Tag Archives: Broadway Show

Aladdin on Broadway: A Refreshing Spin on the Disney Classic

By Rohan:

Ever since it was announced that everyone’s favorite street rat from Agrabah was making his way to the Big Apple, I was both excited at the prospect and nervous that it wouldn’t live up to the film’s magic.  Aladdin ​remains one of Disney’s most beloved masterpieces, featuring the gut-wrenching comedy of the late Robin Williams and the beautiful score from the fabulous Alan Menken.  It was an integral part of my childhood movie collection, with the genie standing out as one of the funniest and most charming characters to ever grace the screen.  Last weekend, I finally caught the Broadway rendition of the classic story. Was it absolutely faithful to the movie?  No.  Did it delight me from start to finish?  Absolutely.

If you go into Aladdin on Broadway expecting a live-action version of the movie, then I’m afraid you have been misguided.  This isn’t a shot-for-shot adaptation, but rather a spin on the classic Disney story.  It feels refreshing with modern humor, new characters, and a jazzy soundtrack that is sure to keep the toes tapping and the hands clapping.

What has changed?  For one thing, the city of Agrabah is just as​ magical as ever.  I have seen my share of Broadway performances, and I can say that Aladdin blew me away in the props and costuming department.  The fictional Arabian city is colorful, lively, and has more dimensions than its cinematic counterpart.

Although the animated film is timeless, the writing has been modified to attract a new audience, and its jokes keep the comedy fresh despite the source material being almost twenty years old. The Genie, masterfully portrayed by the charismatic James Monroe Iglehart, whips up jokes about viral Internet videos and recent Disney classics.  The play enjoys poking fun at itself and even breaks the fourth wall to get the audience engaged, a bold move, but it succeeds on all fronts.

By far the best element of Aladdin comes from its wicked cast.  The play has eliminated some of the more minor characters and introduced new ones that I now miss seeing in the movie.  Aladdin’s friends include a trio of street rats named Babkak, Omar, and Kassim, who at various points throughout the production, absolutely steal the show with their contrasting personalities.

Overall, Aladdin is a treat on all fronts, and delivers a thoroughly entertaining evening for people of all ages.  We highly recommend allowing this brilliant cast to take you to a whole new world without even leaving the New Amsterdam Theatre.

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark Review

Spiderman on Broadway
www.broadway.com

By Rohan:

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is a high-octane, thrilling adventure through New York City’s darkest hour. While definitely not perfect, Spidey has a lot of things going for it. It’s brilliantly creative use of the stage and fantastic directing by Julie Taymor make it a worthwhile experience despite some major plot holes and a forgettable soundtrack. Is this the web-slinging adventure we paid for or are our Spidey senses malfunctioning? Let’s find out!

As stated earlier,Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is a visual treat. Spidey glides from one side of the stage to the other and the aerial fight scenes look absolutely amazing. The critics weren’t kidding when they said that it takes your breath away. The last battle involving a fight between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin took place on the Chrysler Building, and Taymor’s ability to stage the fight certainly deserves applause.

However, there are many aspects of Spidey’s Broadway debut that take away from it being all it could be; the most noticeable of which is Taymor’s addition of unnecessary characters. Arachne, Emily Oswald, and the entire Sinister Six could have been taken out of the script completely since they were all thin, irrelevant, and in some cases, annoying.

The biggest let-down for me was the soundtrack. I have been thoroughly surprised with Broadway music recently from How to Succeed in Business’ 50’s jazz to the nostalgic roar of The Lion King. I can agree that writing music for a superhero is challenging but the score, written by Bono and the Edge, felt like a giant U2 commercial. Take a listen to “Bouncing Off The Walls” and you can see how heavily U2 focused on incorporating its own distinctive style rather than contributing to the story of the musical. Green Goblin’s ringtone was “Beautiful Day”, the dance music at the nightclub was “Vertigo”, and there were tons of homages to the band’s members as well.

Another pet peeve I had with the play was Peter Parker himself. He is just unlikeable. One of the most unique aspects of the Spider-Man franchise is how down to earth Peter Parker is. He’s not a hotshot billionaire or a dashingly handsome mutant. He’s an admirable college kid with a true passion for helping those in need. The Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark dressed like a total hipster, avoided every charming aspect of Maguire’s Parker, and overeacted to the point where you want to root for the enemy. However, as for the other characters, the casting is spot on. Patrick Page steals the show as The Green Goblin while incorporating aspects of other famous super-villains like Lex Luthor and the Joker.

If you are forced to pay full price to see Spidey, I would recommend checking something else out. However, if you can snag cheap tickets, I highly recommend going just to be delighted by the musical’s visuals. The fight scenes are beautifully choreographed and Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark clearly believes in bringing the play directly to the audience, meaning Spidey and the Goblin will be going at it just inches away from you!

To find out more, visit Spidey’s official site at

http://spidermanonbroadway.marvel.com/home

Dinner and a Show in New York City – An Oft Repeated Experience Turns Into a Memorable Night

The Paupers at The View

By Lakshmi:

Read any guide-book on New York City and you will find a nice dinner in town followed by a broadway show as a must do experience.  Tens of thousands of visitors have done this, including me, but what I experienced last night will stay with me forever.

Last night was Siddhi’s last day of her first year at Tisch and we were invited to an event at school that was being held offsite somewhere near Times Square.  While it was a bit odd that Tisch was doing an event offsite, off we marched on the subway and streets till we ended up at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square.  “Lack of space at Tisch” was the excuse proffered to me, and as we rode the elevator to the top of the building to “The View”, little did I suspect that something did not smell right.

As soon as we reached the revolving restaurant famous for its 70 minute rotation with some of the best views of the New York skyline, the kids announced that there was no school event.  It was a ruse to get me to the city for an early Mother’s Day celebration, since I would be on a trip with Siddhi on the holiday.  I was completely taken aback.  The View is a pricey place to eat and while Siddhi has a part-time job and Sathya had a little bit of cash saved up, it was cost prohibitive for them to bring me here.  Not according to them.  As I sat down recovering from the shock, out came a gift bag with two picture frames filled with memories of me and the girls taken in different locations around the world.  Digging further into the bag, I found a vase with a flower and a TON of Twix bars and Heath, my favorite candies.  Needless to say, I was crying at this point.

We proceeded to have a lovely meal of heirloom tomato salad, gnocchi with pesto, penne with tomato sauce and the most yummy chocolate mound cookies with vanilla ice cream for dessert, all while taking in the beautiful, changing views of the city.

When the waiter approached us with the check, Siddhi took it and signed away probably multiple months of money saved.  For a mother, it was a moment of tremendous pride (at the kids being so thoughtful and doing this), joy (that they just made me so happy) and a tinge of sadness (that because of me, they were spending all this money).

Siddhi wanted to make one quick stop to bid her roommate good-bye and as we headed to Tisch, there was one more surprise.  We paused in front of the theater where Wicked was playing and the kids turned to announce that was part two of my surprise.  Speechless, I walked into the theatre dazed and was seated right in the front row (their treat), while they went several rows behind to claim their seats.   What followed on stage was just one of the most magnificent audio-visual spectacles.  The music was beautiful, the sets and special effects magical and haunting and the actors superb.  This was one of the best musical productions I had seen.

As we walked out of the theatre, I looked at the kids with a mix of marvel and joy.  Sensing something, Siddhi said, “Mom, I have no money left, you’re going to have to pay for the cab back to NYU and there are no more surprises.”

Driving back home at 11:30, I told the kids how proud and grateful I was for the gift of a perfect night, a night that they did not have to package and yet how it will be one that I will cherish for life.  And the reply in unison?  “Mom, it is a small thing we could do in return for everything that you do.”

Here’s the link to the View Restaurant:

http://www.theviewnyc.com/

Go here to learn more or purchase tickets for Wicked:

http://www.wickedthemusical.com/