“Aladdin” Broadway 2014 review

“Aladdin” came to Broadway in Spring 2014 and on Apr. 29, 2014 was nominated for five Tony awards. I saw the new musical in New York on Broadway on Apr. 27, 2014.

The cast included Broadway star Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, Tony nominee James Monroe as the Genie. Courtney Reed as Jasmine and Jonathan Freeman who was the original voice for Jafar in the Disney animated movie, which is the role he played in the musical.

The musical was great and very well done. Jacobs was fantastic as Aladdin, he has a great voice, looked the part, young. He fit the role perfectly. Monroe as the Genie was easily the favorite out of the cast. He has a great voice, humor and overall did a fantastic job. Reed was a fantastic Jasmine. She has the youth, great voice and portrayed Jasmine as she is meant to be portrayed, strong willed and a woman who knows what she wants. Freeman as Jafar was great having done the voice in the Disney adaption. A bit disappointing that he only sang one song though and it was toward the end of the musical when he did sing.

Overall it was great to see one of my favorite Disney movies come to life in a musical. The new music was great and the staging was done very well, along with the costumes. The main thing that impressed me was the magic carpet during “A Whole New World.” There were no wires, no air; it was the definition of magic. I found it really interesting how they replaced Abu the monkey with three men as Aladdin’s sidekicks, Babkak portrayed by Brian Gonzales, Omar portrayed by Jonathan Schwartz and Kassim portrayed by Brandon O’Neill. Iago the parrot was also replaced as a human portrayed by Don Darryl Rivera. Fantastic cast and a great musical.

“Les Miserables” Broadway 2014 review

On March 2014 “Les Miserables” came back to Broadway. On Apr. 29, 2014 it was nominated for three Tonys. I got the chance to see it in New York on Broadway on Apr. 26, 2014.

The cast included West End star, and now Tony nominee, Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean. Co-staring alongside him was Will Swenson as Javert, Caissie Levy as Fantine, Keala Settle as Madame Thenardier, Cliff Saunders as Thenardier, Nikki M. James as Eponine, Andy Mientus (Kyle Bishop “Smash”) and Melissa Mitchell understudying the role of Cosette.

The entire cast was phenomenal, but the person who stood out the most was Karimloo. Karimloo, he became Jean Valjean, he was not just portraying the role he was that amazing. Karimloo portrayed Jean Valjean as a physically strong man and one who has faced the hardships of life that he cannot quite let go of, while still portraying Jean Valjean as a very spiritual, Christian man. His “Bring Him Home” was simply beautiful, he sang it like a prayer and had beautiful hand movements.

Swenson portrayed Javert as a very spiritually strong character, and then portrayed Javert as such a broken man by the end. Swenson’s portrayal of Javert was very moving and portrayed him in a whole new light. Mientus was an amazing Marius and has a fantastic voice. James as Eponine was good, but not great as Eponine, great acting, it was just her voice for the role. Mitchell was amazing as Cosette, very hard to believe she was the understudy. Sanders and Settle were absolutely amazing in their roles and hilarious. Kyle Scatliffe was great as Enjolras, tall and determined, with a great voice to match.

Overall the show was amazing, great sets, great lighting and a fantastic cast. They all brought something new to the roles and blew me away, especially Ramin Karimloo. I have never seen, or felt, an actor make me feel like they were the role like Karimloo did, he just blew me away. I was not watching an actor portray the role of Jean Valjean, I felt like he was Jean Valjean.