Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-07-26
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Book: Chad Beguelin; Score: Alan Menken with Howard Ashman, Tim Rice & Beguelin. At: Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St. Tickets: 800-775-2000 or; $44-$153. Runs through: Sept. 10

There's no disguising the fact that the national tour of Aladdin is anything but a corporate Disney product. But if audiences want to shell out the big bucks for a splashy screen-to-stage adaptation of the 1992 animated feature, is it so wrong for Disney to oblige them with such a wowing family-friendly spectacle?

One thing you can't accuse Disney of is stinting on Aladdin's budget, and this 2014 Broadway musical is full of eye candy all around. Bob Crowley's alternately elegant and bling-filled set designs are full of dazzle, while Gregg Barnes' parade of elaborate costumes are both colorful and very revealing ( especially if shapely chorus girls or hunky hirsute chorus boys are your thing ).

Disney also doesn't stint on talent, especially with Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw ( The Book of Mormon, Something Rotten! ) helming the production as both director and choreographer. And the Aladdin cast is full of charismatic, triple-threat performers including the original Broadway Aladdin of Adam Jacobs, the feisty Princess Jasmine of Isabelle McCalla and the overexcited Genie of Anthony Murphy.

Nicholaw also brings lots of surprises to the production, including a mind-boggling flying carpet sequence for "A Whole New World" and other tricks that can be attributed to the "Illusion Design" of Jim Steinmeyer and the "Special Effects Design" of Jeremy Chernick. True, some chase and fight sequences can feel far too cartoonish, but you have to consider the source material.

Where Aladdin is more problematic is how its film parts and new material have been conjoined together by book writer and new co-lyricist Chad Beguelin. While it's nice that some of Alan Menken's cut songs co-written with the late lyricist Howard Ashman have been restored ( "Proud of Your Boy," "High Adventure" ), they don't always fit in comfortably with the narrative. ( Neither do the new Menken-Beguelin songs. )

There's also the issue of non-human sidekicks from the film being replaced for the stage. Reggie De Leon has fun as the haranguing human henchman Iago to Jonathan Weir's erudite villain Jafar. Yet Aladdin's street-urchin sidekicks ( Zachary Bencal as the ever-hungry Babkak, Philippe Arroyo as the geeky Omar and likely Aladdin understudy Mike Longo as the looker Kassim ) often get saddled with some really hokey comedy dialogue.

Yet Aladdin is very upfront about not taking itself too seriously. Even the moralistic lessons of looking for inner beauty and being one's true self are played lightly and don't get in the way of all the fun, fun, fun. And as an all-ages stage spectacle, Aladdin certainly delivers what it promises.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT riot grrrl rewind 2017-07-26 - The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble is ready to rock with Brave Like Them. The world-premiere play with punk music explores the pluses ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Black! 2017-07-26 - Playwright: Michael Washington Brown. At: Athenaeum Theatre Productions at the Atheneaum, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Tickets: $25. Runs through: Through July 30 ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Megastasis 2017-07-26 - Playwright: Kia Corthron. At: Eclipse Theatre Company at the Athenaeum, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Tickets: $30. Runs through: Aug. 20 If ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Little Fish 2017-07-26 - Playwright: Michael John LaChiusa ( book, music & lyrics ). At: Kokandy Productions, Theatre Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 773-975-8150;; $33-$38. ...

Gay News

THEATER Critics' Picks 2017-07-26 - Hir, Steppenwolf Theatre, through Aug. 20. It's hard to like the characters in Taylor Mac's darkly distorted family sitcom, but only a joker ...

Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT Play it Again, Sam. 2017-07-26 - The young drag-theater collective Sadhaus finds inspiration from the classic 1942 Hollywood film Casablanca for its limited run of Play it Again, Sam: ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Cirque du Soleil's Luzia 2017-07-26 - Playwright: Daniele Finzi Pasca. At: Big Top, United Center Parking Lot K, 1901 W. Madison St. Tickets: 877-924-7783 or; $35 and up. ...

Gay News

MUSIC Drag artist celebrates life in 'I Was Born This Way' 2017-07-26 - Drag artist VIZIN ( pronounced V-I-S-I-O-N ) may have covered "I Was Born This Way," but it is not the Lady Gaga song. ...

Gay News

MOVIES Jane Fonda adding film-festival honor to accolades 2017-07-26 - Actress and activist Jane Fonda has been in the movie business for more than 50 years and will be receiving the Chicago International ...

Gay News

Firebrand names managing director 2017-07-26 - Firebrand Theatre—said to be the first musical-theater company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding opportunities on and off the stage—has announced ...


Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.