Imagination Stage presents Aladdin’s Luck, a play about a beggar boy who falls in love with a princess, before discovering a magic lamp that grants wishes. However, when one is granted unlimited fortune and power, how does it change them? Is it possible to be too lucky? The production is written by Janet Stanford and beautifully directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer.
Scenic Designer Elizabeth Jenkins McFadden deserves special praise for a truly gorgeous set. An Arabian castle frames the stage, with onion domes reaching skyward. Drapes sprawl across the stenciled walls, beautiful colored lanterns hang from the ceiling, and, of course, the floor is covered with Persian rugs. What makes this stunning set even better – is the fact that the rear wall has videos (designed by Adam Larsen) projected onto it during the show, helping to move along the plot while adding exciting special effects. The floor also conceals a trapdoor that, when opened, pours white fog out onto the stage, much to the audience’s delight. Music composed by Fahir Atakoglu compliments the show with an authentically Persian soundtrack, and Lighting Designer Jason Arnold creatively uses a misty collage of colored spotlights to create a dappled atmosphere, which shines gold for daylight and twinkles with stars at nighttime. Costume designer Katie Touart wows the audience by dressing her actors in colorful prints and patterns, using shawls, head wraps, and delightful accessories to make the characters come alive. Together, this talented team of designers create an environment that catches and holds your attention, from start to finish.
The cast is interactive with the young audience members from the word ‘go.’ Michael Glenn, who begins the play as a baker selling his goods, walks along the audience and haggles prices with the children with a booming, friendly voice. The shyer children blush and try not to catch his eye, while the more eager ones raise their hands or stand, waving emphathically. At one of the best scenes – the wedding feast – the cast has the entire audience stand and dance along with them.
Aladdin appears (Christopher Wilson) with his friend Omar, one part of many for Katie deBuys. Hungry and poor, we see that he is also clever, as he succeeds in convincing his friend to steal a sesame cake from the baker. However, Aladdin loses his prize when he crosses paths with princess Leilah, also played by Katie deBuys. Along the way Aladdin’s fate is soon tested when he encounters the greedy Al Zarnati, again played by Michael Glenn, who secures the boy’s admiration with magical tricks, and the promise to teach him the art of magic if he accompanies him on a journey to find the genie in the magic lamp. Aladdin ignores the pleas of his mother (again, Katie deBuys), who warns him of the “shifting sands of magic, on which no man can stand for long,” and sets off with Al Zarnati for 1001 days through a windy and dangerous desert. And there are plot twists and changes in Aladdin’s personality, and it causes many problems.
Can Aladdin, who has become reliant on his magical lamp, figure out how to reclaim his love and happiness using his only resource—himself? Can he find a way back to his old, clever identity, and save Leilah? Or does the greed brought upon by unlimited wishes prove to be his downfall? You have to see the show to see what happens.
With a fantastic set, enthusiastic and gifted actors, and an interesting, engaging, and meaningful plot, Aladdin’s Luck is an absolute joy to watch.
Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.