Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

Disney’s Aladdin

Music by Alan Menken

Disney's Aladdin

Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice

Music Adapted, Arranged and Orchestrated by Bryan Louiselle

Book by Jim Luigs

Based on the Disney film Aladdin

Directed & choreographed by Devanand Janki

Music Direction by Ben Johnson

At Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Slick, funny and well-sung (and danced) Aladdin unfolds as a mini-Broadway musical that kids love

Featuring a wonderfully colorful set (designed by Brian Sidney Bembridge), with exquisite lighting by Jesse Klug and sleek costumes by Debbie Baer, with fine music from Ben Johnson’s orchestra, Disney’s Aladdin unfolds as a sophisticated, slick, well produced and directed Broadway musical that adults appreciate and kids love–pure Disney magic! Songs such as “A Whole New World” and “Friend Like Me” are among some of Disney’s best making Aladdin most memorable.


Based on the Arabian tales, Aladdin (Tony Clarno–all boyish charm), he is a clever street urchin who is wrongly accused of kidnapping the beautiful Princess Jasmine (Melissa Espinosa). The Princess is trying to escape having to choose a husband from the inept Princes her father, the Sultan (Joseph Anthony Foronda) has assembled for her.  Jasmine is determined to marry the person she loves.

Jafar (Larry Yando at his villainous best)–the Sultan’s adviser and Iago–the talking Parrot (Derek Hasenstab)–re-unite two actors who played for several years on the National Tour of Lion King. Yando and Hasenstab are deliciously evil while Bill Larkin is wildly funny as the Borscht-Belt styled blue-faced Genie. Larkin steals the show as he both educates and aids Aladdin with his three wishes that he is allowed to grant. Sean Blake and Alex Goodrich work hard in multiple roles.


Aladdin and his Genie use their wits and their three wishes to outsmart Jafar who covets both Jasmine and the Sultan’s throne.


Through a mixture of a magic carpet ride and several Broadway-styled show stoppers, Aladdin is a brisk, 65 minute ride through a fable of friendship, loyalty with the timeless message of the importance of staying true to oneself. You’ll laugh and enjoy this slick production. This is terrific family entertainment.


Tom Williams

At Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, Chicago, IL call 312-595-5600,, tickets $18 children 12 and under, $23 for adults, Wednesdays at 11 am, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 11am & 2 pm, Sundays at 2 pm, running time is 65 minutes without intermission, through Auugust 30, 2009

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