Aladdin “Friend Like Me”

The “Friend like Me” 360 Performance of Aladdin on Broadway produced by Disney on Broadway is a look into what theatre syndication could look like in the future. I think this video could be the beginning of something big for an industry that has a lot of struggles reaching a wider audience (theatre). The main disadvantage of theatre is that it is hard to find a good production near you unless you are in a big city. I think “Friend like me” is a taste of what VR theatre could be, to reach more people and let them experience the talent that can only be found in places like New York or Chicago. I can see productions selling live performances after they are done running as a way of continuing a revenue stream long after the production is done. Not to mention most people cannot afford front row seats at large productions, so this would be a way to see a huge Broadway production without having to break the bank.

As for the video itself, it is only a piece of the full Aladdin story, but it is about Aladdin meeting one of the main characters of the show Genie. The main character driving the story is Genie by way of song, he is explaining to Aladdin that he has mystical powers and that he has never met anyone like him because of that. Although if you get beneath the surface, I believe the main story is the behind the scenes of the production of the play itself.

Throughout the performance, you are given little bits of information about the musical and its success. My favorite part was when the floor was cut away so that you could the orchestra that was playing below the actor’s feet.

They also give information about the actor’s performance which makes it even more impressive.

The audience is most likely for people who are thinking about going to see Aladdin but have not yet. I feel like it is an advertisement showing how impressive the production is and giving the audience a taste, so they will want to see more. However, as I said earlier I can see this turning into a more full-scale production, that records the whole performance and they sell “VR seats.” This, of course, won’t be exactly like going to the theatre, but it will be better than missing a historic production because of lack of funds or proximity.

All in all, I think this video is a great transmedia piece that bridges the gap between seeing Broadway live and seeing it on a 2D plane. It is still not the same as going, but the advantages of having Broadway at your fingertips from your phone might make theatre more accessible to people who otherwise would have no chance. I look forward to seeing the future of theatre and 360 videos and seeing how it affects theatre’s outreach.

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