Review: DISNEY'S ALADDIN at The Paramount Theatre

The Genie comes back to Seattle.

By: Apr. 25, 2024
Review: DISNEY'S ALADDIN at The Paramount Theatre
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If there’s one thing, Dear Readers, that Disney is good at, it’s spectacle.  But when you take that spectacle and combine it with one of their most musically magical properties such as “Aladdin”, it should end up with theatrical gold for the whole family.  When the genie first poked his head from the lamp on stage back in 2011, I’ll admit it was less than magical.  But, by the time it went to Broadway it grew by leaps and bounds.  And even now, this tour currently playing at the Paramount, they seem to have updated some of their Disney Imagineering to make the experience even more magical and when combined with a killer cast, just hold on for a good time.

It's basically the same story from the 1992 animated film.  Street wise Aladdin (Adi Roy) is just trying to survive the mean streets of Agrabah.  Meanwhile at the palace, the Sultan (Sorab Wadia) is determined to find a suitor for his daughter, Princess Jasmine (Senzel Ahmady), but none of them are quite good enough for this free-spirited woman.  If that weren’t bad enough, the Sultan’s royal advisor, the evil Jafar (Anand Nagraj) and his toady Iago (Aaron Choi) are hatching plans to take over Agrabah and have found tales of a lamp with a magic Genie (Marcus M. Martin) inside that could grant them their nefarious wishes. But it turns out they need Aladdin, the diamond in the rough, to retrieve it for them.  When the plans go awry and Aladdin rubs the lamp, he becomes the master of the lamp and of the Genie, and thus the hilarious antics ensue.

Review: DISNEY'S ALADDIN at The Paramount Theatre
Jake Letts, Ben Chavez, Adi Roy,
and Colt Prattes in Aladdin Tour.
Photo by Deen Van Meer (c) Disney

There are some differences from the film.  Here Aladdin is not aided by his wacky monkey Abu, but instead he has his buddies, fellow adorable thieves Babkak, Omar, and Kassim (Jake Letts, Nathen Levy, and Colt Prattes).  And Iago is no parrot, but just an over-the-top minion.  Plus, we have a few more songs than the movie.  Some wonderful, such as the touching “Proud of Your Boy”.  But then, that was also written by the amazing Howard Ashman, just not used in the movie.  And others with lyrics by Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin that are passable.  But nothing compares to the ones from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman before Ashman’s passing. (sigh)

The cast is superb.  I’m still not a fan of how they use Jafar and Iago as mugging comic relief but then I am not the target audience for them, that would be the kiddies.  But the rest are right up my ally.  Insanely talented and athletic ensemble singers and dancers.  As Genie says early on about Agrabah, “everyone has a gym membership”, and it shows.  Speaking of Genie, Martin is delightful as Al’s magical buddy.  I just wish I could have heard his lyrics more as he’s mostly in the big group numbers and those suffered from a bad sound mix in the theater.  Hopefully they can iron that out.  Nevertheless, he had the audience in the palm of his hand.

Review: DISNEY'S ALADDIN at The Paramount Theatre
Marcus M Martin as Genie
and Company in Aladdin Tour.
Photo by Deen Van Meer Disney (c)

As the trio of merry malcontents Letts, Levy, and Prattes couldn’t be more fun.  Great singers and dancers all, but also super in sync with each other resulting in some wonderful chemistry and comedic timing.  I could watch a show with just these guys.  And Ahmady as the lovely and head strong Jasmine was great.  I just feel bad that, apart from “A Whole New World”, she doesn’t get any of the really good songs. 

But the show is called Aladdin, so we need to discuss Adi Roy.  I don’t know if you could find a better lead for this show.  First off, yeah, dreamy as all get out.  But also, just really nailed the character, making him instantly likable and fun, and making us care about his journey.  Plus, a killer voice, crystal clear and rich and delivering my new favorite version of “Proud of Your Boy”.  I guess it’s a small wonder that with this stellar performance in the tour, Roy will be taking over the role on Broadway this summer.  Well deserved!

It's wonderful to see how much this show has grown over the years and has become a super solid show with something for everyone.  And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give “Disney’s Aladdin” a magical YAY. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a lot of fun.

“Disney’s Aladdin” performs at the Paramount Theatre through April 28th.  For tickets or information visit Seattle Theatre Group online at www.stgpresents.org.



Comments

Mgdziak on 4/26/2024

My wife and I attended the matinee on the 25th. What an amazing performance. I can attest for the review. Delightful, engaging, powerful and entertaining.  Great performance 




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