Willsboro Students Oliver Lee as Aladdin, Mackenzie Martin as the Avis the Magic Carpet and Joelle Steeves as the Genie rehearse a scene from the upcoming play “Aladdin Jr.”
“A Whole New World,” is going to shine over the students at Willsboro Central School.
Disney’s stage adaptation of the 1992 animated film Aladdin will be brought to life on stage June 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. and a special performance on Sunday, June 3, at 2 p.m. at the school auditorium.
The play will feature elementary school students in Kindergarten through sixth-grade and has three Assistant directors from seventh and eighth-grade.
Play director, Willsboro science and reading teacher Derrick A. Hopkins, said the play is a minimized version of the original script. Designed by Disney, Aladdin Jr. is written to be easier for smaller children who might be acting in their first play.
“It’s the story every one’s heard of and knows but scaled back for easier dialogue to be easier for kids to understand and to act out,” Hopkins said.
The play is packed with the original songs and dance routines. With the help of Amie-Laurie Lemieux as choreographer, student’s clad in bohemian vests and genie costumes dance together and sing in unison.
The play is expected to run about 30 minutes, Hopkins said.
Students have practiced for the past five weeks, holding two hour rehearsals. The short rehearsals are meant to ease the students into the routine of participating in a play.
“We do our high school play in the fall and when spring comes and the kindergarteners have had a good eight months to get comfortable with their school schedule, we like to have this play to give them time to learn about what it means to be in a play,” Hopkins said. “This way they can start to really enjoy it and hopefully grow to love doing it.”
The play is not only a good way to get the little ones involved in the performing arts, but to learn what it means to lead a performance. Hopkins said he has three students who act as assistant directors who help run lines with students, organize props and do all the things the director does.
“This maximizes everyone’s time, they’ve been here from the beginning and can help by running lines with the kids who aren’t on stage and keeping things organized,” Hopkins said. “They are a great help, it’s really nice to have an extra set of eyes ears and hands and it’s a good learning experience for them.”
Claudia Russell, mother of actors Madison and Jameson Russell, said her kids have had a lot of fun working on the play
“My kids are really excited about the play and all the kids have seen Aladdin 100 times over.,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for kids to participate in a theater program like this.”
Fifth-grader Olivia Politi said she’s had a lot of fun working on this play after working on other plays at the school such as The Sound of Music in the fall.
“It’s a lot of silly fun and I like how we do silly dances and a lot of singing, me and my friends have a lot of fun,” Politi said.
The performance should have a little something for all audience members, Hopkins said, and is sure to be fun for all who attend.
“The audience is going to have a great time and see their kids be engrossed in theater and dancing,” Hopkins said. “They’ll have a ball, the little ones will have a ball and everyone will enjoy the show.”