Disney’s Aladdin Returns by Popular Demand to Los Angeles!
Reviewed by: Joy Parris – As I stepped into the historic Pantages Theatre, I could feel the anticipation in the air, and it was clear that the audience was ready for a magical journey. Disney’s Aladdin, brought to life on the stage, promised to deliver an enchanting experience, and it did not disappoint.
From the moment the curtains rose, the stage design transported the audience to the bustling streets of Agrabah, with its intricate details and vibrant colors. The cast was nothing short of outstanding. The titular character, Aladdin, played by a charismatic and talented actor (Adi Roy), embodied the character’s charm and wit perfectly. Princess Jasmine (Senzel Ahmady) radiated strength and determination, portrayed beautifully throughout the show. But it was the Genie(Marcus M. Martin), who truly stole the show.
From the moment he bursts onto the stage, he grabs the audience’s attention and doesn’t let go. His comedic timing, energy, and vocal prowess were remarkable, and he had the audience in stitches with his one-liners and pop culture references. Martin’s performance as the Genie is a true tour de force, leaving a lasting impression long after the final curtain call.
Adi Roy’s portrayal of Aladdin in the production of Disney’s Aladdin is nothing short of enchanting. From the moment he graces the stage, it becomes clear that he is the perfect choice to bring this beloved character to life, and his performance adds depth and charisma to the production.
Roy embodies the essence of Aladdin with an infectious charm and charisma. His portrayal captures the character’s street-smart wit, earnestness, and underlying kindness. As the “diamond in the rough” from Agrabah’s streets, Roy’s Aladdin is relatable and endearing, instantly forging a connection with the audience.
Vocally, Adi Roy is a standout. His rendition of Aladdin’s songs, including the iconic “One Jump Ahead” and the emotionally charged “Proud of Your Boy” (a song from the original film’s cutting room floor), are delivered with skill and emotional depth. Roy’s singing is not only technically impressive but also emotionally resonant, allowing the audience to empathize with Aladdin’s dreams and aspirations.
The music was, of course, a highlight. The classic songs we all know and love were given new life on the stage, and the choreography was both visually stunning and emotionally captivating. “A Whole New World” brought tears to the eyes of many, and “Friend Like Me” was a showstopper, complete with dazzling costumes and a parade of dancers.
The costume design was a feast for the eyes. The intricate and colorful outfits transported us to the exotic world of Agrabah, and the quick costume changes were executed flawlessly. Each character’s costume reflected their personality and added depth to their portrayal.
One of the aspects that truly made Disney’s Aladdin at the Pantages special was the sense of humor. The script was filled with witty jokes and modern references that resonated with both kids and adults—the Genie’s fourth-wall-breaking moments added an extra layer of engagement, making the audience feel like they were in on the magic.
Anand Nagraj’s portrayal of Jafar and Aaron Choi’s performance as Iago are nothing short of villainous brilliance. These two actors bring a wickedly entertaining dynamic to the show, making them standout villains in the world of musical theater.
Anand Nagraj’s Jafar is a commanding presence from the moment he steps onto the stage. His deep, authoritative voice and imposing stage presence capture the essence of Jafar’s power-hungry character perfectly. Nagraj’s portrayal is marked by a cunning intelligence that makes Jafar a formidable adversary for Aladdin and the audience alike. His sinister plotting and manipulation are delivered with a delightful malevolence that keeps the audience engaged and on the edge of their seats.
One of the highlights of Nagraj’s performance is his ability to balance Jafar’s darkness with a touch of humor. His witty one-liners and sly expressions add layers to the character, making him both a captivating antagonist and an entertaining presence on stage.
Opposite Nagraj, Aaron Choi’s Iago is a comedic gem. Choi’s portrayal of the conniving parrot is filled with physical humor, impeccable timing, and a distinctive squawking voice that is both amusing and endearing. Iago’s constant scheming and cheeky one-liners provide a perfect foil to Jafar’s seriousness, creating a dynamic duo of villainy.
Choi’s comedic talent shines in the role, and his interactions with Jafar are a highlight of the show. Their banter and comedic exchanges provide moments of levity in an otherwise dark narrative, and their chemistry adds depth to their villainous partnership.
Moreover, the costuming and makeup for both characters are exceptional. Jafar’s imposing attire and sinister headdress convey his status and malevolence, while Iago’s colorful plumage and expressive facial features make him a memorable and lovable antagonist. Anand Nagraj as Jafar and Aaron Choi deliver captivating performances that embody the essence of classic Disney villains.
My favorite scene was the magic carpet ride with Aladdin and Jasmine which had everyone in awe. Visually, it is a feast for the eyes. The starlit backdrop and the illusion of a floating carpet transport the audience to a world of enchantment It is a breathtaking spectacle that encapsulates the true essence of romance and wonder. Their chemistry takes flight, and their performance during this iconic scene is nothing short of enchanting. For the children, seeing this iconic moment come to life on stage was a dream come true, and their joy and enthusiasm were palpable.
The chemistry between Adi Roy as Aladdin and Senzel Ahmady as Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin is nothing short of enchanting. Their on-stage connection is a vital ingredient that elevates the entire production, adding depth, authenticity, and a palpable sense of romance to their portrayal of these iconic characters.
From the moment they share the stage, Adi Roy and Senzel Ahmady’s chemistry is apparent. Their interactions are filled with genuine emotion and mutual respect, making their characters’ budding romance not only believable but also profoundly engaging for the audience.
One of the most captivating aspects of their chemistry is the way they complement each other. Adi Roy’s portrayal of Aladdin as a charming, street-smart dreamer finds its perfect counterpoint in Senzel Ahmady’s portrayal of Jasmine as a strong, independent princess who yearns for freedom. Their differences make their connection all the more compelling, and their chemistry is rooted in the way they challenge and inspire each other.
Vocally, their duets are nothing short of magical. “A Whole New World,” one of Disney’s most beloved songs, is a testament to their vocal compatibility. Their voices harmonize beautifully, creating a harmonious and emotional resonance that sweeps the audience off their feet during this iconic moment.
But it’s not just the musical numbers that showcase their chemistry. Their exchanges in dialogue scenes are filled with warmth, playfulness, and an undeniable spark. Their banter is not only entertaining but also reveals the growing affection between their characters.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of their chemistry is the way they make the story feel fresh and relevant. Their portrayal of Aladdin and Jasmine as a partnership based on equality and shared dreams reflects the evolving role of Disney princesses and heroes. Their chemistry serves as a testament to the idea that love can be built on mutual respect, understanding, and support.
As the final notes of “A Whole New World” echoed through the theater, the standing ovation that followed was well-deserved. Disney’s Aladdin at the Pantages was a breathtaking and unforgettable experience. It successfully captured the essence of the beloved animated film while adding its unique charm and energy. Whether you’re a lifelong fan of Aladdin or experiencing this tale for the first time, this musical is a must-see for anyone who loves magic, romance, and laughter. Disney truly made the streets of Agrabah come alive, and I left the theater with a heart full of joy and a newfound appreciation for the magic of live theater..
Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, Aladdin features music by Tony Award and eight-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by two-time Oscar winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony Award and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (Evita, Aida) and six-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (The Prom, The Wedding Singer), with a book by Beguelin, and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).
Disney’s Aladdin, the hit Broadway musical comedy, will play a 2-week return engagement at Hollywood Pantages Theatre which started on September 12, 2023, with performances playing through Saturday, September 23, 2023. It will be at Costa Mesa – Segerstrom Center for the Arts from May 7-12, 2024
Disney’s Aladdin is IMMEDIATELY available as a Season Add-on for theatergoers who purchase Broadway in Hollywood’s all-new 2023-24 Season – now on sale at www.BroadwayInHollywood.com/SeasonPackages. Tickets for groups of 10 or more will go on sale next week on Tuesday, April 11, 2023.
Visit www.BroadwayInHollywood.com/Groups for more information. Individual tickets for Aladdin will go on sale to the general public at a later date yet to be announced.