Disney's 'Aladdin' unleashes a genie on Broadway

Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:58pm EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It has a flying carpet, a cave full of treasures and show-stopping songs, but critics said on Friday the Broadway debut of Disney's "Aladdin" lacks the magic of the original Oscar-winning animated film.

The tale of the street urchin Aladdin, who wins the heart of Princess Jasmine, unleashes the Genie from the lamp and battles the evil Jafar, was the top-grossing film of 1992, and picked up Academy Awards for best original score and song for "A Whole New World."

The musical that opened on Thursday night is the latest Disney film to be adapted for the stage, following the long-running and hugely successful "Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast," "The Little Mermaid" and others.

Although "Aladdin" includes new songs, elaborate costumes and sets, dance numbers and a magical carpet that mysteriously floats, it left some critics wishing for more.

"This super-costly extravaganza doesn't do justice to the movie, or to the spirit of the late Howard Ashman," trade magazine Variety said, referring to the lyricist who had the original inspiration for the film.

The Hollywood Reporter described the show as "sweet, silly fun," while the New York Daily News found the extravagant production lacking compared to the film.

"Most moving thing in 'Aladdin' is the flying carpet," it said in a headline, adding that the musical was "entertaining but an emotionally sparse adaptation" of the film.

"While burning through wishes, you should ask for a musical with a lot more heart," it said.   Continued...

A part of the signage at the main gate of The Walt Disney Co. is pictured in Burbank, California, May 7, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser