Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Ron Irwin
Observer Staff Writer 

"Arabian Nights" Opens Pure Magic, with a Genie played by Michael James Scott

Aladdin takes Jasmine for a ride on his magic carpet. It actually flies

 

January 13, 2018

The pure magic begins with the song "Arabian Nights" and with the Genie played by Michael James Scott who is unbelievably powerful, energetic and pure fun along with the full Company establishing the where and when of the story. It is a spectacular start and it only gets better.

Aladdin portrayed by Adam Jacobs is a street urchin filled with energy and charm but lacking in truth and honesty. He eventually acquires a very magic lamp from which the Genie appears and grants Aladdin three wishes. Aladdin's eyes have fallen upon a beautiful young woman, Jasmine who is a princess played by Isabelle McCalla.

Thinking that he would have a better chance connecting with Jasmine were he Aladdin, a prince. So he makes his first wish to the Genie, that he Aladdin become a prince. Aladdin also promises the Genie that his third and final wish will be to free forever the Genie from his magic lamp. Will Aladdin actually keep that promise?

As the story unfolds Aladdin, the princess and even the Genie are confronted with challenges that tear at their moral fabric. Along the path from the stage flows fills with non-stop beauty, magic and energy The choreography is nothing short of spectacular deliverd by a genuinely magnificient cast enhanced even more by the orchestra.

While the story is strong and positive and utterly enjoyable to watch unfold there is one visual effect that left me and I believe the entire audience simply spell bound. It is when Aladdin takes Jasmine for a ride on his magic carpet. It actually flies. Oh sure there had to be wires or some sort of connection that allowed it to be lifted and moved about the stage but damned if I could see any. Now how important is this in the overall production?

Okay not all that much but it does underscore the extent to which the production team is driven to create the illusion of magic with perfection. Clearly their efforts pay off. Clearly their commitment has paid off making Aladdin s super hit on Broadway and now on stage in Hollywood at the marvelous Pantages Theatre.

If there was any criticism I could make it would be that at times the energy being delivered while spectacular and fun got right to the edge of over powering. But then I am a wee bit long in the tooth and overall the show is solidly within the five out of five star category. And while not exactly a pure youth oriented story it does appeal to pretty much all ages from about 6 to 100 plus.

"Aladdin" is at the Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California now through March 31st 2018. For further information about "Aladdin" and other upcoming shows at the Pantages Theatre you may visit their website at: http://www.pantagestheatre.net/.

For other adventures in art and much more visit: http://www.ronirwin.net where looking is always free.

 

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