Monday, February 25, 2019

Broadway San Diego “Aladdin” Sprinkles Gold Dust On A Tried And True Legend.

The first national tour of “Aladdin”, with all the glitz Broadway and Las Vegas can muster, flies easily (on its magic carpet) into the Civic stage as effortlessly its Genie (Major Attaway) holds us in his grips the moment he’s let out of his lamp. (“Friend Like Me”)

Lissa de Guzman and Clinton Greenspan
And while the star is the wayward street urchin, Aladdin (Clinton Greenspan) who tries to woo princess Jasmine (the beautiful but kickass Lissa deGuzman) no one on the set entertains and holds us hostage as Attaway aka Genie does.

The 1992 Disney animated film of the same name is based on the Arabic folklore “One Thousand and One Nights” as it follows Aladdin’s trail finding the magic lamp and unleashing a bigger than life Genie to his elusive street games to his meeting the princess to his attempts to win her over to final success. 

Major Attaway as Genie

As the story goes Aladdin is broke and needs some kind of something to get money to live. Petty pick pocketing and stealing won’t do the trick. After he finds the lamp and releases Genie he gets three wishes. He is totally smitten with the Sultans daughter, meeting her by chance in the market square. He disguises himself as a wealthy prince hoping to impress the Sultan (Jerald Vincent) and his daughter and eventually ask for her hand in marriage.

Clinton Greenspan as Aladdin
Any resemblance to the film will have to be gleaned from the story and the songs with music by Alan Menkin, lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin and book by Chad Beguelin, not from the glitz seen from top to bottom and side to side with Bob Crowley scenic design, Ken Travis’ sound design, Gregg Barns costumes, Natasha Katz’ lighting and direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw. But OH it is enchanting.

This Pot’O Gold and pure enjoyment show flows seamlessly  from the busy streets of Agrabah to the palace gates  and back again filling our senses with colorful costumes, statuesque models prancing, dancing and singing. Both Greenspan and de Guzman are in fine voice.

Aladdin’s pals Zach Bencal, Philippe Arroyo and Jed Felder (Babkak, Omar and Kassim) always at the ready for Aladdin to either break away from some sinister plots by the sorcerer Jafar and his side kick  Iago, (Jonathan Weir and Jay Paranada both humorously effective), to landing in jail with him or just plain entertaining and goofing off give way to the rest of the cast to show off their singing, dancing and acting prowess. 

Clinton Greenspan as Aladdin
The fast paced plot (even though it runs a bit over two hours) with an over abundance of talented ensemble members slows down a bit when the two lovers (“A Whole New World” ) manage to show some affection looking like the real deal when they magically fly above the city on their magic carpet; it is truly the stuff of fairy-tales. Fairy tale and all the love story is on again off again but pays off for the lovers in the end. Sigh!
Lissa de Guzman
Danny Troob’s orchestrations along with conductor/director Faith Seetoo’s rich sounds coming from the pit puts this production in the must see column.

Billed as a family show, and without the hokey-pokey that might be going on in Vegas stays there, this wonderfully entertaining production is well worth the trip downtown for the whole family.

Spectacular Dancing

See you at the theatre.

Dates: Through March 3rd
Organization: Broadway San Diego
Phone: 619-570-1100
Production Type: Musical
Where: 1100 Third Ave, Downtown San Diego 92101
Ticket Prices: Start at $33.00
Web: broadwaysd
Venue: Civic Theatre
Photo: Deen van Meer

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