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Theatre / Aladdin

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"Salaam and good evening to you, worthy friends! Welcome to the fabled city of Agrabah! City of flying carpets! Soaring heroes! Famous love ballads! And more glitz and glamour than any other fictional city in the world!"

Aladdin is a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of the Disney film of the same name. It largely follows the plot of the original with an increased focus on Aladdin's backstory, a distinct take on the Genie, and an incredible amount of Spectacle.

It had its first official run at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Washington from July 21st, 2011 until July 31st, 2011. Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, who won a Tony for his co-direction in The Book of Mormon, many cut songs and elements from Howard Ashman's original idea of the film appear—as does Jonathan Freeman as Jafar! It made it to Broadway in 2014 (after a 2013 tryout run in Toronto) with Jonathan Freeman reprising his role, starring alongside James Monroe Iglehart as the Genie, Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, and Courtney Reed as Jasmine. James Monroe Iglehart won the Tony Award for Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance as Genie.

The theatrical adaptation of Aladdin provides examples of:

  • Actually, I Am Him: Unknown to Aladdin, he runs into a disguised Jasmine in the California version, offering her some of the fruit that he stole seeing she's hungry and lost. When the guards accost them, he defends her, saying she did nothing while the disguised princess orders them not to call Aladdin a street rat. The guards sarcastically say with that attitude she talks like the Princess of Agrabah. Jasmine quickly reveals herself and orders them to let the boy go.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: Broadway version only; in the California version, Aladdin reminded himself not to touch anything in the creepy treasure cave but the lamp and knocked over a pillar by accident. On the Broadway stage, despite Iago and Jafar warning him, Aladdin can't resist grabbing a jade necklace to give to the princess.
  • Adaptational Late Appearance: The Carpet doesn't appear in the Cave Of Wonders like in the movie. The genie gives it to Aladdin as part of his Prince Ali persona and it only appears during "A Whole New World".
  • Adaptation Species Change: In the Broadway version, Iago is made into a human servant rather than a bird puppet.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Abu and Rajah are taken out, and Aladdin is given human friends instead who risk their lives for him.
    • The Peddler also does not exist in the play. Instead, Genie is the one who performs "Arabian Nights” and introduces the characters to the audience.
  • Audience Participation: In the California version, the audience has to tell Aladdin to rub the lamp when he asks them for help.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Iago makes a crack about how terrible married life is while talking to Jafar about what to do with their wishes.
  • Bait the Dog:
    • The Broadway version has Jafar and Iago hype up Aladdin by promising him that if he gets the lamp, they will give him enough money to woo the princess. They make it clear that he would outlive his usefulness if he had succeeded.
    • In the California version, Jafar poses as Aladdin's "Father" to get him out of trouble with the guards, saying that he and Aladdin's "mother" will deal a punishment on the boy for stealing and seemingly pays his debt. When Aladdin thanks him, Jafar says he needs help with a task and if Aladdin refuses, Jafar will call the guards back. Aladdin quickly assesses it's better to do what the man says. 
  • Bowdlerize: The controversial line from "Arabian Nights" which calls Agrabah barbaric is replaced for the sake of cultural sensitivity.
  • Bedlah Babe: Jasmine
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Genie outright calls Agrabah a fictional city in the show's first song.
  • Call-Forward: The second verse of "Arabian Nights" is partially adapted from the theme song of the TV series.
  • Canon Foreigner: Instead of Abu, Aladdin has three friends who are fellow thieves: Babcak, Omar, and Kassim. They ironically were originally supposed to be in the movie but were replaced with Abu.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action:
    • In "Prince Ali," Genie's bright blue suit and hat are ripped off in a single motion by two stage-hands to reveal a fancy white garb underneath.
    • Jafar's wish to become sultan is marked with his robes and hat disappearing in a puff of smoke and a white version of his attire taking its place. When he wishes to become a genie, the same puff of smoke appears and he's suddenly in a bright red version of his attire, all done without Jafar seemingly moving at all.
  • Comedic Strangling: At the beginning of the California version, Iago states how unsurprising it is the third peasant they sent into the Cave of Wonders was not worthy of entering. Jafar responds by choking him to shut him up.
    Iago: Choking... The bird is choking...
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: The thieves ask the Sultan why he waited so long to change the rules to allow Jasmine and Aladdin to marry.
  • Cute Mute: California version Carpet is a dancer in a costume, that speaks through miming. Genie finds her adorable, and flies off with her when Aladdin frees the genie. 
  • Death by Genre Savviness: Aladdin in the California version reminds himself only touch the lamp, or the cave will bury him alive. He accidentally knocks over a golden pillar while reaching for the lamp, and fails to reassure the cave that he didn't mean to do it. Fortunately, he survives the cave-in thanks to dumb luck and maybe carpet. 
  • Defiant Captive: Jasmine refuses to bow to Jafar when he's made Sultan. Aladdin follows suit.
  • Delayed Reaction: It takes a few seconds for Aladdin to realize he should bow before the princess in the California stage version after Jasmine reveals herself. 
  • Disappearing Box: Genie uses this old trick in his introductory music number, covering Aladdin in a cloth, ripping it off to reveal he's gone, and emptying a box out next to it to send Aladdin sprawling out to the floor.
    "Even though he's here, watch Al disappear, right before your eyes!"
  • Establishing Character Moment: Jasmine gets one in the California stage version. She sees that Aladdin stole some fruit as she's roaming the streets in disguise, but he offers it to her, explaining that it looks like she needs it more. The sincerity charms her, as does his defending her when the guards grab them and accuse her of being his accomplice. Jasmine reveals herself and orders the men not to harm Aladdin until she speaks with her father. We see that she is a Plucky Girl and Nice to the Waiter to boot.
  • Flynning: "High Adventure" is accompanied by Babkak, Omar, and Kassim fighting guards exclusively by smacking their swords against each others, all while singing about what a typical adventure it is.
  • Fun with Homophones: A Running Gag is for someone to say something that sounds like a type of Arabic food and for Big Eater Babkak to respond "Did someone say (food word)?" Like "Now I feel awful" with "Did someone say falafel?"
  • Last Chorus Slowdown: Common throughout the show:
    • The penultimate chorus of "Arabian Nights" slows to a crawl before picking up for the last repetition.
    • Genie dramatically slows the tempo of "Friend Like Me" as he begins to do a kickline down some stairs he summoned for him and Aladdin.
    • "Prince Ali" also ends with the tempo slowing down, to the point that Genie is practically just speaking his lines as all the background dancers step up and Aladdin is introduced in his princely garb.
  • Leitmotif: When Aladdin and Jasmine briefly see each other during "Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim," a couple notes Jasmine's songs "These Palace Walls" play to show this is what she was hoping t see out in the world.
  • Medley: Late into "Friend Like Me", Genie breaks out into a customized medley of several famous Disney songs from The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, and Hercules.
  • Missing Mom: Aladdin frequently laments the death of his mother and even sings a whole song about how he hopes to make her proud someday.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Broadway musical adaptation reinvents Iago as a human rather than a talking parrot. There are, however, several allusions to the original animal character.
      Jafar: Really, Iago. Must you parrot everything I say?!
    • Genie sings a couple of "old classics" in "Friend Like Me," which consists entirely of Disney Renaissance song. Most of them were written by Aladdin song-writer Alan Menken.
    • When Genie mentions how many monkeys Prince Ali has, one of the servants pulls up a picture of Abu from the original movie.
  • Nice to the Waiter: In the California version, Jasmine defends a "peasant boy" that she just met to the guards and reveals herself while in disguise. When the guards say that Aladdin broke the law by stealing, and her father makes the rules, Jasmine kindly tells them that she'll talk to the Sultan but orders them not to hurt Aladdin. She reassures him she'll make this right before any harm can come to him. 
  • Not So Above It All: Some versions have Genie quip in the California version that he tried to make Taylor Swift fall in love with him. The audience reacts with scandalized laughter and many "Ohhs!". 
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Aladdin's ploy to trick Jafar into becoming a genie starts with one of these, pointing out that neither of them would be where they were without Genie's powers. "I may just be a guy who found a lamp, but so are you!"
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Jasmine puts on a show of being a spoiled, ignorant princess to scare away her potential suitors.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Jafar in the California version coerces Aladdin into entering the Cave of Wonders. He says if Aladdin refuses, he's offering the boy to the guards and will let him rot in the palace dungeon. Aladdin has no choice but to agree.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • This is why Abu and Rajah don't appear in this adaptation.
    • The Genie lampshades it at the Finale of the Show.
    • Rather than try to drown Aladdin, Jafar orders the guards to imprison him for being in the princess's chambers.
    • Jafar also skips the movie's climatic sequence and is tricked into becoming a genie moments after becoming Sultan.
  • Race Lift: The Genie, being non-human, doesn't have an ethnicity. However, in the animated film, he was voiced by the white Robin Williams, whereas in the Broadway production, every actor to play the Genie has been Black.
  • Reprise Medley: The last song of Act One includes a brief reprise of both "Friend Like Me" and "Proud of Your Boy" to set up what Genie and Aladdin will be doing next act.
  • Roof Hopping: Unable to rely on cartoon slapstick, "One Jump Ahead" instead shows Aladdin's chase with the guards by having the actor jump from massive prop house to massive prop house as they're being moved along the stage.
  • Scatting: Part of what separates the show's version of "Friend Like Me" from the original is the use of jazz tropes like this. Genie scats through most of the chorus and even ends the song by going "ba da ba da" alongside the ensemble cast he summoned.
  • Summon Backup Dancers: Justified Trope in "Friend Like Me," where Genie uses his magic to conjure a variety of different dancers ranging from fez-wearing waiters to exotic belly dancers to sparkling tap dancers.
  • Talking to the Dead: Aladdin's new song, "Proud of Your Boy," is his attempt to tell his dead mother that he wants to make her proud even if he is a thief.
  • True Companions: Aladdin's friends come to his rescue on seeing that he is imprisoned. He thanks them for the effort when they're locked up in the dungeon together.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Just like in the animated film, Aladdin wears a vest with no shirt before he transforms into "Prince Ali".