Monday, March 24, 2014

How did reviewers like 'Aladdin' on Broadway?

It's a whole new world for "Aladdin," which opened on Broadway last week to warm, if not adoring, reviews.
Adam Jacobs gets top billing as Aladdin, but the reviews agree that James Monroe Inglehart steals the show as Genie -- much as Robin Williams did in the 1992 movie.

The show was directed and choreographed by Casey Nickolaw, who also choreographed and co-directed "The Book of Mormon." Chad Beguelin wrote the book and provided additional lyrics for the show, which retains the familiar songs from Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.

Reviews may not make a whole lot of difference to this show, which could live or die on Disney fans' warm feelings for the movie. But just in case, here's a roundup of reviews:

The New York Times: "This latest musical adapted from one of Disney’s popular movies ... defied my dour expectations. ... 'Aladdin' has an infectious and only mildly syrupy spirit. Not to mention enough baubles, bangles and beading to keep a whole season of 'RuPaul’s Drag Race' contestants in runway attire."

The Wall Street Journal: "It's not nearly as good as the movie, but it does have a terrific star, super-duper sets and sensational special effects."

Associated Press: "James Monroe Iglehart is just so magically delicious as the guy in the lamp that the show sometimes feels like its holding its breath until he reappears."

The Hollywood Reporter: "While it doesn't rival the imagination or innovation of 'The Lion King,' the show's ebullient comic spirit should make it a popular hit."

Variety: "The magic carpet ride is magical. The Cave of Wonders is wonderful." But, the show "doesn't do justice to the movie, or to the spirit of the late Howard Ashman."

Newsday: "The news in this 'Aladdin' is James Monroe Iglehart's Genie, here also the emcee, who has the unpredictable style of a big-band crooner filled with unlimited infusions of helium. The other news is the show's return to the original, less action-driven concept that composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman created before Ashman died in 1991."
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