The original story of Aladdin as it appears in The Arabian Nights is very different from the films and plays of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The characters that we have come to know so well – Aladdin, the Genie of the lamp, the Princess, the Sultan and the sorcerer – all appear in one form or another, though it is no surprise that Princess Badroulboudour is usually renamed in modern adaptations. But the story itself is much more unusual, at times convoluted and even outright bizarre. As such, it is little wonder that writers and directors go their own way, taking the fundamental elements of the original and crafting a new piece that fits their purpose. In this regard, perhaps matched only by the adventures of Peter Pan, the adaptations are many and varied and therefore never, as it were, grow old. As a musical for children, the memorable characters and basic story components provide the ingredients for a dramatic, funny, contemporary piece of theatre that resonates with its young performers. We hope, with this brand new version, that we have done just that.
When poor Aladdin catches sight of the beautiful Princess Zahra, he decides it is time to make something of his life. The timely arrival of the mysterious sorcerer, Musharraf, seems too good to be true, offering him riches beyond his dreams in exchange for fetching a dusty old lamp from a dark cave. But when Aladdin is trapped in the cave, it seems like the game is up. And for Princess Zahra, trapped in a life controlled by her father, things aren’t looking too rosy either. Then Aladdin gives the lamp a rub, a wish-granting genie appears from inside, and suddenly the impossible seems possible. Even marrying a princess.
The book provides the full script with staging ideas, piano music and lyrics, character profiles and curriculum resources. The accompanying CD or digital downloads feature all of the songs professionally arranged and sung by children, full backing tracks and all incidental music.
The ensemble set the scene with the opening song about a boy called Aladdin who dreamed of a better life for himself and those around him (A-LA-LA-LA-LA-LADDIN).
At the market, the sorcerer, Musharraf, seeks an ambitious but gullible young man to help him retrieve an old lamp from a long-lost cave. He overhears Aladdin dreaming of about a better life married to a princess (UNDER MY SPELL) and thinks he has found just the person. Meanwhile, hidden from view, Aladdin catches sight of Princess Zahra as she processes through the market. She looks unhappy, but sees him hiding and they share a smile.
Aladdin’s mother, Habiba, bemoans her lazy son to her friend, Nyla. When Aladdin returns from another day of doing little, she tells him how disappointed his late father would have been (A DISAPPOINTMENT). Despondent, Aladdin exits and is surprised to meet Musharraf, the sorcerer. Lured by the promise of riches, he agrees to help him in his quest for the lamp.
In the Palace, Princess Zahra excitedly lets slip to her attendants that she had met a young man at the market. Her father, the Sultan, arrives with the Grand Vizier and tells her that she is to marry the Grand Vizier’s son, Kadin. She is crestfallen and says she should be able to run her own life.
In the mountains of the desert, Aladdin ventures into the cave. It is full of jewels and riches beyond compare (ALL THAT GLITTERS ISN’T GOLD). Suspicious why Musharraf would only want the dusty lamp that he finds, he refuses to hand it over. Furious, Musharraf traps Aladdin in the cave and leads him for dead.
The guards in the palace surprise us by having a conversation, but are quick to go silent when the Sultan arrives with the Grand Vizier and Kadin, the husband to be. Princess Zahra once again tries to change her father’s mind about the arranged marriage, and is shocked that he agrees she can have three days to find a husband of her own (AMAZING THINGS).
Trapped inside the cave, Aladdin rubs the dirty lamp and is shocked when a genie appears (MEETING ONE LIKE ME). He is even more shocked to discover that he has three wishes that could change his life forever.
Princess Zahra, disguised in everyday clothes, ventures into the city and heads for the market where she saw Aladdin. Her ‘friend’, Aisha, encourages her to make the most of the opportunity she has created for herself (TAKE A CHANCE). She meets Aladdin’s friends, but no Aladdin.
In the Palace, the guards are talking again, much to the chagrin of one of them who says it’s not their place (SONG OF THE SOLDIERS). The Sultan then enters with another possible husband for Zahra. This time it is Aladdin, now almost unrecognisable dressed as a prince in fine clothes and turban. The Grand Vizier is furious that his son may be overlooked, and delighted to make the acquaintance of Musharraf, the sorcerer, who tells him that Aladdin is not a real prince and seeks his help in taking revenge and retrieving ‘his’ lamp.
Musharraf visits Aladdin’s home pretending to be a pedlar offering shiny new lamps in exchange for dirty old ones. Habiba makes the exchange and Musharraf tells the Grand Vizier and Kadin that they will soon be able to expose Aladdin as the street urchin he really is (REVENGE).
Princess Zahra returns to the palace. She hasn’t managed to find Aladdin, or any husband for that matter, but she has loved the freedom she has experienced and is prepared to forego her royal privileges in order to keep it. Meanwhile, Aladdin has been chosen as the husband-to-be by the Sultan, and prepares for the forthcoming wedding despite his friend Kalil’s cautionary words about being himself (THE GLORIOUS TALES OF OLD).
Gathered all together, the Sultan finally introduces Zahra to Aladdin. She doesn’t recognise him, and is far from happy about the idea of marrying another wealthy prince. Nevertheless, the Sultan is adamant, at which point the Grand Vizier reveals that Prince Aladdin is, in fact, an impostor, a fake. Tasked with proving this, he summons Musharraf, the sorcerer, who appears with the lamp from Aladdin’s house. He gives it a rub in order to reveal the genie, but nothing happens – it is the wrong lamp! The Sultan is furious about the insults to his future son-in-law, and banishes Musharraf, the Grand Vizier and Kadin too.
Relieved and delighted, Aladdin prepares to marry Zahra, but realises that she isn’t happy with the arrangement. He bravely decides to reveal his true self, retrieves the real lamp from his mother who hadn’t been foolish enough to give it away, and summons the genie. He wishes that Princess Zahra could see the real him. His princely regalia disappear, and all that is left is the poor young man whom the Princess had smiled at. She is delighted, and tells her father that she would rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable. He finally understands and gives her his blessing (A-LA-LA-LA-LA-LADDIN FINALE).