Review: DISNEY'S ALADDIN at Broadway San Diego

Playing through April 7th at Broadway San Diego

By: Apr. 04, 2024
Review: DISNEY'S ALADDIN at Broadway San Diego
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 “Aladdin” now playing through April 7th at the Civic Theatre through Broadway San Diego invites you to enjoy their Arabian night of magic, music, and magic carpets.

“Welcome to the fabled city of Agrabah. City of flying carpets, soaring heroes, famous love ballads, and more glitz and glamour than any other fictional city in the world.”

At the top, the Genie (Marcus M. Martin) welcomes and invites the audience on an adventure and before you know it the stage is filled with color, swirling dancers, flowing fabrics, and Aladdin (Adi Roy), along with his friends Babkak (Jake Letts), Omar (Nathan Levy), and Kassim (Colt Prattes).  

Review: DISNEY'S ALADDIN at Broadway San Diego

The three of them are looking for food, or maybe some money, but Aladdin instead finds the headstrong Princess Jasmine (Senzel Ahmady) who has run away from the palace to experience life.  Her father the Dultan (Sorab Wadia) is trying to get her married, and the royal vizier Jafar (Anand Nagraj) and his sidekick Iago (Aaron Choi) are looking to take over Agrabah itself. It’s the classic movie, with a few additions (created for the movie originally) added in.

Review: DISNEY'S ALADDIN at Broadway San Diego

Martin as the Genie brings energy and charm to the role, with one-liners, Disney puns and references, and talking directly to the audience. It’s a difficult role without trying to compare to the iconic Robin Williams in the movie, but Martin capably makes the role his own.   His “Friend Like Me”  is not to be beaten and has people standing at the end, while his second act “Prince Ali” number is equally elaborate with props and costume changes.

Roy as Aladdin is charming and sweetly dreams of a better life to make his parents proud "Proud of Your Boy”.  His friends Babkak (Jake Letts), Omar (Nathan Levy), and Kassim (Colt Prattes) add a nice comedic touch, especially in their second act number “High Adventure” which has a wonderful feel for classic adventure movies.

Ahmandy is fiercely independent as Jasmine, and has a lovely voice though at times it was hard to hear her. 

Review: DISNEY'S ALADDIN at Broadway San Diego

Nagraj as Jafar is wonderfully cartoonish and sinister as the villain Jafar.  His voice is rich and deep, and he accents it with dramatic use of his cape.  Choi as Iago is a bright complement to Jafar’s darkness as the colorfully attired and cheerfully supportive evil henchman.

Review: DISNEY'S ALADDIN at Broadway San Diego

The score by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin includes classics like “A Whole New World” along with new numbers like ‘These Palace Walls.”  The orchestra led by James Dodgson brings the music to life with lots of energy and the big band influences of the music as especially enjoyable in this production.

The show is full of spectacle, glitz, glamour, and spectacle - it’s a Disney show after all and they know the audience wants this to be full of Disney and Genie magic. 

The costumes by Gregg Barnes are gorgeous, full of color and movement - especially for the dancers in the marketplace.  I love the “A Chorus Line” nod in the gold costumes in the Cave of Wonders as well. The swirling mix of colors and textures, along with the glitter of the jewels and the makeup by Milagros Medina-Cerdeira are set perfectly within the beautiful lighting design by Natasha Katz.  They deliver the setting expected from the animated classic. 

Review: DISNEY'S ALADDIN at Broadway San Diego

The choreography by Casey Nicholaw (who is also the director) is high energy, fun, and feels like a theme park come to life - which is perfectly appropriate for this show.

The scenic design by Bob Crowley is also lovely, especially the palace which provides a wonderful lace-like texture for the opulent palace walls.  The Cave of Wonders is full of gold and glitter, though the rest of the sets felt a little less built out than the tour came through before.

The Genie’s magic and that flying carpet are all still there (thanks to help from illusionists Jim Steinmeyer and Rob Lake, and special effects by Jeremy Chernick).  Though like the sets this feels like a bit of a step down in some cases, with so much fog it obscures the carpet in a way that it’s hard to make out that it’s flying without any aid.  The carpet also didn’t come out at the end in full lighting like the last tour, which makes it feel slightly less magical than before.

Those slight quibbles aside “Aladdin” delivers a magical evening that the entire family will enjoy.

How To Get Tickets

“Aladdin” is playing at the Civic Theatre through Broadway San Diego through April 7th.  For ticket and show time information go to www.broadwaysd.com 


Photo credit:  Disney's Aladdin - Photos by Deen Van Meer. © Disney




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