Aladdin - Original Broadway Cast Recording
When Disney began its resurgence in the animated film market back in 1989, "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Aladdin" provided the initial trio of hits that would keep the conglomerate in the cultural eye through to the present day. The first two were adapted for the Broadway stage, with "Beast" running for over a decade, so it only seemed fitting that the company's take on, "The Book of One Thousand and One Nights" would eventually grace the Great White Way. Now "Aladdin" is being produced live on stage, and Walt Disney Records has released the soundtrack.
The arrangements have been expanded, and staples from the film such as "Prince Ali," "Arabian Nights," and the Oscar-nominated, "Friend Like Me," have been given dance breaks full of instrumental flourish to provide added entertainment to their listening. But the stage version has also given composer Alan Menken ("Beauty and the Beast," "Newsies") the opportunity to add back songs that were cut from the animated feature ("Barkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim" and "High Adventure") as well as add new songs for Jasmine ("These Palace Walls"), another duet to complement "A Whole New World" (titled "A Million Miles Away") and several other melodies in collaboration with the third lyricist to work with Menken on "Aladdin," Chad Beguelin ("The Wedding Singer").
Additional highlights of the score include the Tony Award-winning performance by James Monroe Iglehart on "Friend Like Me," allowing the actor to make the most of his portrayal of the Genie. Iconically created by Robin Williams for the animated version, Iglehart's Genie has been reimagined as a Cab Calloway-type performer / master of ceremonies, allowing him more audience interaction, and an equally wonderful performance very different from Williams' original. Adam Jacobs is an adorable Aladdin, and with the addition of songs for Jasmine, Courtney Reed has the chance to be enjoyed as well on this recording. Two entertaining Bonus Tracks include a medley of Disney classics performed by Iglehart and Jacobs, as well as a demo of "Proud of Your Boy" with Jacobs accompanied by Menken on piano.
Disney's legion of fans will embrace this new recording, especially with the added material, but the unconverted will most likely stay that way.
Alan Menken / James Monroe Iglehart / Adam Jacobs
CD and digital formats
Walt Disney Records