-Genie [Act I, Arabian Nights]
I know I said earlier that I like my musicals serious and devoid of dancing, but I uh, revoke that statement. I still don't like endless dance numbers (*cough*cats*cough*), but if the rest of the musical is good, then it'll be worth putting up with dancing.
So anyhoo, there's a bit changed from the movie, you know, to make it easier to tell the story on stage. Aladdin has three useless (but funny) friends called Babkak, Omar, and Kassim, instead of his monkey Abu. I saw the Prince Ali clip on the internet, and I love the way they did Genie. I was a little afraid they'd try to paint the actor blue, but I was pleasantly surprised there.
Aladdin- Adam Jacobs
Genie- James Monroe Iglehart
Jasmine- Courtney Reed
Jafar- Jonathan Freeman
The Sultan- Clifton Davis
Iago- Don Darryl Rivera
Babkak- Brian Gonzales
Omar- Jonathan Schwartz
Kassim- Brandon O'Neil
The added songs are actually really good. I mean, they could have sounded like filler, but they didn't. I especially like Proud of Your Boy, These Palace Walls, and Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim. Most of the original songs were extended, too. Especially Friend Like Me. That's the only song that I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, it's very funny, and filled with energy. Maybe too much energy though, because the whole thing feels a little disjointed and frenzied. So when it comes to that song, I like the movie version a little better.
A Whole New World on the other hand; I was never seriously attached to that song, but this version made me like so much more! The instrumentals are gorgeous (my sister says that the into sounds like On My Own from Les Miserables), and the actors for Aladdin and Jasmine are terrific!
Oh, and Genie. He is awesome. His actor had a great voice, great acting, and energy to spare. I heard that James Monroe Iglehart actually won an award for his performance, too!
I don't want to oversell this, but Aladdin is a very funny musical. There are a few songs that are more on the serious side (Proud of Your Boy, in a slightly jarring way. What happened to Aladdin's parents that made him idolize them and act all guilty? Poor guy!), but overall it's hilarious! Of course, everyone has a different sense of humor, so maybe it's just me. ;D
The Verdict: B+
I'm hovering around B+ and A-. I really like it, despite the fact that it's probably not all that deep, and the characters aren't the most developed or whatever. But hey, it makes me laugh, which keeps me from pitying myself when things go wrong, so maybe that's why I don't mind the bits that are kind of cheesy. :)
Favorite Song: Prince Ali! :D
Runners Up: A Whole New World, One Jump Ahead, & Arabian Nights. But I liked all the songs!