Last year we went to see O.A.K. Youth Theater’s production of Beauty and The Beast and WOW, it was amazing – see blog post here – so when they announced Aladdin earlier this year, I was probably one of the first to purchase a ticket.
Aladdin (1992) A kindhearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true.
O.A.K. retells the classic Disney fantasy with modern twists and turns, humor and classic nostalgia. The cast is made up of 45 talented singers, dancers and contortionists. Ladies and gentlemen, there is no lip-syncing here, these kids CAN SING! It’s The Greatest Showman (2017) meets Aladdin.
Aladdin is played by the very handsome Miguel de Sampaio. I don’t believe that it is a coincidence that Miguel looks remarkably like a young Zac Efron – guys I am not even kidding, it’s doppelganger resemblance.
The charming Eldiré Strauss portrays a very beautiful Princess Jasmine. In O.A.K.’s reproduction, Princess Jasmine has a sassy little sister, Princess Chamomile, who has you in stitches in the first couple of scenes as she teases Jasmine mercilessly about choosing a prince to marry.
In Beauty and The Beast in 2018, Matthew Otto was my favorite on-stage personality with his portrayal of Gaston. I was ecstatic to see him cast as the boisterous Genie this year. His acting skills and stage personality is made for this role.
Music and Dance:
After the opening scene with the classic narrator introduction, the cast jumps straight into the toe-tapping rendition of “The Greatest Showman” originally performed by Hugh Jackman, Keala Settle, Zac Efron, Zendaya and The Greatest Showman Ensemble – this already gives you a sense of how much fun the production is. Dancing includes acrobatics-; hip-hip-; modern-; ballet-; Gatsby and tap-dancing.
The second song is performed by Aladdin, Zahar and Princess Jasmine respectively with their rendition of “A Million Dreams” originally performed by Ziv Zaifman, Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams. It shows how each character has their own dreams of a “better” or “different life”. Zahar’s ending note being “a million dreams of a world I am going to take…” [insert crowd laughter and applause here].
The show continues with scene after scene of talented acting, singing and dancing, humoristic comments and nuances, making references to classic fantasy tales like Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, and The Road to El Dorado, and modern pop culture like the loveable Baymax, Baby Shark, Harry Potter, Frozen and Game of Thrones. Donald Trump, Jacob Zuma, SARS, Susan Boyle and Lord of The Rings are made fun of (very tastefully) and of course the show would not be complete without true Aladdin classics like “Friend Like Me” originally performed by Robin Williams and “A Whole New World” originally performed by Lea Salonga and Brad Kane.
Other songs include:
- The Other Side by Hugh Jackman & Zac Efron
- Treasure by Bruno Mars
- I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers
- Havana by Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug
- Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett, GoonRock
- Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars
Genie – Matthew Otto:
Matthew shines!!!… like a Genie diamond. His on-stage personality bursts at the seams with singing and dancing talent, quick wit and Elton John-like attitude. His quips are quick, and on-point and he has the crowd in the palm of his hand throughout the whole show.
His funniest quote – “Maleficent wants her dress back!”
His funniest moment – “I am Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65
Once again – well done and congratulations to O.A.K. Youth Theater on another spectacular production.
Image credit: O.A.K. Youth Theater Facebook Page