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By Steven Lieberman
Observer Reporter 

Arabian Nights" Disney's Aladdin Musical

 

September 21, 2023

There was non-stop laughter after the Genie, famously played by Marcus M. Martin, appeared on stage singing "Arabian Nights" (along with ensemble) to introduce Disney's Aladdin musical on opening night at the Pantages Theater on September 12.

Using creative set and lighting design to generate an enchanting atmosphere, the audience is magically transported to Agrabah where the story unfolds featuring Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie, Sultan, Aladdin's new "street rat" friends Kassim, Babkak, and Omar, and the evil Jafar, with his wacky sidekick Iago.

The special effects were amazing, especially when the Genie appears from the lamp, the flying carpet scene, and when Aladdin ventures into the cave to retrieve the lamp, among others. The use of projections was remarkable.

All of the characters were perfectly cast - quality singing, acting, dancing, and talented choreography, especially during the fight scenes using swords.

Martin was the center of attention and larger-than-life every time he made an appearance on stage. It seemed as if the production revolved around his character with a booming voice and playful, comical energy. Out of all the characters in the world of Disney productions, the Genie is one of the most significant roles and Martin definitely delivers.

Then, there's Aladdin, the "diamond in the rough," well-played by Adi Roy. A very polished and charming actor, the "street rat" does this role justice as he nervously interacts with the Sultan's daughter, Princess Jasmine, in the village and throughout the performance, as well as his interactions with all of the other characters, always displaying his cleverness.

The chemistry between Roy and beautiful Senzel Ahmady (Jasmine) was palpable. Their unfolding love affair was wonderful. She plays the role gracefully and comes across as a caring soul that desires to escape the riches of the castle in which she feels entrapped.

Aladdin's "street rat" gang members, Kassim (Colt Prattes), Omar (Ben Chavez) and Babkak (Jake Letts) created a feeling of great camaraderie. They were hilarious, courageous and mischievous. They had to create mischief since the monkey, Abu, understandably couldn't be included in this live production. Nobody will ever forget Abu in the animated film (1992).

One of the key variables in this production was the glittering, sparkling, and colorful costumes, along with the magnificent scenery. It was so awesome that the audience felt as if they were rocketed into a different dimension, the world of Agrabah.

At the end of the performance, audience members left the theater basking in the realms of joyousness and contentment.

 

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