A post of Facebook, highlighting a story on the Disney Parks Blog, alerted me that one of the Broadway musicals I mentioned in our latest podcast celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday. “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” opened in the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure January 16, 2003. The show has been seen by more than 12 million park guests during that time.
Some of the more interesting things about this particular show is that an original song was written and included in the performance that wasn’t in the movie. “To Be Free” is sung by Princess Jasmine that describes her life like one of a bird living in a gilded cage. It is a real showcase for the actress playing the part and always draws a loud ovation from the crowd upon its completion.
Secondly, the show continuously changes as the Genie is given fairly ample free reign to ad lib with various current events during his frequent joke sessions. Jokes often skewer celebrities in the news or even timely Disney-related happenings. The jokes are generally very funny, rather unexpected during a Disney production and can really keep each performance from feeling like something you’ve seen before even if you’ve seen the show multiple times.
Below are a few photos I snapped during a performance that you might like. As always, click each one for a larger view …
The Genie is often the highlight of the performance. Though his jokes are often zingers, they are also always appropriate for a theme park audience. The actor playing the Genie usually gets the loudest applause during the curtain call.
Jafar is a bit more of straight-man villain in the production than the slightly comedic performance found at times during the film. Of interest, as with much of the cast, the characters are often performed by a variety of actors of different races and abilities. For instance, Jafar might be played by a black actor during one performance and a white actor during another. Many performances feature a wheelchair-bound performer in the chorus. It’s a nice way of featuring talented performers without strictly adhering to what otherwise might be traditional casting requirements.
“Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” is a nice way to spend 45 minutes at a theme park. It truly is a high-caliber Broadway-style show and one that everyone should try to catch at least once during a visit to the Disneyland Resort.