A VHS tape of Disney’s 1992 animated film “Aladdin” got a workout when Claire Hoff was a kid.
Ask Hoff, now 30, how many times she watched it, and she laughs.
“When we first got it,” she said, “probably a couple of times a week at least.”
Though she liked the story, the music was by far her favorite part of the film. She used to walk around the house when she was 4 years old, belting out a signature song with gusto — and considerable volume.
Even now, the song sticks with her for a while when she hears it or thinks about “Aladdin.”
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“When I found out we were going to see the musical this week, that ‘Prince Ali’ song was in my head for a few days,” she said.
Hoff will be among thousands of people who attend Disney’s touring Broadway show “Aladdin: The Musical” during its 10-day run at the Orpheum Theater. Many of them will remember similar childhood experiences. Chad Beguelin, who wrote the musical’s book, said the people behind the Tony-nominated show have been surprised to see young couples on dates in the audience. They had it pegged as strictly a family show.
“It’s not just people with kids,” Beguelin said. “It’s such an entertaining and beautifully designed show that moves at a fast comic pace.”
Hoff is eager to compare the live musical to the film. It has all the favorite songs from the screen version, plus some that were cut from the film and new songs with lyrics by Beguelin and music by Alan Menken, who wrote the movie score.
“I’m looking forward to how it’s going to be interpreted on a live stage,” said Hoff, who is the assistant vice president for program evaluation for the Nebraska Children’s Connected Youth Initiative.
By all accounts, “Aladdin: The Musical” has gorgeous sets, lavish costumes and amazing special effects — yes, there’s a flying magic carpet — in addition to catchy music and boisterous dance numbers. It takes 75 people to create each performance, including actors, crew, musicians, dressers, hairstylists and makeup artists.
Beguelin gives the credit for the show’s dazzle and appeal to director Casey Nickolaw, who also directed “The Book of Mormon” and “Spamalot.”
“He knows how to stage a production like nobody’s business,” the writer said.
For Hoff, “Aladdin” is a chance to recapture great memories. She’s attending the show Thursday night with her mom.
“It will be a little piece of childhood, I suppose,” she said, “and reliving some fun songs that I loved dearly.”