Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ The Musical – 8 Reasons To See The Show

If you are a fan of Disney’s Aladdin, 2019 has been a good year.

On the week that the 2019 live-action adaptation of the beloved 1992 animated film crossed the magical US$1 billion (S$1.36b) mark at the global box office, the hit Broadway adaptation made its debut in Singapore and is entertaining audiences in a whole new way.

Boasting energizing song-and-dance sequences, amazing sets and effects, and stunning costumes, Aladdin the musical—which is based on the 1992 Oscar-winning film—premiered on Broadway in 2014 with book by playwright Chad Beguelin, music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Beguelin. Singapore will be the only Asian stop and final run for this Aladdin tour.

Musings on the M49 was chuffed to be invited to the official opening night at Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands. Here are eight reasons why Aladdin the musical is a must-see, especially if you are a fan of the Disney films or musicals in general. (Aladdin Photos Credit: Base Entertainment Asia)

1. “Friend Like Me”

The Genie’s signature song in the treasure-hoarding Cave of Wonders is a spectacular 14-minute showstopper comprising breath-taking choreography and cool magical effects. The scene-stealer was without question Gareth Jacobs whose creative genius as the Genie made the vibrant and pulsating sequence an absolute joy to watch.

2. “A Whole New World”

The Oscar-winning song is a timeless classic and watching Aladdin (Graeme Isaako) and Princess Jasmine (Shubshri Kandiah) singing it while seemingly flying on a magic carpet for real on stage is simply a thrill – even though you know it is manoeuvred by a special albeit well-hidden contraption. Easily the show’s second top highlight, drawing lots of oohs and aahs from the audience.

3. A Genie Like No Other

He’s not blue (except for his costume) and does not appear vaporizing from a lamp, but Gareth Jacobs’ Genie totally stole the show from the word go. He sang and danced with gusto, and his wisecracking had the audiences in stitches. His shout-outs to Singapore at appropriate times was a nice touch as well.

4. Classic And New Tunes Combo
Besides the unforgettable tunes from the 1992 film such as “Arabian Nights”, “One Jump Ahead” and “Prince Ali”, fans can savor seven new songs in the musical. Menken and Beguelin wrote four tunes specially for the stage production and these are “These Palace Walls”, “A Million Miles Away”, “Diamond in the Rough” and “Somebody’s Got Your Back”. Also included are three songs by Menken and Ashman that were cut from the original film – “Proud of Your Boy”, “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim” and “High Adventure”. Let’s hope for future productions, they will consider adding “Speechless”, Princess Jasmine’s empowering anthem from the 2019 megahit, too!

5. Stunning Set Design

From the colorful mythical city of Agrabah, to the Sultan and Princess Jasmine’s luxurious palace, to the gold-glittering Cave of Wonders, the show’s 500 captivating sets, props and backdrops are to be lauded. The audience is easily transported to every location in a blink of an eye, whether it is a Middle Eastern-influenced marketplace or a cave in a dark, isolated desert.

6. Shining, Shimmering, Splendid Costumes

The costumes in Aladdin have to be one of the most vibrant and sparkling set of outfits I’ve ever seen in a musical. And this is thanks to some 1000 fabrics and half a million Swarovski crystals that were used to make and decorate the 300+ costumes in the show. There was so much sparkle, they should have warned us to wear shades…

7. Incredible Special Effects
Besides a believable flying magic carpet, the show also employs a great number of whoa-inducing magical effects on stage such as slide of hand tricks, disappearing box acts, and quick change illusions, some of which were even executed effortlessly during song sequences.

8. Funny Bytes Galore
Thanks to some great one-liners and hilarious ad-libs, there were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments that didn’t just materializes out of the Genie, but also from supporting characters such as Jafar (Patrick R Brown) and his scheming sidekick, Iago (Doron Chester). I would arguably say there were more laughs generated from the musical than from the cinematic version!

All in all, Aladdin the musical is great fun, a spectacular that is easily enjoyed by both young and old. Though the first half felt a tad draggy (though understandably having to introduce every key character), the show nonetheless does present a whole new world of Disney’s Aladdin that is truly worth a watch.

Rewind: At the Aladdin Red Carpet
Attending stage shows, it is always fun to see people dress up for the occasion or are game to participate in entertaining activities. Prior to the show’s start on opening night, we witnessed a few folks who shook a tail feather or two on the “purple” carpet! (Photos by Marguerita Tan)

For starters, you always want to give a thumb’s up when theatre goers take the trouble to dress up according to the theme of the show!

And from the young to the young-at-heart, a few were sporting enough to sing ‘A Whole New World’ in front of cameras!

And here’s some of the famous faces spotted: 2009 Singapore Idol Sezairi Sazali (left) and author/humor writer Sylvia Toh Paik Choo (far right)

Aladdin the Broadway musical plays at the Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore till Sept 1, 2019. Performances: Tue to Fri, 7.30pm; Sat 2pm & 7.30pm; and Sun 1pm & 6.30pm. Tickets from $68++ from www.sistic.com and www.marinabaysands.com/ticketing.

Read also:
* Top 10 Songs by Disney Princesses – From “Let It Go” to “Speechless”

First Look At Stars Of Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ The Musical @ Marina Bay Sands

Aladdin the Broadway musical will stage its first and only Asian stop in Singapore at
the Sands Theatre in July 2019. [Photo Credit: Base Entertainment Asia]

Good news if you are a fan of Disney’s Aladdin. This year, not only you will get to see the live-action adaptation of the 1992 Oscar-winning animated film in May, its hit Broadway theatrical production will also make its debut here in Singapore, its only stop in Asia, at Marina Bay Sands in July.

So it was a thrill when Musings on the M49 was invited to the media launch for Aladdin the musical for which its three leading stars–namely Gareth Jacobs (Genie), Graeme Isaako (Aladdin) and Shubshri Kandiah (Jasmine)–flew in specially to publicise the show.

The event was held at Sands Theatre at an auditorium behind the main stage. Besides drinks and canapés, there were also costumes from the show set up on site for guests to admire up close.

Aladdin, which tells the story of a street urchin who wins the heart of a princess with the help of a genie, promises to present the most lavish sets, vibrant costumes and
stunning special effects ever to be seen at the Sands Theatre.

The musical, which made its world premiere on Broadway in 2014 , will have over 330 glittering costumes, featuring more than 1000 fabrics and almost half a million Swarovski crystals. Its mega sets include the fantasy city of Agrabah, the Sultan’s palace, and the legendary Cave of Wonders.

Songs Maketh the Musical
And not forgetting of course, the Oscar-winning score and songs by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin (who also wrote the book). The musical features five songs from the beloved animated film including the all-time classic, ‘A Whole New World’, plus a few more written specially for the stage version.

The charming Graeme Isaako is Aladdin.

After opening addresses by the good people responsible for bringing in Aladdin, we were introduced first to the Sydney-born, New Zealand-raised Graeme Isaako who plays the titular character. Armed with a dazzling smile and “K-pop hair” (his words, not mine), the singer/dancer/actor spoke on how hard he had to work for the show, especially as Aladdin is a very energetic character for whom parkour skills are required, besides singing and dancing abilities. Issako, who made his musical debut in 2002, then showed off his smooth vocals when he performed ‘Proud Of Your Boy’, a ballad that was cut from the original film.

Shubshri Kandiah singing the cherished duet, ‘A Whole New World’,
with Graeme Isaako.

Next up was Shubshri Kandiah who hails from Queensland and who won the role of Jasmine in the Australian production of Aladdin straight after graduating from university in 2017. The radiant artiste disclosed how delighted she is to play a princess who is “feisty and independent” and “close to my heart”. After revealing that one of her favorite songs in the stage musical is ‘A Million Miles Away’, in which Jasmines sings about her dreams, she teamed up with Isaako to sing the all-time favorite, ‘A Whole New World’, which thrilled the audience no end.

Gareth Jacobs, who plays the Genie, performing the showstopper ‘Friend Like Me’ complete with backup singers.

Finally, we met with the Genie himself in the form of Gareth Jacobs who has led the Australian touring company in this role from Melbourne, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand. After revealing that Aladdin was the very first film he saw as a nine-year-old, Jacobs informed us that his favorite moments of doing the stage musical are performing the 15-minute showstopper, ‘Friend Like Me’; being shot out of a cannon; and improvising jokes. Most of all though, it was meeting his idol, composer Alan Menken, in person when he first took on the role.

Gareth Jacobs as Genie and Graeme Isaako as Aladdin in one of the big production numbers in Aladdin the musical. [Photo Credit: Base Entertainment Asia]

When asked if he will do anything exclusively for the Singapore show, Jacobs–who had previously lived and worked in Singapore for five years–affirmed that he (as the Genie) often tells some jokes that is relevant to the city the show is playing at and so local audiences here will have to “watch and find out!” He then ended his segment with a rousing performance of ‘Friend Like Me’ with the help of two sassy back-up singers.

Yours truly with the talented Aladdin cast
AND a magic lamp!

After a Q&A session, the cast generously posed for photos with almost everyone who was present, complete with magic lamp. Alas, I didn’t get a chance to rub it and make a wish, let alone wishes three. Still, I got to hold it and got close to a smiling genie, so that’s good enough for me!

Aladdin the Broadway musical plays at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore from July 21, 2019. Performances: Tue to Fri, 7.30pm; Sat 2pm & 7.30pm; and Sun 1pm & 6.30pm. Tickets from $68++ from www.marinabaysands.com/ticketing or www.sistic.com.

Unless stated, all photos by Marguerita Tan. No text or images from this post are to be used without the blog author’s permission.