Draper Park Middle School To Perform “Aladdin Jr.”
Jan 04, 2016 02:33PM
● By Bryan Scott
By Julie Slama
Draper - Magic carpets, genies and a whole lot of fun performed by 190 students are promised with Draper Park Middle School’s musical, “Aladdin Jr.”
“Aladdin Jr.” will be performed nightly at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 29 through Saturday, March 5 at the school’s auditorium, 13133 South 1300 East. General admission tickets are available in advance at the school office, as well as at the door while quantities remain. They are $5 for adults and $3 for students 18 years and younger.
“We have a big turnout for students wanting to be in their middle school play and so I thought this play would give kids more opportunity to perform and be involved,” director Jessica Pearce said. “With this many students involved, I’d encourage patrons to buy their tickets in advance. In the past, we’ve had to turn people away because our shows have been so popular.”
In addition to those performing on stage, Pearce has a tech crew of 10 students plus art students who are involved in helping design and decorate the set, along with parent volunteers. Three student assistants from Corner Canyon High School — Keila Hansen, Baily Luck and Dawson Schader —assist with directing and stage managing; choir teacher Andrea Wood is the music director; and dance teacher Cherisa Jones choreographed three dance numbers for the show.
“It really is a school-wide production with so many involved and collaborating,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite shows. It’s the first movie I remember watching and with the sword fights, magic carpet, giant snakes, it’s exciting. It has a love story, but it’s not that mushy. There are fun parts for the guys and lots for the chorus to be involved in, starting with learning 32 pages of music. It’s a tough show to stage, but it’s worth it to get so many kids involved.”
Auditions were held in mid-October and rehearsals started later that month with ensemble coming twice each week and lead roles, three or four times, rehearsing for 90 minutes. As the show approaches, Pearce anticipated more rehearsals with full cast.
“We spread out our rehearsals months ahead so we don’t have four-hour rehearsals and this way, the student have time to do other activities and play in sports,” she said.
With 190 students involved, there are two casts and they alternate performances. Those playing Aladdin are Tyler Van Oostendorp and Jensen Rideout; Jasmine are Aimee Johnson and Rivers Johnson; the Genie are Cambria Hays and Gavin Sueltz; the Magic Carpet are Elle Stoker and Whitney Lang; Jafar are Greyson Richards and Gwyn Fowler; Iago are Luke Jeppson and Britton Larsen; Sultan are Tyler Murrill and Colin Baker-Olsen; Razoul are Seersha Bickerstaff and Josh Smith; and the narrators are Arianna Mortensen, Timothy Feroah, Abby McMullen, Cooper Gardiner, Janey Dent, Brianna Frehner, Jack Pollock, Emma White, Anna Johns and Alika Escarzaga. The dance captains are Ava Lewis and Savannah Skousen.
“I looked at the role of the Genie in the script and it didn’t matter if the role was cast to a male or female so I have students of both genders playing it. For Jafar, I asked for special permission to change the lines so Gwyn could be in that role in one of the casts. All the leads have some stage performing roles and many of the students have taken my theater class and have been taught terms, technology and principals of theater. That’s helpful, but not required,” she said.
The students also have received support from Corner Canyon High School as the theater teacher, Phaidra Atkinson, has annually invited theater students to see their school musical and has brought students to class to share scenes from their annual Shakespeare production.
“Before taking the stage the past two years, they’ve brought students posters wishing them good luck and stayed to watch us perform,” Pearce said.
Eighth-grader Tyler Murrill, who plays the Sultan, said that this is his third time performing at Draper Park. In sixth-grade, he tried out for “Mulan Jr.” since many of his friends were and was cast as a soldier. Last year, he was a pirate in “Peter Pan Jr.”
“I auditioned for Sultan because he’s a fun character to play and I’m pretty excited because I got it,” Tyler said. “I didn’t want to jump to a huge lead part that I wasn’t prepared for, so this will give me experience for bigger parts that I’d like to do in the future.”
Tyler hopes to participate in plays and musicals at Corner Canyon High as well as community shows.
“I like reading through the lines and learning the songs, but it’s easier for me to memorize my part when we include blocking. I like to do musicals because we have the freedom to be the character we want to be and it’s really fun to work together with friends on this big project,” he said.
Sixth-grader Emily Bromfield also said that meeting new friends was a reason she got involved in the school musical.
“My sister (Victoria) has liked being in the musicals the past two years so I wanted to try it,” Emily said. “It’s been a lot of fun making new friends and it’s something I can be proud of.”
Emily, who is in the ensemble, said she hopes that through her experience, it also will help her talent.
“I am enjoying getting to be a better singer. There are lots of harmonies. I watched “Aladdin” before auditioning and knew I’d most likely be in the ensemble, so auditions were actually fun, not nerve-wracking”
Emily anticipates her family and friends will come to watch her in “Aladdin Jr.” and is excited for when they perform for the studentbody.
“I’m not worried about stage fright because I’m having so much fun. I want to do it again next year,” she said.