Thursday, April 13, 2017

Disney's Aladdin - North American Tour playing at the Cadillac Palace in Chicago

Another magnet added to the collection
I saw the second performance of Disney's Aladdin North American Tour last night at the Cadillac Palace from three rows from the backrow in the balcony - and I want to go see it again!

I've been a subscriber of Broadway in Chicago for near 10 years now and although I was not excited about many of the shows in this years spring package - I was excited about Aladdin.

The one thing about a Disney Production is that it is a PRODUCTION.  Oh my goodness, the costumes, the sets (even though it's a touring set), the dancers and the leads make it one heck of a show.

Don't think that you're going to get a scene by scene rendering of the classic 1992 movie starring Robin Williams - you're going to get something different and better.  I know sacrilegious, right?  But it is a different show.  The theme is the same, the scenes are the same but they don't try to disguise people as animals (i.e. Iago) instead you've got fully fleshed out character and his side-kick has been transformed into three best friends.

This tour includes the original Ali - Adam Jacobs and introduces Anthony Murphy as the Genie.  Adam was wonderful and kept the show grounded because Anthony blew the roof off.  At first he really reminded me of Titus Burgess' character Titus Andromeda from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but then he morphed, and morphed again he had one-liner after one-liner and not old ones, new ones.

Enough has been written about the show itself, but this is the first production of the National Tour so that's why it requires being written about.  The show is so popular that it's been extended until September 10th and to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if it were extended through the Holidays.

The thing with an actual Disney production, and not the faux kind like the last touring company of "Disney's Beauty and The Beast" presented by "not Disney," is that you get a REAL show.  From the very opening notes of the orchestra you're swept away to the dessert and land of Agrabah.

The costumes were beautiful, brightly colored and the men were mostly shirtless - I was for once sad that I was three rows from the back instead of three rows from the front!  For only the second "public" performance by this Cast, they have really pulled it together.  There were a few klumps along the way, but there was nothing that was distracting or made you go tsk tsk.

I would seriously go again to just watch the Cave of Wonders/Friend Like Me number over and over.
 Up until that point the sets were expected, they did a good job of portraying the scene but they were just good.  OMG, the Cave of Wonders was AMAZING and it just kept going and going.  When he first entered the Cave there were a few things on stage, and then more came from the fly space, more came from the sides, more came from down in front it just kept coming and coming and truly became a Cave of Wonders.

This is the scene where Ali meets Genie for the first time and Genie sings "Friend Like Me" a nearly 8 minute long production number with nearly the entire cast jumping up from inside the stage, appearing in columns magically on stage, performing a magic chest trick, wearing rhinestone tuxedos that were blinding me three-rows from the back - it was spectacular and THEN there was the tap number, pyrotechnics and confetti!  When the number finished the audience clapped for nearly 3 minutes, seriously we just clapped and clapped and clapped it was awe inspiring and probably one of the best scenes I have ever seen on stage, so much better than Be Our Guest - meh!  The cast really pulled it together and presented a spectacular number, I can only imagine that it will get better the more they perform it.

Yep, that's my view from my seats
I haven't even talked about the Magic Carpet yet - that transition from Jasmine's room to the carpet is a bit wonky, but once they're on the carpet it's amazing.  Perhaps it was a mix up but the entire scene was REALLY dark, like from the third row from the back I could barely see what was going on.  I know there's some amazing technology behind making that carpet go all over the stage, but it was just really too dark to see what was going on.  It's like when they don't want you to really see the monster in a horror movie so it's really dark - it was that dark.  The scene itself was beautiful to watch, I seriously thought they were about to do a Mary Poppins and have them fly off the stage into the audience.  Sidenote:  Mary Poppins started it's National Tour in Chicago in the same theater.

One of the nice things I like about being a subscriber - is getting to see the show EARLY, literally this was the second public performance of this cast and it's going to be running through September.  I would like to go back and see it later this year if I can find some affordable tickets, just to see how much better they are going to get as they hit their marks, find their groove and really get into the show, I know they'll be phenomenal.

Find out more information about Disney's Aladdin playing at Broadway In Chicago





Monday, February 13, 2017

Updating the Dog GPS

This is our dog Deeohji, we recently had a medical scare with him and he ended up in the animal hospital for three days and "in recovery" at home for about 2 weeks.

He's doing better now and we have a follow-up appointment later this week, but ever since the "scare" he's been sniffing up a storm.

During the recovery period we wouldn't spend much time outdoors, literally pee, poop and back in the house.  Honestly he wasn't up to much walking either, in fact we've just gotten back in to our normal "walk around the block."

One strange thing since then is that he is a sniffing fiend.  Literally he'll walk 30 feet and have to stop and sniff the air, seeing who's around.

I'm wondering if his stay at the hospital reset his doggy GPS?

So now our walks take twice as long because he's trying to remap the neighborhood.