Friday, 22 July 2011

A New FANTASTIC Point of View

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin and Courtney Reed as Jasmine, Photo by Chris Bennion

Maybe I'm being a bit premature with the title of this post (no reviews have come out yet), but pretty much everything said about this show so far has been positive, so I'm certain the reviews will be the same.

I'll update this post as the reviews come in, but before that make sure you check out the new video posted by King 5 where Adam Jacobs (Aladdin), Courtney Reed (Jasmine) and James Monroe Iglehart (Genie) talk about the show and we're treated to some amazing footage which includes "Friend Like Me" and "High Adventure"!  I can't put into words how awesome this show looks and how much I wish I was in Seattle right now!  So stop reading this and go watch it!!!!!

1st Update - Still no reviews but a very short interview with none other than Alan Menken has been posted by Talkin' Broadway, so make sure you check that out as the Disney Legend talks about Aladdin: The New Stage Musical and what he has planned for the future (including one show that should make Don Darryl Rivera very happy!)

2nd Update - No reviews yet (time difference sucks!) but Seattle Times have posted a beautiful article about Alan Menken's visit to Seattle Children's Hospital and 5th Avenue have posted another edition of The JMI Show on their youtube page where our favourite Genie interviews Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Brandon O'Neill and his old friend Brian Gonzales!

3rd Update - Well the first reviews are in and they run the full range from positive to negative, which is pretty standard for a Disney production!  Most seem to agree that the show is good, but has areas where improvements could be made.  It seems Aladdin: The New Stage Musical is, like its title character, a diamond in the rough (at least in the eyes of the critics).

Seattle Times - World Premiere Aladdin Lands at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre
Variety - Disney's Aladdin: The New Stage Musical
Broadway World - Disney's Aladdin at 5th Avenue Theatre - Very Disney Park
The Broadway Critic - Aladdin @ 5th Avenue Theatre (note this review is from 10th July preview, whilst changes were still being made to the show)
Examiner - Aladdin Stage Show Offers "Unbelievable Sights" and "Indescribable Feelings" (note this review is from 16th July preview whilst changes were still being made to the show)

It's midnight now, so I'm off to bed!  Maybe there will be more reviews in the morning.

I'm really not worried by the reviews, pretty much every Disney show (bar maybe The Lion King) received mixed reviews and most of them went on to long and successful runs.  Beauty and the Beast ran for 13 years on Broadway and still tours around the US and the world, Tarzan may not have been the success Disney hoped for on Broadway but with some re-working it went on to huge success in Europe (and recently started regional productions in the US I believe!), Mary Poppins is still going strong on Broadway and whilst The Little Mermaid closed way before it should have (that show was criminally under rated) it's now being re-worked (like Tarzan) for a European release and will hopefully start it's long promised US Tour in the near future.  And it's important to keep in mind that Aladdin: The New Stage Musical had only a fraction of the budget of those shows!

4th Update - Two more reviews, both of which are largely positive!

Seattle's Child - A Parent's Review: Aladdin
MiceChat - MiceChatter Igrules visists Disney's Aladdin Show in Seattle (note this review is from 9th July preview, whilst changes were still being made to the show)

5th Update - Four more reviews which are all positive, including one from someone who says they hadn't seen the film before going to the show (which gives a nice new point of view) and a heartfelt post by Howard Ashman's sister Sarah from her site Part of His World.

Good Life Northwest - Aladdin Makes Magic at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre
My Life and Times - They're Playing Music While We're Fighting...
Unlikely Places - Aladdin at 5th Avenue Theatre
Part of His World - Proud of Your Boy

I can't think of a better review to end on.

6th Update - Hold on to your turbans folks because we're not done yet!  One last review just for good measure;

just sayin'... - Don't You Dare Close Your Eyes

A nice positive review to end on!  But if any more appear then I'll be sure to do another update!


  1. Did you see this review?

  2. I hadn't! Thank you so much for bringing that to my attention, it's one of the best reviews I've seen for the show!

  3. You bet.

    We took it in last night and while many of the criticisms in the tepid reviews are warranted, this is still definitely a must see. I loved the inclusion of the 3 sidekicks and their numbers were by far the best of the show. Genie's "Friend Like Me" was very good, too (biggest of all the numbers) and "A Whole New World" was the worst number.

    Additionally, after seeing the DCA condensed production and loving it I was worried this longer version may seem to drag on. The opposite in fact was the case. The 2nd act wound down far too quick and could have used another 15-minutes.

    We recently saw Mary Poppins while it was in town and though it was technically far superior in every aspect I enjoyed "Aladdin" far more. Hope to take in "Aladdin" again before the end of the run. Would enjoy seeing what those changes will be.

    It's interesting to read the reviewers talk as if this is not destined for Broadway or that it is not Disney's/5th AVE's hope. The theater's managing director addressed the audience prior to curtains and made it very clear that Broadway was indeed the goal and requested our input on how to improve the production to attain that. If I was a producer I would snatch it up in a heartbeat in order to have a hand in the changes to be made. The script and numbers have a lot of potential - just needs a larger venue and budget to make it a bigger production. The biggest fix needed is "A Whole New World". Do that, change up some lines, recast Jasmine, extend it 15 minutes and it'll be a hit.

  4. Glad to hear you liked Howard Ashman's cut songs for Aladdin's friends! I loved the demos and wish I could see (or even just hear) them brought to life!

    A Whole New World seems to be dividing reviewers more than anything! Some love the simplicity of the staging, others hate it. The picture released looks beautiful, so that's all I can really go on.

    The Broadway issue is interesting. Officially the show was commissioned as a pilot production so Disney could license the show to regional and amateur groups and Broadway wasn't being considered. In some interviews/comments the creative team follow that party line, but other times they make comments that imply the show's future depends on what happens in Seattle and Broadway could be a possibility. Since the Seattle run finishes at the end of this month, hopefully we'll get confirmation about the show's future before the end of the year.

    If/when the show comes to Broadway I really hope they keep as much of this cast as possible. Fair enough I've not seen the show so I can't judge properly, but in all the previews released by 5th Avenue I've loved all the cast and thought Courtney was fantastic singing "Call Me a Princess" and "A Whole New World" on the Spotlight Night.