Aladdin at the Fox, where better to see this Disney-fied stage incantation of that vaguely middle eastern cartoon turned musical than at the Fabulous Fox, what with its faux Siamese Byzantine architectural motif. Turn around and even the walls have the image of the villain Jafar staring back at you. Look out! Never has the combination of venue and performance been better matched. Faux décor meets fake Arabian Nights. Still, something magical occurred on stage. This is easily the best production in our going on three-year tenure at the Fox, rivaled only by that American history lesson, Hamilton.
Aladdin has everything. It has production values out the wazoo. It has so many dance numbers that the cast must have trained first at Broadway boot camp. I got worn out just watching them dance and dance and dance. Then there are the witty asides, but most of all there is the genie. Every musical needs such a genie.
The gallery above is of show posters for Aladdin. They appeared in display cases, in front of the theater. Reflections off of the glass had to be lived with.
The two big production numbers, at least for me, were a “Friend Like Me,” in which Aladdin is introduced to the genie. In the movie Robin Williams did his schtick. Here we have an equally inventive send up to American pop culture that features references to Oprah, Let’s Make a Deal and Chorus Line. just to name a few. Who could resist gold lamé dancers sprouting fezzes instead of top hats? This song closed out the first act and in my opinion was the high point of the show. The other song I loved was “A Whole New World”, especially with its magic carpet ride. I couldn’t see any mechanism, even with binoculars.
On the way out, we trailed a mother, with her small daughter. I asked the girl, which did she liked better, the movie or the musical. She was undecided. So, maybe I’m being too effusive in my praise of this show? I’m way sure that I’ve seen more musicals than she has. Yet, I’m sure she has seen the movie more often than I have. I’d go see the musical again. I’m not so sure about the movie.