05.17.2019

Aladdin Soars In Sacramento: A Theatre Review

Aladdin Soars In Sacramento: A Theatre Review

By Michael P Coleman

Broadway Sacramento closes their season out with Disney’s Aladdin, playing the Community Center Theater through Sunday, June 2.

The touring production is based on centuries-old folktales and Disney’s beloved 1992 animated feature.  It tells the story of a boy who has taken some of life’s knocks, but insists that he has a lot more to offer.

If you’ve seen the hand-drawn classic, you know that this Aladdin cast has some big babouches to fill.  And they have done it.  Astonishingly, this Aladdin soars.

Clinton Greenspan and Kaenaonālani Kekoa are electric in the title role and that of “Jasmine” respectively.  From that first clandestine glance, I am sure you could feel their chemistry from the cheap seats.  If the two actors aren’t dating, they should be…and they deserve Tony Awards.

Other standouts included Jonathan Weir as “Jafar,” Jerald Vincent as “Sulton,” and the show’s effects in general.  I’ll be wondering for awhile about how illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer pulled off a couple of those on-stage costume changes, especially Jafar’s near the end of the show. 

If you know the story, you may be wondering about that magic carpet ride.  Aladdin and Jasmine take flight over that stage, and I still can’t figure out how they did it.  And the duo nailed the musical’s Grammy and Academy Award-winning duet, “A Whole New World.”

Aladdin’s bewitching score is crisply performed by the production’s world-class orchestra.  The live show adds a few songs to the cherished tunes from the animated feature, most notably the poignant “Proud Of Your Boy,” which was cut from the film before it was released.  The touring production also does a a superb job of updating the story’s pop culture references.  Keep an eye and ear out for shout-outs to other Disney classics.

Now, it’s time to address the two elephants in the room.  They must have darted out of that Prince Ali parade while we weren’t looking, ’cause they are standing here, staring us in the face. 

Disney’s Aladdin would have gone up in a puff of blue smoke if the show’s genie didn’t deliver an over-the-top, manic performance, a la Robin Williams’ in the animated film.  Broadway veteran Major Attaway did, over and over again. His rendition of “Friend Like Me” brought the house down.  The Community Center Theatre’s near-capacity crowd didn’t want Attaway to leave the stage.

Aladdin 250The other room-filling pachyderm?  Aladdin’s entire ensemble is gorgeous. All genders, across the board, soup to nuts...stunning. Don’t judge me!  Those single digit body fat folks wouldn’t be prancing around onstage so scantily clad if they didn’t want us to notice.   When I got a good glimpse of Greenspan’s glistening abs, I put my white chocolate macadamia nut cookie down.  His six pack deserves its own listing in the cast credits.

Like a bauble found in a Cave Of Wonders, Broadway Sacramento is one of our region’s shiniest jewels, and they’ve done it again with Disney’s Aladdin.  I’m streaming “Proud Of Your Boy” from the cast recording now.  And I just might call my mom. 

Tickets for Disney’s Aladdin start at $40 and are available at the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office, 1419 H Street, Sacramento, or by calling 916-557-1999. They are also available at the Community Center Theater Box Office, 1301 L Street, Sacramento or by calling 916-808-5181, or online at BroadwaySacramento.com.  Orders for groups of 12 or more may be placed by calling 916-557-1198. 

For more information on Disney’s Aladdin, visit AladdinThe musical.com/tour, facebook.com/Aladdin and twitter.com/Aladdin.

Mike Coleman headshotonly nologo 300Click here to connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman, click here to check out his blog, or click here to follow him on Twitter.