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‘Aladdin’ Has Wishes to Spare : Broadway on Tour’s musical, which features two genies, owes more to the ‘Thousand and One Nights’ tale than to Disney’s film.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Who needs the Home Shopping Network? With two genies on his side, the title character in Broadway on Tour’s “Aladdin” is only a rub away from fulfilling his every wish. And there’s no pesky Visa bill to contend with either.

A cockeyed hourlong musical that owes far more to “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp” from the “Thousand and One Nights” stories than to Disney’s animated film, BOT’s “Aladdin” bounces from action adventure to romance to high camp as crazily as an organ grinder’s monkey. Happily, director Laurie Holden’s cast of 9- to 17-year-olds seems happy to take the ride, led by Nick McKim’s frequently loopy portrayal of Aladdin.

McKim, who recently appeared in BOT’s “Peter Pan” as Mr. Smee, is a lanky 17-year-old with a gift for physical comedy. His “street rat” exudes boyish mischief; so much so that it’s something of a shock to learn this young hooligan is sweet on the sheltered and demure Princess Jasmine (Sunshine Simeone).

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Naturally, the princess can’t be wooed by just any marketplace schmo, and that’s where Aladdin’s connections pay off. The boy’s late father gave him a battered lamp long ago that, although it doesn’t look like much to the boy, turns out to house a genie (Allegra Barragan) with tremendous powers.

When the evil Jafar (played with obvious relish by Joel South) gets wind of this, he’ll stoop to any level to gain possession of the lamp, a situation that lands Aladdin in plenty of hot water.

Fortunately, Jafar isn’t wise to Aladdin’s other ace in the hole, the genie of the ring (Emily Rosen). The genie of the lamp seems to specialize in worldly goods (Need a princely outfit in a flash? Looking for a fabulous bauble for your lady fair? Just give a rub of the lamp!), while the ring genie concentrates on rescuing Al’s onions from the fire.

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Barragan and Rosen pretty much play it straight: Think “I Dream of Jeannie” with fewer curves. Julie Holden’s Abu, on the other hand, takes its cue almost directly from Aladdin’s monkey pal in the film, with great results. The petite 9-year-old had ‘tude to spare, and her antics, especially when she is aping one of the other characters, are a kick in the head for viewers of any age.

Sharell Martin’s costumes also take some cues from the animated movie, and are surprisingly lavish for a small-budget kids’ show.

Broadway on Tour is scheduled to do just one more show at The City. The shopping center is being redeveloped, and BOT must be out by the end of April; the group’s swan song there will be “Little Red Riding Hood,” scheduled to run March 4 to April 30. BOT founder Dan Halkyard is now trying to find the troupe a new home somewhere else in the county.

* “Aladdin,” Broadway on Tour children’s theater, The City Shopping Center, 20 The City Drive, Suite 138, Orange. Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. through Feb. 26. (714) 385-1555. $5. Running time: One hour. Darkana Nightglade Robin Ryan

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Jafar: Joel South

Endara/Palace Slave: Michelle Williams

Serena/Palace Slave: Jennifer Robinson

Mother: Melissa Eldridge

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Aladdin: Nick McKim

Abu: Julie Holden

Ring Genie: Emily Rosen

Grand Wazler: Yoni Leitner

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Princess: Jasmine Sunshine Simeone

Lamp Genie: Allegra Barragan

Sultan: Jeff Dodge

Understudy: David Barr

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Presented by Broadway on Tour. Music by John Massey. Lyrics by the “Aladdin” cast. Directed by Laurie Holden. Choreography: Kimber Jacobs. Sets: Neil Caplan. Costumes: SharellMartin. Lighting: Erik Koehler and Daniel Halkyard. Sound: Karl Moe.


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