“Friend Like Me,” Aladdin North American Tour. Photo by Deen van Meer.
By Rachel Street
Silver Creek High School, Class of 2019
Thursday night’s performance of the musical “Aladdin” was Disney magic in the best of ways. It brought me back to a place of wonder, similar to that of a young child. “Aladdin” was so much more than a fluff piece; it was a spectacle.
There were several additions made to the stage version of this well-known story from the film, but they all worked well. Much of this success comes from was aided by a clever book for the musical by Chad Beguelin. The fast-paced dialogue was witty and humorous, but did not override the necessary serious moments.
Scenic design used every inch of the stage, and contributed to several “wow” moments.
Bob Crowley’s scenic design used every inch of the stage, and contributed to several “wow” moments, specifically during the Cave-of-Wonders sequence. Each musical number pushed the story along masterfully, which is almost expected from a great writers like Alan Menken, Tim Rice and Howard Ashman, who died in 1991. The numbers added for the stage show gave more depth and warmth to beloved characters like Aladdin and Jasmine.
The most impressive part of the show, however, was the performances. The cast worked together wonderfully, and the chemistry between the actors added to the show’s ambiance.
In act one, Lissa deGuzman’s Jasmine struggled to find her footing. But by the end, she became the headstrong princess we expect her to be. Clinton Greenspan embodied the charm and charisma of Aladdin, but transitioned to seriousness with ease, particularly in act one’s song, “Proud of Your Boy,” a song that doesn’t appear in the film.
But the show’s star was Michael James Scott as Genie. Scott originated the role in Australia, and has played it in London and New York. His energy carried the show. During the show-stopping number “Friend Like Me,” he almost had the audience on its feet.
#Aladdin creates a bright spot at a time when the culture often finds itself divided. The pure joy exuding from the cast and audience brought a sense of unity to the show. And if I could rub Genie’s lamp and get three wishes, one of them would definitely be to see this show again.