Everyone who grew up with Disney has been acquainted with two of the world’s most beautiful things: music and magic. In a brightly animated fashion, winged beings sprinkle fairy dust over earnest dreamers, princesses rise up from decades-old naps, and ragged girls transform into a midnight miracle. Mermaids have legs, lions can talk, carpets can fly, and who can forget the glorious songs these beloved characters sang—songs that still beckon for a little bit of magic every time they are hummed?
With a bar raised so high, it’s not surprising that scepticsto shrug off any attempts for a live action showcase, much more a musical. However, a rub of the lamp might change the unbelievers, as Singapore stirs to the arrival of Aladdin the Musical, transforming the Marina Bay Sands Theatre into a glitzy, golden desert, shimmering to the tune of Arabian Nights.
Singapore is the solitary Asian stop in this Broadway-beloved international tour, headlined by a talented cast from Australia. Graeme Isaako plays Aladdin, the iconic Arabian pauper-prince who luckily wakes a genie from a long sleep. Shubshiri Kandiah takes over the feisty role of Jasmine, who ceases to be a palace wallflower with her breathtaking charm and brilliant spunk.
Prepare for a live rendition of many of the film’s favourites, including the jazzy Friend Like Me, the swoon worthy A Whole New World, and seven new musical numbers, penned by no less than Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, the original lyricist for the animated movie. Among these, the Jasmine and Aladdin duet A Million Miles Away, and the hilarious performance from Bakbak, Omar and Kassim—Aladdin’s friends—in High Adventure. For, of course, new songs require new characters.
But the striking repertoire is not all about the medleys. Like its film counterpart, the musical is visually stunning, with breathtaking backdrops and glorious displays. The humour-loving Genie breaks the fourth wall surrounded with golden palettes and heart-stopping pyrotechnics. And yes, there’s an actual magic carpet, whooshing up to take the lovers to greater heights. If that does not still impress, the set is completed with 300 lavish costumes embellished with Swarovski crystals, and gorgeous décor that screams extravagance.
There is dancing, there is laughing, there are moments to fall in love or be at the edge of the seat. The musical a glorious celebration of its film inspiration, and there’s no doubt, this version of Aladdin is a wish come true. www.marinabaysands.com ◼
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© This article was first published online in Aug 2019 – World Travel Magazine.