‘Aladdin’ is a magical journey through childhood

By Carrington G. White
Times-News correspondent

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Jonah Ho' Okano stars as Aladdin in the national touring production of Disney's "Aladdin," which is at DPAC in Durham now through Oct. 26. [Deen van Meer

   DURHAM — As the curtain goes up and the lights go down, spectacular sets and costumes transport you to the magical world of Agrabah.
The national touring production of Disney’s “Aladdin” is being performed now through Oct. 26 at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), 123 Vivian St.
Based on the 1992 film of the same name, “Aladdin” is a tale of adventure, magic and romance. Set in the fictional middle-eastern city of Agrabah, Aladdin (Jonah Ho’okano), a street rat, makes a living through thievery. After meeting Princess Jasmine (Kaena Keoka), he is sentenced to execution, but is rescued by Jafar (Patrick R. Brown) and his sidekick Iago (Reggie De Leon).
In exchange for saving Aladdin, Jafar requests him to steal a magic lamp from the Cave of Wonders. Aladdin becomes trapped in the Cave and, in desperation, he rubs the lamp in hopes producing light. Instead, a Genie (Korie Lee Blossey) appears, illuminating the cave. The Genie grants him three wishes, in hopes of winning Princess Jasmine’s heart, Aladdin uses his first wish to become a prince. Through this magical journey, Aladdin discovers friendship, love and the true meaning of compassion.
From the beginning, “Aladdin” will transport you to a whole new world of musical theater. Jonah Ho’okano’s personality and character meshes perfectly with those of Aladdin. His sense of his character’s persona becomes stronger as the show progresses. Broadway newcomer Kaena Keoka is enthralling as Princess Jasmine. Her stunning voice and engaging connection with Ho’okano really breathes life into the character.
Korie Lee Blossey’s rendition of the Genie is comedic and makes the audience feel a part of the show. The unexpected stars of the show are Babkak (Zach Bencal), Omar (Ben Chavez) and Kassim (Colt Prattes). The trio’s antics and wit will have audiences giggling the entire musical. Every individual of the ensemble adds another layer to the magic and atmosphere of “Aladdin.” With stunning special effects and many surprises, Disney’s “Aladdin” will have even the most experienced theater-goers on the edge of their seats.
With fresh new song such as “A Million Miles Away” and Somebody’s Got Your Back”, and classics like “Friend like Me” and “A Whole New World”, this show will have the audience wishing for more. Disney’s “Aladdin” is a magic carpet ride through childhood — don’t miss this magical, mystical musical experience.
Disney’s “Aladdin” is performing now through October 26 at DPAC. Tickets start at $30 and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com, dpacnc.com or by phone at 919-680–2787.

Carrington G. White is a home-schooled eighth-grader and a Teens & 20s writer.

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