HCFAA Aladdin

Cast members rehearse Monday in preparation for the March 4-5 presentation of “Disney’s Aladdin KIDS.”

The student cast of High Country Fine Arts Association will take audiences to a whole new world March 4-5 with “Disney’s Aladdin KIDS.”

A cast of 30 students from second grade to fifth grade will bring this 45-minute musical to life on stage at Darren Patterson Christian Academy.

According to co-director Judy Hamontre, “Aladdin KIDS” had been a popular choice of musical for both kids and parents for the past few years.

It features several fun major roles rather than just a few, has great music and a fast-paced and upbeat story with “good triumphing over evil,” she said.

It also requires a large cast that must simultaneously fit on the DPCA stage and allow parents to spot their child actors.

“I think Aladdin might not have been chosen sooner because it requires some special creativity to make characters appear out of and disappear into a magic lantern that also grants wishes, including character transformations,” Hamontre explains. “Then there is the flying carpet. Those are some pretty tough challenges in addition to those of costumes, sets and props, but an excited team of people who care about kids having fun on stage thought it could be done and this was the year to do it.”

This year the HCFAA Board invited new volunteers to get involved, leading to “two directors, two choreographers, a producer, two costumers, an amazing artist for designing/painting scenery and a whole host of others in other key theatre production roles,” Hamontre adds.

“Several are new to these roles, but that is how any organization grows and lives on, involving new people, giving them artistic freedom while also offering support,” she says. “So ‘Aladdin’ has created some additional magic for the adults involved.”

The magic is certainly felt by the children involved as they get into costumes for this much-anticipated musical. The original Disney movie is a favorite for fourth grader Sadie Madler, who is happy to play Princess Jasmine. She is “super excited” for this production and has been enjoying every part of it.

Fifth grader Mai Ly Sanderson takes on the roles of Agrabahn #1, Bread Vendor and Entourage. “It’s really fun, and I’m happy I don’t have to change (costumes) a lot,” she says. This will also be her last production with this cast and crew, making it a bittersweet one.

Fifth grader Greta Mueller is excited for her role as Genie and enjoys performing “Friend Like Me” because of the dancing and singing in that number.

“I love doing theater, and I really like the kind of productions they’re doing,” she says. “‘Aladdin’ is actually one of my favorite Disney movies. I think it’s great. And my favorite character in that is the Genie.”

“The production is pure joy,” Hamontre says. “All 30 kids are working hard. They come to rehearsals prepared, having listened to music to learn their songs. Additionally they watch videos made by the choreographers to learn their dances, and they memorize their lines and blocking. Parents help the kids with all this which means entire families are involved. Isn’t that wonderful?

“At rehearsals the kids listen, give it their all and, most importantly, seem to be having fun,” she says. “At least that is what I hear from parents, that ‘they are having a blast.’ And that is what I want to happen for these great kids, to work together, respect and cooperate with each other, have fun and put on a show they are proud of. I am proud of them!”

The show begins at 6:30 p.m. both nights. Doors open at 6. Tickets are available at the door at $10 for adults, $5 for students and free for children age 3 and under.

The adult team plans to take to the stage June 23-25 with “Beauty and the Beast.” Watch for more details to emerge on the HCFAA Facebook page.

Hamontre says that HCFAA could not put on these productions without the help of the community. Those who are interested in getting involved can contact HCFAA at hcfaabv@gmail.com

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