The theaters of Broadway are filled with a constantly churning lineup of shows, each trying to outdo the other to become a “classic.” Few last very long, and those that do (unless they’re Disney’s other smash hit Lion King) find themselves near the bottom of the weekly box office grosses. The Knickerbocker team recently attended an evening performance of the 2014 hit Aladdin, and can confirm that the Disney show has staying power. Here’s why Disney’s Aladdin musical on Broadway is still one of the Great White Way’s highest earners.
Why Disney’s Aladdin Musical is Still a Must-See
The Broadway version isn’t exactly a whole new world compared to Disney’s 1993 original, but there are some key differences, including beautiful new songs that give characters a stronger back story. “Proud of Your Boy” is an immediate favorite, in which Aladdin sings to his deceased mother of his guilt over his street-rat lifestyle. The song was slated to appear in the film but ended up on the cutting room floor, and finally gets its moment here on stage. Another song not in the movie is “A Million Miles Away,” when Aladdin and Jasmine—in common clothes as a disguise—sing of their wishes to escape their day to day lives.
A Familiar Voice
If you recognize the voice of Jafar, that’s because it’s Jonathan Freeman, who played him in the film, singing on stage. Over the course of 25 years, Freeman has truly mastered the role. When he famously mispronounces Aladdin’s princely name as “Prince Abubu,” it’s a total flashback to 1993.
A Committed Cast
Unlike many Broadway shows, where headliners join a show only to stay for a few months, the cast of Aladdin has proved remarkably stable. Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed have played Aladdin and Jasmine perfectly since the musical’s opening in 2014, as have Clifton Davis (the amiable Sultan) and Don Darryl Rivera (Iago, no longer a parrot in form). And The Knick team was also lucky to see James Monroe Iglehart as the Genie. He, too, has been with the show since 2014 but just announced his planned departure. Where to next for the Genie? That show called Hamilton…
The Magic is Realer in Person
Some fantastical aspects of the movie don’t make it into the movie (three human friends replace Abu the monkey, for example). But the iconic “A Whole New World” scene is as magical as ever, with Jasmine and Aladdin vaulting across the sky on a magic carpet. It’s an unbelievable site, with indescribable feelings. Thankfully, it’s well worth the ticket price, too.
To see Disney’s Aladdin musical on Broadway, ask the Knick’s concierge to arrange tickets. Visitors can also visit St. Cloud for rooftop drinks atop Times Square before or after the show.