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'Disney's ALADDIN' The North American Tour Cast

Now onstage at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre

Dean Van Meer

Joe Szekeres

"No need to put the Genie back in the lamp. This touring ‘Aladdin’ is solid family entertainment.”

Set in the fictional Arabian city of Agrabah, we meet a larger-than-life individual who begins to tell the story: Aladdin (Adi Roy) and his three friends, Kassim (Brandon Burks), Omar (Kyle Caress) and Babkak (J. Andrew Speas) spend their time in the city stealing food. Aladdin dislikes being called a street rat because he steals. He makes a promise to his deceased mother he will turn his life around to do good instead.

We are then transported to the palace of the Sultan (Sorab Wadia) who scolds his daughter Jasmine (Senzel Ahmady) about her refusal to marry another suitor before her birthday which is in three days. The Sultan’s Grand Vizier, Jafar (Anand Nagraj), wants to usurp the throne and perhaps even marry Princess Jasmine. Jasmine leaves the palace disguised to see what life is like outside the walls. Here, she meets Aladdin. He has no idea who she is but has become smitten with her beauty.

Through Jafar and his assistant Iago’s (Aaron Choi) evil tomfoolery, they have discovered through the Cave of Wonders, a place that holds untold power, that Aladdin is the ‘diamond in the rough’ who is the only one allowed to enter. When Aladdin is instructed to bring a lamp to Jafar and Iago and not touch anything else, the young lad also touches the Egyptian chain which seals the cave and sets it in complete darkness.

Aladdin rubs the lamp to get some light and unleashes the Genie (Marcus M. Martin), the larger-than-life individual who opened the story. He grants Aladdin three wishes with some stipulations. One is to become a prince to try to win Jasmine’s favour. Genie grants the wish as the young man becomes Prince Ali, who returns to try and win Jasmine’s hand in marriage.

The second act continues with further problems until there is a showdown between good and evil (with those involved entirely dressed in black and white).

Several children were around my guest and I all dressed to the nines on this opening night. Mom and Dad wanted to introduce them to the wonders of the theatre.

Parents, you’ve made a wise choice.

This touring ‘Aladdin’ remains fun for the family to watch theatre magic cast its spell, not only onstage but also for the audience.

The entire production becomes a visually swirling kaleidoscope of colour and sound. Gregg Barnes’ dazzling costume designs are eye-extraordinary in all colours, designs and textures. Bob Crowley’s Scenic Designs and Daniel Brodie’s Projection Designs remarkably add tremendous depth to those moments either staged on the street, in the palace or the Cave of Wonders. Natasha Katz’s lighting heightens the dramatic or emotional intensity of the scene. Ken Travis’s sound design, coupled with the illusion design of Jim Steinmeyer and Rob Lake, appeal to the child like fantasy within all of us.

Casey Nicholaw is a theatre wonder. Just this past summer I saw his original Broadway direction and choreography of ‘Some Like It Hot’ which twirled and whirled with velocity I sat back and caught my breath for those performers.

The same holds true for this ‘Aladdin’. Nicholaw wants his audience to have a good time.

And he succeeds.

And I did. And so did my guest.

Music Director James Dodgson assuredly piqued my curiosity with the opening song ‘Arabian Nights’ and gave me goosebumps for its strong vocal work. It reminds the audience we have been whisked away from the damp Toronto night to a far away land. ‘Friend Like Me’ is a glittering showstopper which merited the longest applause out of all the musical numbers. It’s the show’s highlight so sit back and just enjoy.
‘A Whole New World’ slows the pacing down for the audience to catch its breath. It’s a lovely moment between Roy and Ahmady (complete with their magic carpet ride). There are moments where the pacing slows down for the entire audience to catch its breath.

Marcus M. Martin’s Genie commands as the Genie. He struts and moves with intended purpose and comes dangerously close to stealing the show, but he doesn’t. Adi Roy and Senzel Ahmady are youthfully charming as Aladdin and Princess Jasmine. Sorab Wadia is a kingly father figure as the Sultan.

Much of the comedy stems from the terrific work of the supporting players. Anand Nagraj and Aaron Choi are ideally paired as the evil Jafar and sidekick Iago. At this performance, Brandon Burks, Kyle Caress and J. Andrew Speas play Aladdin’s best friends with impish grins who are fast on their feet.

I’m always amazed at how quick this Ensemble (or any show Ensemble) changes costumes from one scene to the next in a matter of seconds. This ‘Aladdin’ ensemble never upstages any of the story’s action but will sometimes give a look or stare that still adds to the overall fun of the show.

And Another Thought: The fun continues right to the end after the final dance number of the second act. Without spoiling the surprise, something happens right after this final number concludes. The audience is involved.

My guest and I loved this surprise. Everyone around us loved it too.

‘Aladdin’ plays during the school March Break. Take the kids to see it.

Running time: approximately two hours and 30 minutes with one interval.

‘Aladdin’ runs until March 17 at The Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King Street West, Toronto. For tickets: or call 1-800-461-3333.

‘Aladdin’ The Hit Broadway Musical
Music by Alan Menken Lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin Book by Chad Beguelin

Directed and Choreographed by Casey Nicholaw
Music Director/Conductor: James Dodgson
Scenic Designer: Bob Crowley
Lighting Designer: Natasha Katz
Costume Designer: Gregg Barnes
Illusion Design: Jim Steinmeyer, Rob Lake
Sound Design: Ken Travis
Projection Designer: Daniel Brodie

Performers: Marcus M. Martin, Anand Nagraj, Aaron Choi, Adi Roy, Senzel Ahmady, Sorab Wadia, Brandon Burks, Kyle Caress, J. Andrew Speas, Tyler Johnson-Campion, Kolten Bell, Collin J. Bradley, Brandon J. Large, Lizzy Marie Legregin, Sonia Monroy, Katie Pohlman, James Caleb Grice, Evin Johnston, Adam Mandala, Adriana Negron, Jessica Mallare White

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