this evening by Joshua Dela Cruz) sing A Whole New World while flying on a carpet just like in the movie, and I'll be darned if I couldn't figure out how they did it, but it was pretty incredible.
Jafar is played by Jonathan Freeman, who voiced the role in the movie, and his parrot Iago (voiced by Gilbert Gottfried) is now a man played beautifully by Don Darryl Rivera. His comic performance had the audience in stitches.
Like the movie, Aladdin has much to keep the adults in the audience happy. I would argue that this is more of an adult fairy tale than a children's show. I highly recommend it for all age groups, it made me smile throughout the entire show.