Disney’s Aladdin Musical is a Bedazzling Modern-day Romance

The beloved stage adaptation of a young man who gets his wishes granted by a genie makes its first and only Asia stop in Singapore this year.

A meeting of two vastly different worlds. Photo: Disney

Beyond the theatrical sets, brilliant choreography, and the popular duet “A Whole New World”, the Aladdin Broadway musical is at its heart a love story crafted for modern-day audiences.

Its first and only Asian stop for 2019 debuted in Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Theater with much fanfare, bringing to life the well-loved story of a young man who gets three wishes granted by a genie in a lamp.

The folk tale from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (The Arabian Nights) enjoyed many remakes throughout the decades, but none have been quite so memorable as Disney’s animated version. For starters, the stage adaptation bears multiple visual similarities to the Disney Aladdin loved by many—from the midriff-baring, emerald outfit donned by Princess Jasmine (Shubshri Kandiah) to the billowing pants and vest on Aladdin (Graeme Isaako).

Meant to bedazzle, the ensemble cast members are dressed in Middle Eastern styled outfits kitted out with Swarovski crystals. Photo: Disney

Aladdin’s sets, lavishly constructed by Tony Award-winning designers, transit seamlessly from the colorful bazaars of the fabled Agrabah to the elaborate palace grounds, conveying a sense of timelessness to these familiar scenes. Meant to bedazzle, the ensemble cast members are dressed in Middle Eastern styled outfits kitted out with Swarovski crystals. Especially sparkly is the Cave of Wonders in which Aladdin finds the lamp—shards of gold fill the hollows, creating the perfect backdrop for a mind-blowing tap dance number.

It’s hard not to be charmed by Graeme’s endearing portrayal of Aladdin, a boyish thief and a ladies’ man with a heart of gold. Meanwhile, Shubshri plays a sweet yet strong-willed Princess Jasmine, who yearns for freedom beyond the palace walls.

The meeting of these two vastly different worlds results in a romance challenged by family expectations, social status, and a villain who plots to destroy it all. Nonetheless, budding attraction ensues between the two, expressed through rooftop ballads and a glide through the starry skies on a magic carpet.

Budding attraction ensues between the two, expressed through rooftop ballads and a glide through the starry skies on a magic carpet. Photo: Disney

All of these would not have been possible without the help of the genie, played by the effervescent Gareth Jacobs, and his three wishes. With the larger-than-life personalities of a reality show host and a drag queen combined, the genie stole the show with his witty quips and showmanship, especially evident in the jazzy “Friend Like Me”.

Overall, the musical took everything we loved about Disney’s Aladdin and amped it up with fun pop cultural references (think: Christina Aguilera’s sassy Genie in a Bottle hit), reality television cameos, and a relevant dose of feminism (Jasmine’s indignant “What’s wrong with a woman running a kingdom?”). Coupled with the cast’s solid vocals and well-choreographed dance numbers, the musical will have you glued to your seats.

The result is a heartwarming performance that will leave you rooting for Aladdin and gushing in joy as the beguiling pair take to the skies on a flying carpet that’s as magical as the musical itself.

The musical runs from now until September 1; more information here.

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