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Theatre Review (Ivins, Utah): Aladdin at Tuacahn

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Tuacahn is a wonderful open-air amphitheatre built into the red rocks of southern Utah. For the past several seasons Disney has allowed them to present the first post-Broadway productions of Tarzan and The Little Mermaid. Now Tuacahn is presenting a new Disney musical, Aladdin, which is a newly expanded and revised production of a version that debuted at Seattle’s 5th Street Theatre. There is also a production of the show being presented at Disneyland three times a day with three different casts.

The Tuacahn production is special, however, with added songs and characters that had been cut from the original 1992 movie. Tuacahn has also thrown in everything but the kitchen sink and I am not sure if that isn’t in there too.

Structurally they have added three characters that guide the viewer through a story which features illusions, camels, horses, flying carpets, giant water effects, and a live interactive 3D movie created especially for this production. They say the new script is loosely based on a “road picture” with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. The whole experience is not unlike a ride at Disneyland, full of surprises and thrills.

The cast is, for the most part, quite good. A handsome, smiling Dan Domenech plays Aladdin. Haley Carlucci is his Jasmine. The mischievous Edward Juvier is the wisecracking genie. Paul C. Vogt was also to be part of the cast, but he had departed the day before I arrived and sad to say his replacement was rather lackluster. But in any case, in this cast of 60 or so were several actors with Broadway credits. Also attached to the theatre is the Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts, so many of these kids are trained. You can see this training in the terrific choreography by Deanna Dys. Scott S. Anderson is the director.

Aladdin plays through October 19 at the Tuacahn Theatre

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