Aladdin by Broadway San Jose
If you’ve been looking for a show to introduce your children to live theater, your wish has been granted.
Disney’s Aladdin is an action-packed romp through colorful marketplaces to an opulent palace, full of swashbuckling swordsmen and belly-dancing beauties, that maintains the heart of the classic 1992 film. Presented by Broadway San Jose, a Nederlander Presentation, the traveling production plays through April 21 at San Jose’s Center for the Performing Arts.
Clinton Greenspan charms as Aladdin, the poor street rat who learns about friendship, love and the value of honesty in his quest to woo Princess Jasmine, played by Lissa deGuzman. But is it Major Attaway who brings down the house as the quick-witted, fast-talking, wish-granting Genie, always ready with a quip or song.
Aladdin’s pet monkey, Abu, has been replaced by a trio of human sidekicks whose main purpose seems to be to pad the show’s running time and dish out Mediterranean food puns, but they get the laughs written for them. Similarly, bad guy Jafar’s humorous henchman, Iago, appears more human than bird and has his share of chuckle- (or groan-) inducing one-liners.
The production is at its best when it hews more closely to the original movie and its award-winning score and songs, whether it’s Greenspan and deGuzman discovering “A Whole New World” as they soar on a magic carpet ride through a star-filled night sky or Attaway riffing as the Genie.
His entrance in the gilded Cave of Wonders, a stunning set with stacks of golden treasures, and the show-stopping “Friend Like Me” – replete with magic tricks, tap dancing, pyrotechnics and a clever Disney medley – are highlights of the show. (But beware that darkness and loud noises could overwhelm some of the littlest theatregoers.)
Those with younger children should also keep in mind the running time of about 2½ hours, with one intermission, especially if you’re considering an evening performance.
On Wed., April 17, Broadway San Jose will host Kids’ Night on Broadway with free in-theater activities before the 7:30 p.m. performance. Kids can receive a free ticket to the show with the purchase of a full-priced adult ticket.
Other upcoming family-friendly productions on tap from Broadway San Jose are The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical (May 10-12), Fiddler on the Roof (May 21-26), School of Rock (June 4-9) and the Broadway blockbuster Wicked (Aug. 14-Sept. 8).
San Jose’s Center for the Performing Arts is located at 255 S. Almaden Blvd. Tickets to Aladdin ($33-118) are available in person at the City National Civic Box office (150 W. San Carlos St.), by phone at 800-982-2787 or at Ticketmaster. For more information, see our calendar listing.
Janine DeFao is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.