Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Overture Center features Disney’s ‘Aladdin’

Aladdin, Genie and dancers pictured in Disneys Aladdin
Overture Center
Aladdin, Genie and dancers pictured in Disney’s “Aladdin”

Since its release in 1992, Disney’s “Aladdin” remains a staple in the realm of animated movies beloved by children and adults alike. Now, Aladdin journeys to a “whole new world” on stage as a live musical, touring North American cities including Madison, Wisconsin from Oct. 10-15 at the Overture Center for the Arts.

Internationally-performed actor and singer Sorab Wadia, who plays the “Sultan” in the production, delights us with a sneak peak of the magic “Aladdin” has in store.

This live action encompasses the comfort people crave from the original cartoon, including songs from the movie that foster a sense of nostalgia, while also expanding upon the depth of the story with new Broadway songs and details on Aladdin’s touchingly personal inner dialogue. Wadia described this as, “something new, something borrowed, something blue. It’s like a wedding all over again.”


Just like a wedding, this show does not fail to excite.

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Another part of the enchantment of Disney’s “Aladdin” is the immersion of the program as characters cultivate an unmatched sense of intimacy and wonder. Wadia pondered moments after the show, walking out into the audience, seeing thousands of miniature-Jasmines and other people dressed up as characters. He hears mumbles and exclamations from people who watched the show.

It’s no surprise audiences love “Aladdin,” since Wadia’s favorite part of his role in the production is knowing the audience is thrilled by each performance.

He praises the visuals, a specifically thrilling aspect of the play, saying, “the colors are opulent. The sets and the costumes have this vibrancy with jewel tones, oranges, yellows, reds, fuchsia, turquoise…it’s just a feast for the eyes.”

As the rich hues swirl around the stage like a wind, they illuminate the beautiful choreography and bodily movements that have audiences on the edge of their seats.

This underlines the ability of the production to take one away from themselves and pull them into a world of fiction where one’s wishes can come true.

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One of the most popular numbers is the classic “Friend Like Me.” Shown as a tap number, this song is complemented by a golden, shimmering background in the “Cave of Wonders” Aladdin is trapped in before he meets the Genie. Towers of gold and wonders fill the stage and highlight the casts’ colorful costumes.

A visual representation is only the half of it. The storyline lays the foundation for the audience to have the ability to bond and resonate with the characters. The figure of Aladdin and what he represents is key to this. His story is one of an underdog who makes something of his life from seemingly futile beginnings. As a so-called “street rat,” Aladdin fends for himself by stealing so he doesn’t starve. By the end, Aladdin’s true character comes to light in the center-stage and he is wealthy because of his bountiful riches and friends. Who doesn’t enjoy a story like that?

The live adaptation puts a lens onto a storyline not seen in the movie, attributing Aladdin’s motivations to turn his life around to yearning to make his mother proud. This topic urges the question who doesn’t have someone in their life who inspires them to be their best version of themselves?

“Aladdin” also emphasizes the importance of human connection. While in the movie Aladdin and Jasmine are seen with animal companions Abu the monkey, Iago the bird and Rajah the tiger, the live-action features humans as the main characters’ confidants. Wadia said these characters offer “not just some [comedy], but a lot.” Iago, for example, has a bird-esque persona and squawks while he speaks. Jasmine has three ladies-in-waiting who encourage and support her.

Fostering human connection within the show, however, begins with the cast. The actors, Wadia said, truly become a support-system to each other, similar to a family.

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The joint effort and dedication of the entire cast is not always seen behind the scenes. At first, Wadia said, the sit-down periods between traveling to different cities for the show are weeks long, sometimes even months. As the musical is shown more and more, the sit-down periods become shorter.

“Every Monday you travel, every Tuesday you go to a new theater, you do a soundcheck and settle into your dressing room,” Wadia said. “It’s pretty exhausting.”

There are, however, many benefits to traveling on the job. Wadia said he enjoys the tourist angle of frequent travel, meeting old and new friends as well as sightseeing.

Despite the fast-paced lifestyle touring requires, the actors still manage to dazzle audiences in every performance and meet some of their fans on certain occasions.

Though people may have seen the movie Aladdin and prefer to watch Netflix at home, there’s a beauty in experiencing live entertainment.

“Life is hard,” Wadia said. “Not everyone’s having a great time. We’ve just come out of a pandemic. Everyone has problems and worries and if you can take them away from that for 2 and a half hours, you hear that in their applause and in their cheers at the end of the night which is pretty spectacular.”

In a post-pandemic society with technology becoming ever-so-ingrained in our daily lives, watching a musical like Disney’s “Aladdin” commands us to put down our distractions, ease our minds and live vicariously through a story that encompasses the human experience.

Tickets are available to purchase on the Overture Center for the Arts’ website.

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