Aladdin: A Whole New World - The Road to Broadway and Beyond by Michael Lassell
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
Serving as a spectacular backstage pass into the creative making of Disney’s broadway hit, Aladdin: A Whole New World - The Road to Broadway and Beyond charts the painstaking journey begun in 2009 that would magically bring the production to New York’s New Amsterdam Theatre in 2014. Inviting readers and theatre enthusiasts alike into the many layers that makes a show as extravagant as Aladdin come alive nightly, creative heads from Scenic Designer Bob Crowley and Costume Designer Gregg Barnes to Lighting Designer Natasha Katz, Illusion Designer Jim Steinmeyer and many others, provide insightful takeaways into their inspirations, unique technical challenges and evolving changes presented with ample production sketches and digital renderings of their work prominently displayed. Cutting into the show’s memorable musical tunes, Lassell’s glitzy text covers the difficult yet, creatively rewarding process involving reimagining beloved songs from the film, reintroducing originally discarded selections and conjuring entirely new cuts for the stage. Original film composer Alan Menken, Lyricist Tim Rice, Book helmer Chad Beguelin and Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw all offer their own unique experiences in getting the music just right while, tirelessly applauding the timeless work of the late Howard Ashman. Climbing aboard a magic carpet ride through the show’s rigorous casting process, its experimental Seattle and Toronto showcases before its thrilling Broadway debut plus, its countless international productions in such countries as London, Japan and Australia, Aladdin: A Whole New World - The Road to Broadway and Beyond is a wish come true for stage junkies. Befit with a shimmering purple cover and gold sparkling paper trim, Disney’s detailed account of their animated smash turned glamorous theatrical effort is a true diamond in the rough for those swayed by the marvel of the stage.