Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular is a musical show with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, that plays at Disney California Adventure. Based on the Disney film by the same name, the show plays inside Hyperion Theater in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. The show is located right next to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
The production is a Broadway-type show. Many of the classic scenes and songs from the movie are re-created on stage and some of the action even spills out into the aisles, like Prince Ali's jubilant arrival in Agrabah on elephant back. Flying carpets, magic lamps, wise-cracking genies, princesses, and evil wizards - are all a part of this musical production.
This 45 minute production takes place in the 2,000 seat Hyperion Theater, located at the end of Hollywood Blvd. The exterior has design features reminiscent of many classic theaters.
Alan Menken composed and wrote lyrics for a new song for this production, called To Be Free. The show has been quite popular because while much of it is scripted, the dialogue of the Genie constantly changes to reflect popular culture.
When Disney's California Adventure opened, an original Disney musical called Disney's Steps in Time was on stage at the Hyperion. A scaled-down version of the musical Blast! followed.
The plot is based on the 1992 movie Aladdin.
The show opens with the audience meeting a traveller headed towards Agrabah, who offers to "help pass the time with a tale." A screen rises and the Cave of Wonders is visible on stage. The traveler says that it is the setting for "The Tale of the Magic Lamp" and then the actors on stage take over the tale-telling for the remainder of the show.
Jafar, Grand Vizier to the Sultan of the fictional kingdom of Agrabah, is attempting to access the Cave of Wonders for a magical oil lamp containing a genie. He and his talking parrot, Iago, learn that only the metaphorical Diamond in the Rough can enter the cave, or anyone accompanied by him.
The next scene that opens up shows Aladdin in the marketplace of Agrabah, who has stolen an apple and is running away from the guards. He ultimately escapes and the marketplace goes back to normal. As Aladdin is wandering around, he bumps into a girl who is wearing a scarf over her head. He quickly steals another apple and approaches her and offers her the apple. At first she declines, but he insists. He tells her that he can see that she is running away from something and would need help from someone. Just as she accept the apple, the guards reappear, surrounding them. They seize both Aladdin and the girl, calling her his accomplice. He tells them that she is innocent, and at the same time the girl is struggling to free herself. The guard throws her to the ground, and the girl demands that they be treated better. The guards laugh that with the way she was ordering them around, one might think she was the Princess of Agrabah. The girl jumps to her feet and removes her scarf, revealing that she is wearing a beautiful outfit and a crown. She tells the guards that she is, in fact, the princess, and demands that they set Aladdin free. The guards agree, and the princess leaves.
As soon as she is gone, the guards seize Aladdin again and prepare to cut off his hand in punishment for stealing, telling him that no matter what the princess said, they had the authority to handle thievery in the marketplace however they see fit. Just in the nick of time, an old man (who is Jafar in disguise) appears and bribes the guards to free Aladdin unharmed, claiming to be Aladdin's father. He takes Aladdin to the Cave of Wonders and forces him to go down into it, telling him that he had consulted an oracle to determine that Aladdin is the Diamond in the Rough. He strictly warns Aladdin to touch nothing except the lamp. Aladdin enters the cave and discovers a room full of treasure, with the lamp high on a pedestal in the midst of it. As he climbs up towards it, he accidentally knocks over something beside it. The treasure begins disappearing, so he quickly grabs the lamp and ducks for cover as rocks fall down. Once everything is settled, he finds that the rocks have trapped him inside the cave and he meets a magic carpet who was also in the cave. The carpet tells him to rub the lamp, and when Aladdin does so, a genie appears.
Genie tells Aladdin that he would be granted three wishes, with the limitations that 1) he couldn't wish for more wishes, 2) that he couldn't wish to have anyone fall in love with him, and 3) that he couldn't wish to raise the dead. The scene closes with Genie performing a big musical number.
The next scene shows the princess, Jasmine, confronting Jafar and demanding that Aladdin be given, at the very least, a fair trial. Jafar feigns remorse and tells her that Aladdin had already been "disposed of" and that she had bigger issues to be concerned about. Before she has time to react, the Sultan enters. Jafar tells him that they had been discussing her upcoming marriage, for which everything was planned except for whom she would marry. The Sultan tells her that she needs to decide soon, and Jasmine complains that all of her suitors are "egotistical braggarts." Just then, a large procession bursts in, led by the Genie who announces the entry of "Prince Ali, the love of Princess Jasmine's life." It appears that Aladdin has used his first wish to be freed from the cave, and his second wish to become a prince. Aladdin, dressed as Prince Ali, rides up on an elephant, dismounts, and askes Jasmine to marry him. She refuses and runs away. Afterward, the Genie suggests to Aladdin that perhaps that parade approach was not appropriate and that Aladdin should go talk to her alone. Aladdin thanks Genie for his help and promises to use his third wish to free Genie after Jasmine falls in love with him. Aladdin then leaves to go find Jasmine, bringing the magic carpet with him.
The next scene shows Jasmine in her room. She sings a song comparing herself to being a "lucky bird inside a gilded cage." She wishes that she could be like a normal girl and fall in love with someone. Aladdin appears up on her balcony and asks to spend some time with her. She refuses, saying that she believes he was only interested in marrying her for her wealth. She tells him that if he expected her to believe that he was actually in love with her, that he should jump off her balcony. Aladdin does so by jumping down onto the magic carpet. He then shows her the carpet and invites her to go on a ride with him. He tells her he only wants to get to know her better. She agrees and climbs onto the carpet with him. Because of his mannerisms in their exchange, she is momentarily suspicious that he may be the boy she met in the marketplace, but they don't discuss it. After the carpet ride, they kiss and she tells him she needs to go speak with her father about "something very important."
After Jasmine leaves, Genie comes into the room. He asks Aladdin how things went and Aladdin tells him that he and Jasmine are in love. Genie then asks Aladdin to fulfill his promise and use his third wish to free him. Aladdin refuses, saying that he still might need his third wish to keep on fooling Jasmine into thinking he really is a prince. Genie and the carpet both leave angrily.
Immediately after they leave, Jafar and several guards enter the room and arrest Aladdin. He is taken to the main room of the palace. Jafar takes the magic lamp from Aladdin and rubs it, and the Genie appears. Several more guards enter, bringing with them Jasmine and the Sultan. They realize that Jafar has hypnotised the palace guards. Jafar reveals to Jasmine that Prince Ali was actually Aladdin, and that Aladdin had lied to her. Jafar uses his first wish to become the Sultan, and his second wish was to become "the most powerful sorcerer on earth" and prepares to kill Aladdin. Aladdin tricks Jafar by telling him that Genie was more powerful than Jafar could ever be, since Genie had given Jafar his power. Jafar then uses his third wish to become a genie, but is sucked down into the magic lamp as soon as he becomes a genie. The guards become unhypnotised and Genie sends Jafar's lamp to the Cave of Wonders. Iago, not wanted to get thrown out tries to get on their good side, but Genie mentions chicken nuggets (or buffalo wings, regular or extra crispy, Angry Birds or The Hunger Games) which causes Iago to fly away in fear. Jasmine tells the Sultan that she still wants to marry Aladdin, even though he wasn't a prince. The Sultan agrees. Aladdin asks Genie if he still has a third wish, and the Genie says that he does. Aladdin uses it to free the Genie like he promised he would, and then he and Jasmine marry.
Buena Vista Records released an official soundtrack to the production in 2003. This is an original cast recording, and includes almost every piece of music used in the show. The main cast on the recording is Miles Wesley (Aladdin), Dee Dee Magno (Jasmine), Nick Santa Maria (Genie), Lance Roberts (Jafar) and Jamila Ajibade (Narrator).