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BWW Review: ALADDIN Brings a Whole New World to the Peace Center


BWW Review: ALADDIN Brings a Whole New World to the Peace Center

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing the national tour of ALADDIN, now playing at the Peace Center in Greenville, SC. The show was bright, amazingly colorful, filled with strong performances and some real theatre magic.

My fifteen year old daughter, Emma Shurley, also saw the show and was so impressed she wrote her own review.

I heartily concur with everything she wrote, and so decided to share her review with you.

"Prince Ali, fabulous he, Ali Ababwa" - and fabulous he was.

ALADDIN opened at the Peace Center last week and will run through the end of this week. The show, for those who have been living under some Disneyless rock, is about a street rat named Aladdin who falls in love with the Sultan's daughter, Jasmine. Through some stroke of luck, Aladdin comes in possession of a lamp and a Genie who gives him 3 wishes. With those 3 wishes, he is able to "become" a prince and put himself in a place to be able to marry Jasmine. This, of course, backfires and ends up falling apart before their eyes.

While there have been many adaptations of this show and story over the years, from the animated movie to the recent live-action movie, this was by far my favorite version. Jonah Ho'okano brings wonderful life and personality to the character of Aladdin. He brings both a youthfulness and maturity to the character which helps to bring Aladdin to life.

While he is running around the city, Aladdin is followed by his friends Omar (Ben Chavez), Kassim (Colt Prattes), and Babkak (Zach Bencal). Going into it, I can admit that I was skeptical of them and if they were going to be a good addition to the show - and boy was I wrong. They are such great characters that they could easily have their own show.

During their mischief, Aladdin runs into Jasmine (Annie Wallace) who at first glance was much like all the other princesses, in the sense that she is filled with an almost naive wonder and seemed to follow Aladdin without a second thought. As the show continues, however, Wallace shows Jasmine's strength, independence, and strong-willed ideas while still being a wide-eyed adventurous person who wants to see the world, which isn't an easy thing to do. The level of ease that she manages to show while playing such a character is amazing.

Two other characters who stood out and were shining stars were Iago and the Genie. Iago, who was played by Reggie De Leon, was one of the biggest sources of comedy in the show. He was such a perfect fit for the character and hysterically funny. He definitely brought a new life to the character that was perfect. And while Robin Williams' Genie was pure genius and Will Smith did an amazing job, I must admit that Korie Lee Blossey's Genie was my favorite that I've seen. He was so comically funny and lively that you were immediately attracted to his character and the light that he was on stage. Blossey shined so brightly (both in costume and character) that he almost didn't need a spotlight.

The entire cast was fantastic and you could go on and on for days talking about each individual person. One other thing that stood out was the genius of the magic carpet. You could see the show as many times as possible and still not be able to figure out how they did it. The sets were spectacular, especially the Cave of Wonders shining beautifully in glittering gold. Each person in the show had such a powerful singing voice that I was blown away. "Friend Like Me" and "Whole New World" were fantastic and truly magical.

Overall the show was an absolutely magical experience with an amazingly funny, talented, and all-star cast who brought the show to amazing new heights. It most definitely showed us a whole new world where you couldn't dare close your eyes for fear you would miss part of the magic that is ALADDIN.

ALADDIN continues through February 23 at the Peace Center in downtown Greenville, SC. For tickets and showtimes, call the box office at 864-467-3000 or visit

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