Just like in the 1992 blockbuster animated movie version when the late-great Robin Williams voiced him – the Genie steals the show – there is just no doubt about it. The fast-talking genie acts as narrator and opens the show. He busts out a Buffalo Bills hat and gets us laughing and loving him from the get-go. Michael James Scott plays the genie with a level of energy and wit rarely seen.
The show is filled with fantastic dance numbers, daring adventure, classic comedy, and my favorite – timeless romance. It is, after all, a love story. But wow, is there an awful lot of glitz along the way! The exotic sets and costumes – 337 in the show by the way – are stunning to look at. The first act was moving along swiftly and I was in awe of the show – but then my mind was seriously blown with the Cave of Wonders – which is the setting for Genie’s show-stopping “Friend Like Me” number. Wow. The bedazzled gold and jewel set was only topped by the actual performance. The number – which seemed to go on for quite some time – was the most over-the-top, high-energy scene I’ve ever seen. In all my years of going to shows like this – this is the first time I’ve seen a standing ovation in the middle of a show! It was phenomenal.
Clinton Greenspan plays Aladdin in such a way that makes it very easy to root for him. Aladdin and his three buddies capture our hearts along their journey of friendship. Lissa deGuzman is wonderful as Jasmine with a beautiful voice and some great lines. Aladdin and Jasmine take us on a magical journey as they find each other – and then find love. The love birds take things up a notch as they fly high above the stage on their gorgeous magic carpet while singing the indelible ballad “A Whole New World.”
This touring version of Aladdin is stunning to look at, funny, topical — and definitely not just for kids – although my 6-year-old had a smile on her face the entire time and was bummed when it was over. She – and the rest of the audience – loved it when Jasmine said, “What’s wrong with a woman running the kingdom?!” Yep, straight out of the ‘new’ Disney princess handbook.
This was just remarkable. All five songs from the original animated film and others – along with the characters we know and love – Aladdin hits all the right notes for me in every way. I highly recommend heading to Shea’s where you will discover a whole new world with this fantastic version of Disney’s Aladdin.
Running Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes with one 15-Minute intermission.
WHEN: Now through August 19th.
WHERE: Shea’s Performing Arts Center
TICKET PRICES: From $37 up to $155
MORE INFORMATION: Sheas.org