But Aladdin is everything a stage musical should be; it's big, it's splashy, it's colorful, it's innovative and, well, musical.
The songs are spectacular and most of them are straight from the movie with some new ones by award winning composer Alan Menken. The dances, choreographed by Alex Sanchez, are joyously energetic and slick. He knows how to move a huge crew of dancers and singers around the stage with the precision of a marching band and the grace of a ballet.
Both the featured performers and the ensemble players are at the top of their game, the Muny kids are adorable, and hometown girl Samantha Massell has the female lead as Princess Jasmine and she is by the way perfect, as is Robin De Jesus as Aladdin.
Aladdin boasts a talented trio of song and dance men; Jason Graae, Francis Jue, and Eddie Korbich. They opened the show singing “Arabian Nights” astride real camels. Their musical numbers are delightfully reminiscent of the old Hope and Crosby Road pictures, part comedy and part perfect pitched harmonies with a nifty bit of hoofing thrown in for good measure.
The villainous Jafar is played to the hilt by Thom Sesma. He is elegantly evil and assisted in his nefarious deeds by Curtis Holbrook's comic Iago the parrot. The two of them take a brilliant turn with “Why Me”.
And what can I say about Jonathan Tartaglia as the Genie? Just wow. He is astounding…long, lanky, incredibly graceful, using every part of his body and voice to entrance children and the adults alike. In his capable hands the rollicking “You Ain't Never Had a Friend Like Me” is a knock out show stopper.
The Muny orchestra was wonderful and Muny favorite Ken Page played the Sultan in grand style. Ken's talent has graced the Muny stage for decades and he's still going strong.
Aladdin is a treasure of fun and surprises for everyone. I loved this show!