"This story takes place in Agrabah, City of Enchantment, where every beggar has a story and every camel has a tail..."
And so begins the family musical, Disney's Aladdin Jr., showing until Labour Day weekend at the Greg Frewin Theatre in Niagara Falls.
This $1.6-million production, offered in a fun Broadway-style, doesn't stray too far from the popular 1992 Disney movie Aladdin. That means songs from the Academy award-winning score, including the romantic song "A Whole New World," can be enjoyed during the show.
Along with the songs that are performed live, families can see Disney characters come to life. There's the heroic Aladdin, beautiful Jasmine, scheming Jafar (who still has his side-kick Iago hanging around, but just not in the same form as in the movie) and, of course, everyone's favorite: the genie.
The genie steals the show, just as in the movie, with his quick wit, comedic timing and entertaining rendition of the Oscar nominated song, "A Friend like Me."
And what about the magic carpet? Does that other floating, fun "star" make an appearance? Well, yes and no.
The magic carpet is present during Aladdin and Jasmine's dreamy duet, but it will take a bit of imagination on the part of the audience to see the lovely couple soaring as high as some of the notes they hit as the magic carpet is rolled in and out (by the very obvious stage handlers) for that one scene.
Other than that small detraction from the original premise, the costumes, lighting and acoustics complement the talented artists who are definitely all triple threats in their own right.
The theatre, which seats 700, makes it easy for families to have a great time. A meal is offered before the show (for an extra charge) at the wide tables with sofa-type seating. For those not sitting at tables, booster seats are available for the younger kids.
There is one, 20-minute break during the show which runs just under two hours, allowing the kids and parents to grab some munchies. Ice cream, chips and juices are available for purchase. There is also a bar for parents who prefer more elaborate drinks.
Parking is limited in front of the theatre, but there is plenty behind and at the side. Make sure you arrive a few minutes early just in case you need to park a little farther.
The St. Catharines-Niagara Holiday Inn is offering an all-inclusive package for families wishing to stay in the Niagara region and experience Disney Aladdin Jr. Starting at $269.00 (plus taxes and gratuities) a family of four (2 adults, 2 children) can stay for one night at the Holiday Inn, receive four tickets to the musical and a $20 breakfast credit at the hotel's restaurant, Vecera. But wait, there's more... the kids will also receive a welcome gift upon arrival.
For more information: stcatharines.holiday-inn.com.
Tickets for the Disney Aladdin Jr. show range from $28.00 to $60.00 (plus GST). Tickets can be ordered online. For more information: gregfrewintheatre.com.
Travel writer A.P. Rodrigues can be contacted through R + R Creative