Sunday, 31 July 2011

So it goes Short and Sweet...

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

Well today the final curtain will fall on Disney Theatrical/5th Avenue's premier production of Aladdin: The New Stage Musical.  It's been an amazing run and audience reactions have been phenomenal.

I just want to wish the cast, crew and everyone at 5th Avenue the very best of luck for today's final shows, to say thank you for all the help and support you've given me, and most importantly of all to say thank you for bringing my favourite childhood film to life on stage.  My very best to you all for the future (a future that I sincerely hope includes a Broadway run for this show).

Edit - I just wanted to quickly update this post with some of the comments made by the cast on Twitter on their final day;

"Happy closing to the cast and crew of Aladdin! This has been an amazing experience and
you are some of the greatest folks we've had the pleasure to work with!" - 5th Avenue

"Congratulations on a fantastic run you guys! We will miss you all so much!" - 5th Avenue

"I have had so much fun in this show! The cast, the crew, the musicians Wow! Thank you for making this Disney Nerd's Dream come true!" - James Monroe Iglehart

"I have had a great time! We're gonna rock this place tonight!" - James Monroe Iglehart

"Closing day... And the audience is clapping along to "Friend Like Me" at the matinee!" - Courtney Reed

"The audience was clapping with me during Friend Like Me! Albeit off beat but hey its the thought that counts! Besides I got them back on!" - James Monroe Iglehart

"Final show... It hasn't even started and I'm already crying! I just love a happy ending! Thank you to all my dear Aladdin friends!" - Courtney Reed

"Final performance of ALADDIN in Seattle! I'm not ready to say goodbye to this wonderful cast or this town!" - Andrew Keenan-Bolger

"Closing night is always so bittersweet. Congratulations again to everybody on a fantastic run!" - 5th Avenue

"Going to miss Seattle & Aladdin but its hard to complain when I go back to my Broadway show on Tuesday! But Damn I'm gonna miss this!" - James Monroe Iglehart

"Gbye my Seattle home. Gbye M&D. And Gbye my Aladdin family. Thank you for my magic carpet ride! Alaska here I come!" - Courtney Reed

The Cast of Aladdin, Photo by 5th Avenue


  1. Yesterday, I went to watch the last matinee of Aladdin at the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle. The two friends who sat next to me watched Aladdin two weeks ago, sitting next to Alan Menken (by happenstance). They were very pleased to note the increased fun play with the prop camels at the beginning and were delighted with he addition of the Micky Mouse out of a hat Genie trick. We enjoyed the "Greek Chorus" method of moving the show along with extra humor.

    I was thrilled with the show and believe it is the best I have seen. My little boy (11) loved the show but he missed the monkey (please keep it that way)and thought the magic carpet needed to move or flap or something (fix it). All six of us thought Genie had stolen the show (how the hell did he outshine Robin Williams?), but we loved all of the characters.

    I am writing to you because I was really disappointed in the ending number. I think it had one really huge mistake and one smaller error. Here is what I want you to fix:

    First, the smaller error is that you should ditch the line that says this Aladdin is different from the previous version. It is nonplussing. Most of us already noticed and forgave that fact long before this point in the show. Those who haven't figured that out by now are not familiar with a previous version (even the Disney movie) or are too dumb to benefit from the "excuse us" line. Also, the mention that it is different (taken referring to the Disney movie) is an insult to the long line of Aladdin stories and shows before now. Of course it is different.

  2. The biggest mistake in the whole show is the anti climax where the Sultan "changes his mind" and Kassim calls him on it. Here is where you have an opportunity to fix the crappy plot twist rather than desecrate the genre in our faces. What I want you to do is use Iago thrown in a line about how he forged that part of the law, too, and then brush upon the nature of what a prince (or princess - for Disney marketing purposes) really is.

    The Sultan is the only one who can commit the heresy of pointing out that royal bloodlines just come from having an ancestor who was particularly successful at overpowering others and making it stick. The true nature of a prince or sultan who will rule is to learn from your mistakes and try to live up to good principles aimed at the long run.

    Early in the show, you could introduce the concept of a criminal and powerfully smelly uncle of Aladdin whom Aladdin has unfortunately emulated in his less savory behaviors. You already have the theme running (which I adore beyond all measure) of Aladdin trying to live up to ideals and his mother's dream for him. This plays in nicely off of this uncle influence.

    The "powerful" uncle could be proclaimed by Omar in the final climax scene when the Sultan thinks out loud about the source of royal bloodlines and the Sultan can seize upon the powerful uncle as the basis for declaring Aladdin, who is a prince because of what is inside, as worthy of the princess and the job of sultan.

    Somewhere in there, you probably need Kassim or Omar to say "whoa dude" to dispel the heavy philosophy stuff, then get back to the fairy tale ending business.

    One other suggestion I have for you is to create an eye-catching, but natural, gesture for Aladdin to use to say "trust me". The first time he should use it is in the first marketplace scene when he suggests something and his friends acquiesce as soon as he does the gesture.

    Of course, he should do the gesture during both "do you trust me" moments with the princess. The last and most useful time for the gesture, again without the words "trust me" is when the prince tricks Jafar into wishing himself a genie. Jasmine and/or one of the three side kicks can be protesting verbally and all with body language and then the magic gesture can shut the protest down.

    I hope these ideas are passed on to those taking the show on from Seattle to other places. It is a great show and I enjoyed it immensely.

  3. Hi Melissa,

    Sorry it's taken me a while to reply! Firstly, I'm really glad you got to see the show and that you enjoyed it so much (jealous!!).

    I'm currently doing my own letter to Disney (as I encouraged all fans to do a few posts back) to show support for the show and I will be certain to include a copy of what you have written (word for word) with my letter. One of the best things for any show is constructive criticism, especially from fans as they're the ones who want the show to do well. It's this type of feedback that Disney Theatrical needs.

    Whilst the show might be over (hopefully only for now) I've still got a few things I hope to be able to post in the near future, so I hope you'll stick around and enjoy the blog.