Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursdays with Mel... Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular

The Hypernion Theater Marquee
The animated classic Aladdin was originally released during my senior year of high school. I made my teenage friends go with me to see that movie... three times! What can I say? I've always been a Disney-girl.

So it was a delight to see, nestled in the Hollywood Studios Backlot of Disney's California Adventure, was Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. I knew instantly, I wanted to see it. But how? It didn't look promising.

Strike one: kids are at the age when they want rides and engaging attractions. Broadway-style musical theater - not-so-much. 

Strike two: My daughter had already pooped out for the day. She and my husband were back at the hotel so she could relax and splash at the pool. How could I convince my sons to go see a princess musical.

Before I struck out, just like the Grinch, I though up a lie, and I thought it up quick. It was just a little lie. I told them, "Ya know, there is a princess, but she isn't really the focus of the show. It's going to be mostly about Aladdin and how the Genie grants his three wishes. Sure there's a little bit of princess-stuff, but it won't be the focus of the show."

Lucky for me, my little "lie" turned out to be the truth. The main "princess" moment came during a song, written especially for this musical called "To Be Free." My son turned to me and said, "There is a little bit of princess in this show, huh?" That was the only time he did so.

The rest of the show was non stop musical fun and mayhem. The Genie steals the show with current pop culture references and wit. And refreshingly, this "Genie" is a real character in his own right, not just an imitation of Robin Williams (though the gusto and heart Williams brought to the role is certainly evident).

At the end of the show, my boys were quoting one-liners and laughing together about how the plot line differs from the movie. Though, as the Genie points out, it does end just like it does on the DVD. The only plot variation was a bit curious - SMALL SPOILER - Abu is not in the show at all. Iago is in the show, and they even made sure that Magic Carpet was included. But no Abu. Honestly, I didn't really miss the little guy. The show is so full of rich characters and heart as is.

Aladdin on Broadway:

Perhaps that is why Aladdin is making his big Broadway debut this summer. With a true love for semi-colonated (I just made that word up) titles, it is called Aladdin: A New Stage Musical. It will premier this summer at the 5th Avenue Theater. Check out their site for details.

Aladdin on the high seas:

Aladdin Central, an online community devoted to out favorite Street Rat, has posted that the newest addition to the Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Fantasy (set to sail in 2012) will also offer their own version of Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular.

So three cheers for Aladdin. After 20 years, it is nice to see the Street Rat turned Prince finally get the celebration he deserves... and by they way. I give this musical two thumbs WAY up! Sassy, fun and my boys LOVED it!

Note from Mel: Hey all, I am volunteering this week at my son's school during the End of Grade Exams. Since I won't have access to a computer, I'd love it if y'all could help me tweet today's blog. The link is over on the right hand side of the page. Thanks so much. It is hard to believe summer is already so close. Thanks for stopping by each Thursday. See you next week!

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