written by David Steffen
Aladdin is a play based on a 1992 Disney cartoon movie of the same name. The play premiered in Seattle in 2011, and went to Broadway in 2014.
The story takes place in the fictional Arabic city of Agrabah. The title character Aladdin is a young man, an orphan who has to steal to survive. One day in the marketplace he meets a young woman and he falls for her, but then they are caught by the city guards and the woman reveals herself to be the princess of Agrabah as Aladdin is hauled away to the dungeons. Aladdin is pulled from the dungeons by Jafar, the sultan’s advisor, because a prophecy stated that Aladdin was the “diamond in the rough” the only one that could retrieve the wish-granting genie’s lamp from the Cave of Wonders. Aladdin goes and succeeds in finding the lamp, and is trapped in the cave but becomes the master of the Genie.
The play is based quite closely on the original movie, so if you like the original you’ll probably like this one as well–many familiar songs, plus a few songs that were written for the original but cut before final production of the movie (you might have heard them if you have an Aladdin DVD or Blu Ray with special features on it), and a few new ones as well.
There are some changes from the movie, most often for difficulty of production. There is no Abu, there is no Rajah, presumably because it would be hard to produce them in a compelling way in live theater. There is a Carpet, but it’s just a vehicle, not a character. There is an Iago, but he’s a human, not a parrot. Aladdin has a trio of friends he lives with on the streets–those friends presented some of the best new material, especially the song “High Adventure” which was a lot of fun (though that song and the play as a whole could use some swordfight choreography work.
If you like the movie, you’ll probably like the familiarity and new things about the show. If you haven’t seen the movie, but you like fun and fast-paced musicals, give it a try!