Based on the 1992 animated Disney movie of the same name, Aladdin is a stage musical that premiered at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle in 2011 and made its Broadway debut at the New Amsterdam Theatre on March 20, 2014. The musical’s book is by Chad Beguelin, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Beguelin. It features three songs that had been written by Menken and Ashman for the film and never used, and four new songs written by Menken and Beguelin. Aladdin is the 11th highest-grossing Broadway production of all time.
In the marketplace in the Middle-Eastern city of Agrabah, we meet a young petty thief named Aladdin. Spending his days in the company of his three best friends Kassim, Omar, and Babkak, he dreams of a better life: one where he is known as a “worthless street rat” and where he doesn’t have to steal food to eat, having promised himself he would never steal again after the death of his mother.
In the palace of Agrabah, Princess Jasmine has just turned away yet another suitor, much to the chagrin of her father, the Sultan. Having lost his patience, he demands that she must obey the law and marry a nobleman before her birthday, in three days time. Jasmine is dismayed that she is expected to marry a prince, rather than marry for love. When the Sultan’s Grand Vizier, Jafar, finds out the news of her forthcoming nuptials, he summons his assistant, Iago, and together they search for the Cave of Wonders. The cave is an enchanted and mysterious desert cavern that is the source of immense magic. However, when they arrive, Jafar is told by an echoing voice that the only person worthy to enter the cave is a "diamond in the rough": Aladdin. Seeking both the throne of Agrabah and the cave’s power for himself, Jafar, with Iago, goes in search of Aladdin.
Curious as to what life is like in the outside world and in need of respite from the demands of the palace, Princess Jasmine disguises herself and heads into Agrabah, where she bumps into Aladdin entertaining his friends. Unaware of who she really is, Aladdin is enamored by the princess and after a momentary tussle with some guards, the pair escape together to Aladdin’s hideout. There, they speak of their mutual dissatisfaction with their respective paths. Soon, the palace guards discover them and in a bid to save Aladdin’s life, Jasmine reveals her identity. She is taken back to the palace and Aladdin is brought to Jafar, who agrees to spare him in exchange for entering the Cave of Wonders to find a magic lamp.
Aladdin enters the cave, under strict instructions to touch nothing but the lamp, which he must return to Jafar immediately. However, he is undone by attempting to take another piece of treasure and the cave starts collapsing around him, trapping him inside. Lost in the dark, Aladdin rubs the lamp and is shocked when a Genie springs forth and offers to grant him three wishes. He is skeptical of the Genie until the Genie displays his magical prowess. His powers are not limitless, however – Aladdin is forbidden to wish for anything pertaining to murder, romance, revival of the dead, or wishing for additional wishes. In a moment of inspiration, Aladdin manages to trick the Genie into freeing them from the cave without using a wish at all. This leads the Genie to refuse to help Aladdin any further unless he says the words “I wish”. During their conversation, Aladdin discovers that Genie is a prisoner of the lamp and that, were he able to, he would wish for his freedom. Aladdin vows that he will use his final wish to free the Genie.
A parade streams through the streets of Agrabah and at the front are Genie, Kassim, Omar, and Babkak. The extravagant pageant heralds the arrival of Prince Ali of Ababwa, who is secretly Aladdin in disguise. Once he arrives at the palace, Aladdin makes his intentions to marry the Princess clear to the Sultan. Upon overhearing their conversation, Jasmine dismisses Aladdin as yet another arrogant suitor. Distrustful of Prince Ali, Jafar tells him where to find the Princess's chambers, omitting the fact that it is against Agrabah law for an unsupervised admirer to visit her bedroom. Determined to woo Jasmine, Aladdin whisks her away on a magic carpet, given to him by the Genie. When back at the palace, Jasmine suddenly recognizes Aladdin as the street urchin she had met previously at the market. Worried she will not fall for him, he lies and says that he is really a prince who sometimes disguises himself as a peasant to escape from palace life, much as Jasmine had done that day. Recognizing a kindred spirit, Jasmine kisses him. However, after she departs, Jafar has Aladdin arrested. His three friends stage a rescue attempt but find themselves imprisoned too. However, they are aided by the Genie when Aladdin uses his second wish to save them all.
As they are leaving, they come upon the Sultan who gives Aladdin his blessing to marry Princess Jasmine and explains that he will be expected to take over the Sultan’s role in governing Agrabah one day. Terrified of the obligations of this role, Aladdin confides in the Genie that he may need to keep the final wish for his own purposes, rather than for setting the Genie free. This upsets Genie, who returns to his lamp to sulk and gives Aladdin the silent treatment. Aladdin is grieved that he has hurt his friend. In the meantime, Jafar and Iago abduct the lamp with the Genie, which had been hastily dumped by Aladdin.
Whilst making a public announcement of the forthcoming nuptials between Princess Jasmine and Prince Ali, Jafar interrupts the Sultan to reveal the Prince to be Aladdin – a fraud and a guttersnipe. Then enters the Genie, under the command of Jafar, who is now his master, and with the Princess bound in manacles, as per Jafar’s first wish. Jafar demands that the Genie use his second wish to make him Sultan, which the Genie does, grudgingly. However, Aladdin dupes Jafar into pursuing more power by wishing to become a Genie himself. By doing so, Jafar traps himself in a lamp of his own.
Finally, Aladdin comes good on his promise to the Genie and uses his final wish to set him free. He then confesses his love to Jasmine but concedes that he cannot go against his true nature just to be with her. Taken by Aladdin’s integrity, the Sultan relents and declares that Jasmine is free to marry whomever she wishes. Jafar’s assistant Iago is then arrested and Aladdin’s friends become royal advisors. Jasmine and Aladdin have their wedding and the Genie takes off on an overdue vacation. The newlyweds then take to the sky on their magic carpet and fly off into the sunset.
"Dazzling and eye-popping! A magical, wonderful extravaganza!" Marilyn Stasio - Variety
"Seriously, it's amazing!" Joe Dziemianowicz - NY Daily News
"The new Disney blockbuster!" Mark Kennedy - Associated Press
"It's Genie-us! It delivers a rush that will surprise you!" Elysa Gardner - USA Today
"Fabulous! Extravagant!" Charles Isherwood - The New York Times