Aladdin Magic Enchants at the Paramount
"Friends Like Me" is just one of the spectacular songs bursting forth in Aladdin now at the Paramount.
Aladdin and his band of merry friends are at Seattle’s Paramount Theater through October 29 in a whirl of magical, musical magnificence. Adam Jacobs who originated the title role on Broadway is joined by Cornish alum, Don Darryl River, who is reprising his portrayal of Iago. Saddle up the camel or fuel up your magic carpet and get over to the Paramount to see this show. Seats are limited but still available.
While the show is an adaptation of the animated Disney film and the centuries-old folktale from “One Thousand and One Arabian Nights,” it is anything but stale. The new stage version by Disney Theatrical Productions is chockfull of modern references, especially the Disney kind. While younger kids may miss some of the play on words, parents will enjoy the clever lines and puns that pepper the entire show, turning it into a tasty treat.
The set design and costuming will fill your eyes like an all-you-can-eat buffet fills a teenage boy’s stomach. The sparkle and glitz begin off the charts and only goes up. I literally ran out of “wows” before the show was over. For some, especially sensory sensitive kids, the flash, brightness, and constant bling may turn into sensory overload. It is quite a lot to take in. The show clearly embraced the philosophy that more is more.
The story stays true to its origins, and there are no big changes that might upset a purist. In fact, the only noticeable change is the absence of Abu, the monkey. Jacobs’ take on Aladdin is traditional but delivered with such heart and charm that the audience easily falls under his spell. As always the Genie is a big hit. He is Mr. Personality, and Anthony Murphy delivers the goods with bravado and finesse. Not surprisingly, some of the shows best humor comes from the bad guys. Jafar (Jonathan Weir) and Iago (Don Darryl Rivera) deliver great performances and great evil laughs. The unexpected treat of the night was watching Aladdin’s friends, the fearsome threesome. Babkak, Omar, and Kassim (played by Zachary Bencal, Philippe Arroyo, and Mike Longo, respectively). Their featured song, High Adventure, was a highlight of the show.
Fine acting, beautiful voices, and dynamic dancing are all great, but what will really capture the kids’ attention is the pure magic of the show. The story is centered on the idea of magic itself, and the show has a few tricks of its own. There are multiple magical costume changes that will leave you scratching your head. Aladdin even pulls a disappearing act from inside a box that is pretty impressive. However, the best magic of the night is the flying carpet. The carpet moves and turns allowing Aladdin and Jasmine sweeping views from above Agraba. It is indeed a magical moment.
While the story does have moments of tension, comedy wins out each time. Jafar and Iago are certainly more comedic than fear-inspiring. The only element of the show that might be scary for young kids would be the “scary voice” telling Jafar to look for the diamond in the rough. Just when I began to think it might be a little scary, the magic voice itself made a joke and eased any tension that may have been building. The palace guards that are constantly chasing Aladdin are more slow and clumsy than scary. All in all, the show shouldn’t be scary to kids that have seen the movie. The show’s themes of friendship, honesty, and self-determination also provide some great options for discussions on the ride home.
Before the show, during intermission, and afterward, the audience was full of smiles and bubbly chatter. It was obvious that everyone was having a good time. Multiple little girls donning Princess Jasmine costumes passed through the aisles. The show makes for a great family outing. However, the length of the show (two hours and thirty-five minutes including intermission) could be tough for little ones, especially the evening shows. Luckily, there are extra matinees for the run of this show. Don’t forget to grab a booster cushion when you arrive as they are in limited supply. Aladdin is a treat you won’t want to miss.
IF YOU GO:
Where: Paramount Theater, 911 Pine Street, Seattle, WA 98101
When: Now through 10/29, Tues-Thurs @ 7:30pm, Fri & Sat @ 8pm, and matinees on Thurs @ 1pm, Sat @ 2pm, and Sun @ 1pm.
Cost: Start at $35 and vary according to show date and time and seat location
Contact: STGPresents.org or 1-800-745-3000
Kelly Rogers Flynt is a freelance writer based out of Lake Forest Park and the parent of two street rats of her own, ages thirteen and sixteen.