Broadway Winter 2013/Spring 2014 Guide
by Whitney Spaner, 12/09/2013
Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann
Aladdin is the latest animated film in Disney's catalog to be made into a big-budget Broadway tuner. That 1992 cinematic version, about a beggar boy who marries a princess with the help of a genie, is based on a story in the Arabian folktale One Thousand and One Nights. Directed by Book of Mormon's Casey Nicholaw, the musical features beloved songs like "A Whole New World" and "One Jump Ahead" that won Alan Menken and Tim Rice an Oscar, along with six new numbers by Menken and book writer Chad Beguelin. Judging from the early buzz surrounding the show's several out-of-town tryouts, the real spectacle is the wisecracking genie's tour de force, "Friend Like Me," which seems destined to join the ranks of Broadway showstoppers like "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King's "Circle of Life." In a Disney first, Jonathan Freeman, who voiced Jafar, the villainous royal vizier in the film, will play him on stage. For thirtysomething parents who saw the film as youngsters, the show will be like a magic carpet ride back to the salad days.
New Amsterdam Theatre, 214 W. 42nd St. Previews start Feb. 26; opens March 20.