Best Theater Discovery

Samantha Massell

Most of the pre-production publicity about Aladdin, the Muny's staging of the 1992 Disney movie, concerned the appearance of three live camels — whose laid-back performances were OK, though not particularly animated. (Camels always appear to be disdainfully above it all.) What caught us by surprise was the lovely and spirited performance from Samantha Massell as Princess Jasmine. Massell is no stranger to the Muny. For the past two summers she has appeared mostly in ensemble and "lady in waiting" roles. This time the Muny gifted her with a much-deserved "Introducing" credit. And deservedly so. In a cast primarily composed of show-mugging clowns, Massell played it straight. Enchanting yet commanding (as a princess should be), she was the most believable element of the entire fantasy, a worthy companion with whom to share a magic carpet ride.

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