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Aladdin: a magical, glittering Arabia

Aladdin was everything I expected my first Broadway show to be. From the very beginning, the show captured all of my attention.

As a fashion enthusiast, one of my favorite aspects of this show was the costumes. In two of the most elaborate numbers, Friend Like Me and Prince Ali, there were lightning fast costume changes, each ensemble more eye-catching than the last. According to the playbill, each cast member’s pants in the finale of Friend Like Me had 1,428 Swarovski crystals sewn in. Unlike some shows I have since seen, every number had creative and impressive costumes. I never felt let down after one of the major numbers ended. Along with the costumes, the choreography was exciting and precise. I could see the Arabian influence even though this show was clearly designed for American audiences.

When I saw The Lion King, I felt like it was designed to pay tribute to African culture and stay true to their language, dress, and customs. Meanwhile, the Arabia of Aladdin was much different than true mid-eastern culture. The costumes looked similar to those in the Disney movie, but were much brighter and more sparkly than anything found in real Arabian culture. The music in The Lion King was African inspired and included live, traditional percussion, while there was little to no Arabian influence in the Aladdin score. Aladdin was clearly a show designed for Broadway and entertainment and in my opinion, it succeeded.

In some of the shows I have seen, one number is amazing: special effects, costumes, music, everything taken to the next level. After that number ends, the audience feels let down and disappointed with whatever is to follow. Aladdin was different. Although Prince Ali and Friend Like Me were clearly more elaborate than some of the other numbers, the rest of the show did not disappoint. The genie is magical and a bit of a show-off, so scenes with him are full of special effects. Prince Ali is the parade that the genie created to make Aladdin seem like a rich prince, and there are elephants, fireworks, and dancers with some of the most elaborate costumes on Broadway. Instead of being disappointed after this huge number, the audience is treated with A Whole New World: when Jasmine and Aladdin fly around the stage on a very convincing magic carpet.

From the beginning to the end, Aladdin captured my attention. In my opinion, it is one of the better shows on Broadway. If you’re looking for a magic carpet ride in a glamorous, fictional desert, Aladdin is the show for you.

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