I finally got to see Aladdin last Sunday night. It’s a great theatrical circus onstage, but I think the stage at the New Amsterdam is too small. They fill up the stage, but it’s all an illusion.
I liked it a lot for the most part because it brought back great memories of childhood, but I hated how they changed the story in the second act. I know they did it so they could more easily stage it but it was annoying.
The only main character that was being understudied was the Genie, James Monroe Inglehart. But his understudy, Trevon Dion Nicholas, was so great that my friend who’d seen Inglehart before didn’t realize that he wasn’t actually onstage. Otherwise Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed, as Aladdin and Jasmine respectively, were both lovely.
Aladdin is basically a 42nd Street tourist trap, but it’s a fun one.
In my opinion, word of mouth and internet hype is a large part of what makes or breaks a show nowadays (yes, even a Disney show). Do you remember when bad word of mouth basically killed Spider-man before it started previews? The New York Times rave can never hurt for native New Yorkers but word of mouth is a driving force in a shows success. I know you think you can rely on your brand alone for success but as you’ve experience before with Tarzan and The Little Mermaid this isn’t always the case. (Though I hear your latest is much better than those.)
This brings me to Aladdin. I hear it’s pretty great but I’m not sure how I’m, and people with a budget like me, are going to get to see it. I’ve been hearing horror stories of people getting to the rush line at 4:30am and still not getting tickets six hours later. This, in short, is ridiculous. The parents and once-a-year show-goer is not who’s going to spread the word of Aladdin’s potential greatness. It’s the person who’s willing to wait for a few hours on a weekend morning for a rush ticket that will blog and tweet about their experience during and after the show. I also recognize that the people who can pay $40 for a ticket aren’t going to keep your show alive financially, but they can most certainly keep the excitement about your show alive and encourage those who can afford a $150 to go drop the cash.
In short: I hope you start designating seats for rush or, better yet, a lottery. Because even though you’re Disney, your shows still need publicity from the little people.
Edit: Ask and you shall receive: