BWW Review: THE “GENIE-US” OF ALADDIN at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
THE "GENIE-US" OF ALADDIN
WRITTEN BY: Vickie L. Evans
The "sparkling" costumes (Gregg Barnes - Costume Designer), the breathtaking set (Bob Crowley - Set Designer), back-dropped by gold-lined caves and starry, moon-lit nights, not to mention, the electrifying persona and captivating talents of "The Genie" (Korie Lee Blossey), makes Aladdin one of the top Broadway musicals of all times. With the iconic song "A Whole New World", Aladdin certainly delivered "the magic" of Disney that took the audience on a mind-blowing journey of "toe tappin" dance performances and tickled our imagination to believe that we too could embark on a fairy-tale infused "magic carpet ride". I felt like a big kid experiencing a fun-filled stage performance, that I had previously seen as a movie, as if it was my first time.
Centered around a love story about Jasmine's (Kaenaonalani Kekoa) quest to find a suitable husband, based on her father's insistence (Jerald Vincent) that she marry a prince, Jasmine meets Aladdin (Jonah Ho'okano) a petty thief, at the marketplace, while disguised as a commoner. Discovering Jasmine's true identity, Aladdin feels unworthy to be her husband because he is not of royal descent. He stumbles upon a magic lantern that housed the "bigger than life" genie...who dutifully grants him three wishes. Unaware that the Princess had fallen in love with his genuine character, instead of who he thought she wanted him to be, Aladdin's first wish was to be a prince...which initially backfired on gaining the princess' affections. The message implies that sometimes it is better to be your genuine self...than to be pretentious.
Now as my creative title of this article connotes...the genius of this production is "The Genie". Blossey's character "wows" patrons with his dancing, singing, and brilliant acting finesse...a triple threat, indeed. He is a joy to watch and an excellent entertainer...without a doubt.
Aladdin is also packed with humor, especially from the wit of Aladdin's friends, Babkak (Zach Bencal), Omar (Ben Chavez) and Kassim (Colt Prattes). This ensemble kept the audience chuckling throughout the evening.
Of course, no story-line would be complete without a villain, Jafar (Patrick R. Brown) and his side-kick, Iago (Reggie De Leon). Their wicked plot for Jafar to become the next Sultan by obtaining the magic lantern and, of course, the genie was foiled at the end by Aladdin and his friends. His reign as the Sultan was temporary and love prevails. Another Disney's "happily ever after" tale.
All in all, Aladdin is good family entertainment that touches the heart of the young and the "young at heart". It is riveting, has good music, great dancing, and an adorable genie that makes you believe...the unbelievable...as only Disney can!