Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier is a musical with music by A.J. Holmes, lyrics by Kaley McMahon, and book by Matt Lang, Nick Lang, and Eric Kahn Gale.
The musical parodies the 1992 Disney film Aladdin , telling the story from the point of view of Ja'far, the Royal Vizier. It has several nods & homages to the musical Wicked, which similarly retells a popular story from the villain's point of view.
Twisted opened in Chicago's Greenhouse Theatre on July 4th and closed on July 28th as part of a limited run. The group put the entire musical up on YouTube on November 28, 2013. It was produced by StarKid Productions and directed by Brian Holden. The musical's cast recording debuted at No. 63 on the American iTunes Top 100 albums chart.
The play opens with Sherrezade talking about the Magic Kingdom, one that prospered because of the two D's, devotion and duty. The scene then changes to Ja'far conversing with the villagers ("Dream a Little Harder"). In the scene, he is constantly harassed by the villagers, who blame him for all the kingdom's problems.
The Captain then tells Ja'far of a thief who they chased after for a loaf of bread. Ja'far talks to the Captain about Prince Achmed who is coming from the land of Pixaar (Pixar) to extend the contract with them to keep the peace. The captain then reveals how a thief named Aladdin humiliated the Prince.
Aladdin then appears, talking about his life ("I Steal Everything"). The scene changes to the Prince, who is furious. He shows Ja'far his pants, which are ripped, and his bare butt is exposed. He declares that the Princess has set a tiger upon him. The Prince declares war on the Magic Kingdom. The princess then enters, angry at Ja'far, and wanting her freedom ("Everything and More").
Ja'far finds out that all his assistant viziers have been killed. In his rage, he destroys a room, and finds a golden necklace ("Sands of Time"). He is then transported to his past, where he is loved by the village, and teaches them lessons on how to be kind to one another ("The Golden Rule). He then bumps into the Royal Vizier, who is a corrupt and evil man who only cares about money ("The Golden Rule Reprise"). Ja'far meets Sherrezade, who's ear has just been cut off. He helps her, and the pair quickly fall in love ("A Thousand And One Nights"). Years later, Ja'far takes his wife Sherrezade (who has just told him that she's pregnant) to the Sultan to talk about a land reform bill, but the Sultan falls in love with Sherrezade and has her taken to his harem. Before they are seperated, she gives him half a golden scarab, and says that they will be reunited, like the lovers in her story about the Tiger Head Cave (The Cave Of Wonders in the movie Aladdin).
Returning to the present, Ja'far reflects on his past and his mistakes ("If I Believed"). The Captain then informs Ja'far that the Princess has run away. The Princess meets Aladdin, and flinches away from his sexual advances. Aladdin then reveals that he is 33, and the Princess is 16. He then talks about his past, and how he became an orphan ("Orphaned At 33)". They are caught by the royal guards, who throw Aladdin in prison and take the Princess home.
Meanwhile, Ja'far retrieves the other half of the golden scarab from a corrupt merchant. He bails Aladdin out of jail to go to the Tiger Head Cave, but not before Aladdin reveals his true intentions: He doesn't love the Princess, he just wants to sleep with her. Jasmine, Aladdin, and Ja'far all sing about what they want most, a happy ending ("Happy Ending"). Aladdin tricks Ja'far and takes the lamp away from him, talking about a magic Djiin (The Genie in the movie Aladdin).
We see Prince Achmed talk to his army, who mistakenly assume he slept with a tiger. They then talk about how forgettable he is, but how he is special to them. ("No One Remembers Achmed"). It is shown that Achmed has feelings for the Princess.
Ja'far and the Princess then have a heart-to-heart about Aladdin, and Ja'far warns her about him. ("Sheep's Clothing"). The Princess declares that everyone should be a Princess, so everyone would be happy. The Captain interrupts them and tells Ja'far about a parade, and Ja'far speculates that it could be Aladdin. Aladdin then visits The Princess, who sees through his prince disguise immediately. He then tries to sleep with her ("Take Off Your Clothes"), but is unsuccessful. The Princess asks him to marry her, and he tentatively agrees
Ja'far consults with the Sultan, who confirms that Aladdin will marry The Princess, and he will bring his armies. Ja'far tries to expose Aladdin, but Aladdin tricks everyone into thinking Ja'far is a sorcerer. Ja'far escapes and takes the lamp. He is then visited by several Disney Villains, who all tell their sides of the story ("Twisted"). He accepts that he has to take the "Twisted" path, and embraces the fact that he will be remembered as evil and twisted.
The Magic Kingdom is attacked by Prince Achmed. Ja'far uses the Djiin's magic to become the Sultan, and to become a real sorcerer. Meanwhile, Aladdin is trying to get The Princess to sleep with him. She refuses, and shows his real side: He has two personalities, and he killed his own parents. It is then revealed that Ja'far is the Princess' father, and Sherrezade died giving birth to her. Ja'far takes the lamp, and uses his final wish to become the Djiin. Aladdin runs off.
The Princess is given the kingdom, and three wishes. She wishes Ja'far his every happiness, and finally declares that she needs him ("The Power In Me"). He returns to the Tiger Head Cave, where Sherrezade greets him, saying that his wish for happiness was granted, bringing her back to life. Sherrezade reveals that The Princess brought on another golden age, buying Achmed's kingdom (Pixar) and ending the rivalry. Moving through time to see what happened to Aladdin, Ja'far learns that Aladdin is the merchant in the beginning of the original movie and has turned to selling second hand goods. Ja'far asks how their story ends, and Sherrezade says it doesn't. They kiss, and the cast all comes together as the musical ends ("Finale/A Thousand And One Nights Reprise").
|Nick Gage||Sultan / Djinn|
|Lauren Lopez||Monkey / Ensemble|
|Jaime Lyn Beatty||Sea Witch / Ensemble|
|Denise Donovan||Bird / Ensemble|
|Music director||Justin Fischer|
|Production supervisor||Angela F. Kiessel|
|Set designer||Jama McMahon & Emily Thomas|
|Costume designer||June Saito & Yonit Olshan|
|Makeup & Wigs||Lana McKinnon|
|Lighting designer||Sarah Petty|
|Sound designer||Mark Swiderski|
|Technical director||Gordon Granger|
|Master electrician||Julie Ballard|
|Fight choreographer||Joe Moses|
|Assistant stage managers||Ruby Summers & Kavin Chung|
|Wardrobe supervisor||Jess Dumbroff|
|Graphic design||Jen Lang & Teia Smith|
Twisted was funded entirely via a Kickstarter campaign launched by creators Matt Lang, Nick Lang, and Eric Kahn Gale. The campaign opened with a fundraising goal of $35,000 and ended up raising $142,564.
There are many references to previous Disney and Pixar Movies. For example:
- The Song "Take Off Your Clothes" refers to a moment in Aladdin when viewers mistakenly heard: "Good teenagers take off their clothes." The song pokes fun at many sexual references in other Disney movies, such as the SEX incident from The Lion King where the words SFX are seen in the sky and are commonly read as SEX
- In the beginning, Ja'far bumps into Belle in a parody of her own opening song.
- Dream A Little Harder" is similar to "Belle"
- Sherrezade references an early version of the song "Arabian Nights" when she says "Someone cut off my ear, because they didn't like my face." Ja'far responds "But that's barbaric." Sherrezade replies, "Hey, it's home". Those were the original lyrics to Arabian Nights before they were changed to "Where it's flat and immense and the heat is intense" for the final cut of the song
- There is a scene where Prince Achmed talks about his "Woody" and then pulls out a Woody doll, exclaiming, "Now he can't come with me to cowboy camp!"
- Twisted also makes fun of the age difference between Jasmine and Aladdin with the song "Orphaned at 33." Stating Aladdin is 33 and Jasmine is 16.
- "I Steal Everything" is similar to the song "One Jump Ahead"
- Abu and Iago do not make many appearences in the musical, contrary to the film where they are prominent characters
- Abu is called "Monkey" in the musical.
- The Genie is called a Djinn, and quotes many movies such as Austin Powers, Snakes on A Plane, Batman, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Dirty Harry
- At the climax, Ja'far tricks the Genie and gets him to move a building without a wish, much likes Aladdin did when he tricked Genie into getting him out of The Tiger Head Cave in the film.
- In the song "Dream a little Harder" there are many references to Disney fims:
- Belle appears, as Ja'far bumps into her reading a book
- Songs from Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, and Pinoccio are quickly referenced
- The villagers say different ways that Ja'far could die, referencing famous deaths from Disney Villains, some of which who show up in the song Twisted. Those are Ursula, Scar and Gaston.
- "Skewered by a sailing ship." Ursula was killed by Prince Eric with his sailboat in The Little Mermaid.
- "Or hanged in tangled jungle vines." Clayton is killed after going after Tarzan.
- "Or eaten by hyenas." Scar is killed by the hyenas in The Lion King.
- The line "Or he'll plummet to his death" refers to the following:
- "From a castle" Gaston dies from falling off of the Beast's Castle in Beauty and The Beast
- "A clock" could refer to:
- Ratigan falls from Big Ben in The Great Mouse Detective
- "A cliff" could refer to:
- When the Evil Queen get's thrown off a cliff by the seven dwarfs and/or when Maleficent is stabbed and her dead corpse falls down a cliff
- "Everything and More" sang by the Princess is a reference to The Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World".
- "The Golden Rule" has a similar tempo and vibe to "Bare Necessities" from Disney's The Jungle Book.e
- Aladdin talks about swimming in money which is a reference to Scrooge McDuck swimming in gold coins.
Besides Disney and Pixar references, the show is full of Wicked homages and references
- "Happy Ending" performed by Ja'far, Aladdin and the Princess have some very similar parts to Wicked's "The Wizard and I".
- In "Dream a Little Harder", the solo part sung by Alex Paul is a take on Glinda's soprano vocals in "No One Mourns the Wicked".
- "A Thousand and One Nights" strikes a resemblance to "As Long As You're Mine" from Wicked, however it's also a general version of basically any Disney love song.
- The song "Twisted" which features a multitude of other Disney villains, is most notably a great transformation of "No Good Deed" and "Defying Gravity". Both songs are from Wicked.
- "The Power in Me" is a version of "For Good", Wicked, sang by both Ja'far and the Princess near the end of the show.
|Team StarKid Plays|