It’s unlikely that anyone, let alone a genie, will grant you three wishes.
That’s too bad, because a ticket to “Aladdin” at the Orpheum Theater wouldn’t be a wasted wish, even considering all the other things you might want.
The musical grabs you from the moment the curtain rises on a stage filled with brilliant color. It’s way more vivid and in-your-face than the animated film — and it can leave you mesmerized. It’s not hard to believe that designers used more than 2,000 fabrics in the sumptuous costumes. Lights magically create a starlit desert night, a sun-soaked marketplace and an unusual cave. And you have to see the scenery to believe it, especially the aforementioned cavern.
It’s all what you’d expected from a Disney product. And, befitting the brand, it’s more than just a visual treat.
This show requires performers to be expert vocalists, athletic dancers and comic actors, and, for the most part, this touring cast is up to the challenge:
» Clinton Greenspan, who plays Aladdin, was a competitive gymnast when he was younger. He uses that to his advantage as he runs, leaps and dances. If he’s onstage, chances are he’s moving. He’s a credible actor, as well, embracing his character’s brash-street-kid-with-a-heart-of-gold persona.
» Michael James Scott excels in everybody’s favorite role, the Genie, which requires rapid-fire dialogue and way, way over-the-top delivery. He was the crowd favorite.
» Jonathan Weir made it easy to hate the villainous Jafar, and Jay Paranada was lovable as his sycophantic sidekick, Iago. They were the quintessential Disney bad guys.
» Lissa deGuzman portrays Princess Jasmine as a confident, no-nonsense (even a little hard-edged) woman, an example of how Disney heroines have evolved since I was a kid. She has a lovely singing voice — Jasmine’s signature duet with Aladdin, “A Whole New World,” was breathtaking, and not only because they were soaring above the stage on a magic carpet.
The carpet ride was one of many elements that made it from the film to the stage. It was handled so skillfully that it was impossible to see how it was achieved. Add in some surprising pyrotechnics (watch for them), and the special effects in this show were indeed special.
Songs from the movie, including “A Whole New World,” “Prince Ali” and “Arabian Nights,” were familiar and welcome, especially with the 30-somethings in the crowd. But my favorite song, “Proud of Your Boy,” isn’t in the movie.
The plot is substantially the same as the film: Aladdin, a street rat, finds a magic lamp and gets three wishes from a genie. He uses them to woo Princess Jasmine, whom he meets when she escapes expectations at the palace for a brief visit to the marketplace.
Part of Aladdin’s motivation is to live up to the example of his deceased parents, and “Proud of Your Boy” gives that plot element some depth. Greenspan performs the ballad with feeling in the first act.
One departure from the film is the absence of Abu, Aladdin’s monkey friend. He’s replaced by three street-kid friends for Aladdin, played by Zach Bencal, Philippe Arroyo and Jed Feder. They were a worthy substitute.
In the end, I found the show to be dazzling and a little dizzying. My companions said it may have been the best musical they’ve seen at the Orpheum (a lot of their opinions were based on an absolutely show-stopping production number, “Friend Like Me”), but I stopped short of that.
The show moves so fast that you just can’t grasp some of the lyrics and dialogue, and I always detract points when that happens because I leave feeling cheated. Chad Beguelin’s book and lyrics by Beguelin, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice (set to tunes by Alan Menken) deserve to be understood.
Kids won’t care, however, and they were having a blast at Thursday’s performance. I was surprised that it kept the attention of the youngest people in the audience. Their parents were having a marvelous time, as well.
And, for the most part, the show’s amazing sights and sounds were enough for me, too.
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Nate Croom's eyelashes frosted over while running the trails at the Chalco Hills Recreation Area on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska, as morning temperatures were at or near zero. Croom said he prepared for his run by dressing appropriately and by knowing which way the wind was blowing.
Ruby Kraft, 16, and Haley Gann, 16, students from Mercy High School explore a tent-like structure constructed of stainless steel, acrylic and LEDs surrounded by large flowers created by Taylor Dean Harrison which is part of an interactive and visual art exhibition experience called light at KANEKO that explores art and science through light in Omaha, Nebraska, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018.
Omaha Burke's Jakason Burks executes a backflip after defeating Millard South's Caleb Coyle during the 106-pound Class A final of the NSAA State Wresting Championships at the CenturyLink Center Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018.
Omaha Westside's Quinn Weidemann gets hit in the nose after the ball gets loose from Lincoln Pius X's Grace Driewer during the first round of the Class A Nebraska girls state basketball tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Thursday, March 1, 2018.
Millard South's Tess Calder jumps in the arms of Makenna Bray as they celebrate their win over Lincoln East during the semifinals of the Class A Nebraska girls state basketball tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Friday, March 2, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Sharon Vencil walks her dogs Blackie and Whitie along the Field Club Trail on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska. Vencil said the weather wasn't too bad, but she was still being cautious not to fall on the slick trail.
Lorde performs at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Omaha South goalie Adrian Felix Gabriel stretches for a Kearney shot during a Class A Nebraska boys state soccer semifinal game at Morrison Stadium on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska.
Ranchers transfer several hundred yearling steers along Nebraska Highway 92 on a 40 plus mile cattle drive over three days to summer grass in Tryon, Nebraska, on Thursday, May 17, 2018. The McNutt family has made this a tradition as this year marks the 50th annual cattle drive.
Millard South right fielder Dylan Wagner makes a diving catch of a sinking line drive off of the bat of Omaha Creighton Prep's Drew Dunham for the last out of the fifth inning during the Class A Nebraska state baseball tournament at Werner Park on Thursday, May 17, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska. The score was tied and Prep had runners on second and third with two outs.
Fremont's Lucas Arps, celebrates after winning the Class A 400 meter dash final alongside Omaha Burke's Michael Payne, left, and Lincoln High's Leeaaron Berks, right, during the NSAA State Track and Field Championships at Omaha Burke High School in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday, May 19, 2018.
After dropping to the sidewalk crying "Why, why?" Vanessa Wesson of Omaha, who said she was the older sister of Jasmine Harris, is comforted by close friend and cousin DaShawn Alford of Omaha, Nebraska, left, at a memorial for twenty-year-old Jasmine Harris on the Gene Leahey Mall at 11th and Farnam Streets in Omaha on Sunday, June 3, 2018. Harris was killed and six others were injured late Saturday at 11th and Farnam Streets in what police suspect was a gang-related shooting in downtown Omaha.
Storms left Omaha, Nebraska, with a Spectacular sunset looking west on Leavenworth Street from 36th Street on Monday, June 11, 2018.
A man crosses S. 19th Street along Farnam Street as the sunset begins to glow after a storm passed through downtown Omaha, Nebraska, on Monday, June 11, 2018.
Mammatus clouds are seen with the steeple from Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska, on Monday, June 11, 2018.
Mississippi State's Jake Mangum (15), Elijah MacNamee (40), Justin Foscue (17) and Luke Alexander (7), cheer Jordan Westburg as he comes into score after hitting a second-inning grand slam against North Carolina during game six of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.
Jett Durham, of Arkansas, attempts to take cover during a heavy down pour causing a weather delay prior to game one of the championship series in the College World Series between Oregon State and Arkansas at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska, Monday, June 25, 2018. The game has been postponed until Tuesday, June 26, 2018.
Arkansas' Kacey Murphy throws a pitch in the third inning. Arkansas played Oregon State in game two of the Championship Series of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska.
Arkansas pitcher Kacey Murphy throws a pitch in the third inning against Oregon State in game two of the Championship Series of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska.
From left- Anilo Saavedra of Omaha, Nebraska, Izchel Gleason of Elkhorn, Nebraska, Raymundo Montes of Omaha and Israel Gaytan of Mexico City. Fans of Mexico National Football react as Sweden scores a goal in FIFA World Cup action. The group gathered at El Dorado Mexican Restaurant at 5134 South 24th Street in Omaha to watch the game on the big screen on Wednesday, June 27, 2018.
Arkansas' Casey Martin celebrates after beating Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman's tag as he scores in the fifth inning. Arkansas played Oregon State in game two of the Championship Series of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska.
Arkansas' Heston Kjerstad (18), Grant Koch (33) and Carson Shaddy (20) walk back to the locker room after earning runner-up during game three of the Championship Series in the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska, Thursday, June 28, 2018. Oregon State's defeated Arkansas 5-0 to win the College World Series.
Owners Ken Schroeder, left, and Rick Daly on The Diner's last day at 12th and Harney Streets in the Old Market in Omaha, Nebraska, on Sunday, July 1, 2018. The iconic building will be torn down to make way for a new hotel. Owners Rick Daly and Ken Schroeder will reopen Tuesday inside Billy Frogs. According to their Facebook page they will be operating The Diner at Billy Frogs as well as an adjacent coffee shop they're calling Java Daddies.
Chakakan Spearman of Omaha, Nebraska, enjoys pecan pie ice cream at the first Annual Taste of North Omaha at the Hope Center on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018.
David H. Moore, left, and his daughter Taylor Moore pose for a portrait at David's Lincoln, Nebraska, apartment on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. David is the brother of Carey Dean Moore, who was executed at theNebraska Department of Correctional Services on Tuesday in Lincoln. Moore became the first inmate put to death since 1997, and the first using lethal injection to carry out Nebraska's ultimate penalty. He was executed for the 1979 slayings of Omaha cabdrivers Reuel Van Ness and Maynard Helgeland.
Nebraska's head football coach Scott Frost walks off the bus as he arrives at Memorial Stadium for the Unity Walk prior to the a college football game against Akron the at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018.
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost leads the Huskers on the field for the first time as coach. Nebraska played Akron for only a few downs of the football game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska. The game was canceled because of heavy rain and lightning.
Morgan Peatrowsky of West Point, Nebraska, stands in the rain as the crowd is cleared from the bleachers because of lightning. Nebraska played Akron for only a few downs in a football game before it was canceled at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. (8) fails to make a catch while guarded by Colorado's Evan Worthington (6) and Delrick Abrams (1) during the third quarter of a college football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. Colorado defeated Nebraska 33-28.
By taking part in the the Nebraska 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, firefighters honor their fallen FDNY firefighter, NYPD, PAPD and EMS comrades from 9/11/01 by climbing the equivalent of 110 stories on the stairs at Werner Park in Papillion, Nebraska, on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018.
Anthony Garcia appears unresponsive during his sentencing hearing at the Douglas County Courthouse in Omaha, Nebraska, on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Garcia was sentenced to death for the murder of four Omahans.
Apartment complex owner Kay Anderson, right, argues with Preston Love during an afternoon press conference on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, as the city of Omaha, Nebraska, moves to inspect and potentially shut down the squalid Yale Park Apartments at 34th and Lake Streets, which is home to as many as 500 Myanmar refugees.
Inspectors in protective suits enter an apartment complex as the city of Omaha, Nebraska, moves to inspect and potentially shut down the squalid Yale Park Apartments at 34th and Lake Streets, which is home to as many as 500 Myanmar refugees, on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.
Julie Copley, of Offutt Air Force Base, releases the first of three bald eagles at the Neale Woods Nature Center in Omaha, Nebraska, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.
A man riding a motorcycle while wearing an American flag helmet travels past an artistic vote mural on South 10th Street in South Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018.
Justin Chenier works on strength and balance with physical therapist Travis Eichenberger, right, and physical therapy tech Nora Gruhn, left, on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. Chenier spent two weeks in the intensive care unit at Methodist Hospital after being diagnosed with West Nile Virus and Guillain-Barre syndrome. He became paralyzed from the chest down. He's now in inpatient rehab and has regained use of his hands and arms. He has some feeling in his legs.
A bumble bee gets pollen from a prairie aster on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska.
Purdue's D.J. Knox (1) leaps over Nebraska's Lamar Jackson (21) bringing the ball to the 1-yard-line during the second quarter of a college football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018.
A sweeping landscape sets the scene of people and alpacas at the 11th annual National Alpaca Farm Day open house event held at Alpacas of the Heartland in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018.
Bud Crawford knocks down Jose Benavidez Jr. during a boxing match at the CHI Health Center on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Crawford knocked Benavidez down with a right uppercut with about 45 seconds left in the fight. He battered him until referee Celestino Ruiz stepped in to wave off the fight at 2 minutes, 42 seconds.
Water drips from a leaf on a tree at Holmes Lake Recreation Area as it rains on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Trent Anzalone, right, and Aaron Gum of Omaha, Nebraska, pose for a portrait with their 1981 DMC-12 DeLoreans in the parking lot of Saint Michael Lutheran Church in Omaha on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. Richard Anzalone and Aaron Gum are two Omaha men who each have a DeLorean made to look like the time machine in "Back to the Future." Richard also has a golf cart made to look like the DeLorean.
Nebraska's Noah Vedral sits in the end zone after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Nebraska played Bethune-Cookman in a football game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
On Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, Danielle Howell of Bennington, Nebraska, left, and Nancy Katz of Omaha, Nebraska, embrace during a memorial service honoring those killed in Saturday's shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The service was held at Beth El Synagogue in Omaha.
Nick Rucker rehearses at his apartment on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska. Rucker is an Army veteran who did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He credits his family, music and CrossFit in helping him overcome his abuse of alcohol.
Marlene Rodgers, fourth from left, gets hugs and thanks from Frank Caccomo, his daughter Amy, his son Frank Jr. and his wife Lois at the Donut Stop well after midnight on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska. It was the last night the Donut Stop was open for business. It closed its doors after 30 years. Frank and Lois were Rodger's employees.
Wahoo High School's Sydney Barnes plays the trumpet in the pep band as WHS took on Bishop Neumann High School in a semifinal volleyball match at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska, during the NSAA State Volleyball Championships.
A tear rolls down Lincoln Lutheran's Marriah Buss's cheek, left, as she hugs Hope Leimbach during the Nebraska C1 state volleyball tournament at the Bob Devaney Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.
An RC-135 does a flyover of the parade route during the playing of the National Anthem. Patriotic pride was on display during Bellevue, Nebraska's Veteran's Day parade along Mission Avenue in Old Town on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.
Nebraska's Jaevon McQuitty (4), Tanner Farmer (63) and Jordan Ober (84) participate in the tunnel walk before a college football game against Michigan State at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018.
Nebraska's Barret Pickering, center, celebrates scoring a fourth quarter field goal with teammates Tanner Farmer, left, and Kurt Rafdal, right. Nebraska played Michigan State at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Kalan Addams, left, and her wife Lexi Addams, right, of Plattsmouth, Nebraska, hug their newly-adopted son Spencer Addams, 2, during the 19th annual National Adoption Day event held at the Douglas County Civic Building in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018.
Aurora's Alexander Peters does a flip in front of his teammates as they celebrate their win over Ord for the Class C1 Nebraska state football title at Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Marquette's Martha Konovodoff dives into the TV announcers while going for a loose ball in the first set against Creighton during the championship match of the Big East volleyball tournament at Sokol Arena on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska.
Dick Harrington, director of the Bellevue Knights of Columbus' Final Salute Society, reverently holds the burial flag during the internment ceremony of Vietnam veteran Stanley C. Stoltz at the Omaha National Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018.
From left: Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, takes questions as Olivia Orozco, Orozco the patrol horse, and police officer Nate Waller listen at the police barn on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska. The Omaha Police Department officially welcomed Mounted Patrol Horse Orozco to the Mounted Patrol Unit. Orozco, also known as Red, was donated by Officer Kerrie Orozco's husband, Hector Orozco. When work and family required more time than he could spend riding and caring for Red, Hector decided to donate him to the Omaha Police Mounted Patrol Unit.
Large snowflakes fall in midtown Omaha, Nebraska, on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018.
Renita Chalepah, mother of Zachary BearHeels, cries as she talks at the Douglas County Courthouse on Dec. 10, 2018, following the trial of Scotty Payne. Payne was found not guilty in the death of BearHeels.
Fifth-grader Cecilia Taylor does her makeup as a clown during a theater makeup class at Dundee Elementary on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska. Taylor has been participating in the classes for three years.
The Salvation Army Tree of Lights, traffic lights, street lights, headlights and brake lights create a Christmas scene looking west on Cass Street toward 90th Street and W. Dodge Road on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska.