Review: ALADDIN at Jacksonville Center For The Performing Arts

The production runs now through January 15th.

By: Jan. 11, 2023
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Review: ALADDIN at Jacksonville Center For The Performing Arts
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Aladdin has started its run in Jacksonville Florida at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts. Aladdin is based on the 1992 Disney movie of the same name that follows a "street rat" named Aladdin (Adi Roy). Aladdin is used as a "Diamond in the Rough" for an evil plan hatched by Jafar (Anand Nagraj) and Iago (Aaron Choi). However, their plan is foiled when Aladdin rubs the magic lamp and receives three wishes from the all-powerful Genie (Marcus M. Martin). The audience follows Aladdin on a journey from "street rat" to Prince Ali of Ababwa. He believes now that he is a prince, Princess Jasmine will fall in love with him (Senzel Ahmady). What he does not understand is she would love him simply for who he was, not because he was a prince. The musical was incredibly entertaining for audiences of all ages.

One of the most astounding performances was by the Genie (Marcus M. Martin). Martin is one of the most entertaining actors I have seen. He has great comedic timing, an understanding of how to engage with an audience has an astounding voice, and he is an excellent dancer. Of course, audiences went wild for "Friend Like Me." The number is so fast-paced and has so many moving parts in it, and Martin was on top of it every step of the way. It is in my opinion, Martin would have made Robin Williams, the Genie in the 1992 movie, proud.

The leading man and lady were also extremely talented. Aladdin (Adi Roy) showed true character growth from the beginning of the musical to the end, even if he does hit a few roadblocks along the way. The audience sees Aladdin's true desire is to make his recently deceased mother proud of him. By the end of the musical, it is obvious Aladdin has stopped lying, started keeping promises, and attempted to correct the wrongs he has made along the way. One of the wrongs he attempts to correct is the lie he has told Princess Jasmine (Senzel Ahmady). The two characters' chemistry is obvious in "A Whole New World" during their magic carpet ride. The audience was in awe of the magic carpet ride, audible "oohs and aahs" could be heard in the theatre. It is even more endearing when the ride comes to an end and Princess Jasmine reveals she has known it was Aladdin the whole time.

The comedic relief characters Babkak (Jake Letts), Omar (Ben Chavez), and Kassim (Colt Prattes) played Aladdin's "street rat" friends. Their most notable moments were in "Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim" as they try to make their honest living by singing and dancing in the streets of Agrabah, as well as in "Somebody's Got Your Back" as they try to come to Aladdin's rescue after he has been imprisoned. Their plan is foiled when they are imprisoned. Their chemistry as friends is truly endearing and audible laughs were heard throughout the theatre when they were on stage.

The evil Jafar (Anand Nagraj) and his crony Iago (Aaron Choi) were incredibly entertaining. Nagraj's makeup and costume closely resembled the cartoon character that it was very clear who he was the second he entered the stage. Nagraj carried a certain air of evil in his presence on stage. Choi was funny as the dim-witted Iago was incredibly entertaining. I enjoyed the way they spun the character from a parrot into a person but kept the goofy personality the same.

Aladdin is incredibly entertaining for all audience members. The costumes are mesmerizing, the choreography is beautiful, and the music is reminiscent of every millennial's childhood. If you and your family are ready for "High Adventure", get your tickets at https://www.fscjartistseries.org/. Aladdin will be at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts now through January 15th!




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