By Claire DeMarco, ‘Burgh Vivant
In the town of Agrabah, Aladdin (Joseph Stater) and his group of pals Babkak (Ben Heavner), Omar (Max Peluso), and Kassim (Joshua Price) verge on the edge of “badness.” Aladdin steals loaf of bread at the local market. Even though he’s hungry and has no money, he gives the loaf of bread to someone really in need. Aladdin and his friends attempt to make money in a more honorable way by singing and dancing. They are not successful.
Nearby at the palace – but miles away socially, Jasmine (Miralhi Taylor-Martin) the daughter of the Sultaness* (Emily Chambers) is frustrated. Her mother wants to select her daughter’s future spouse.
*Note: The leader of Agrabah in this production is a female! Nice touch!
Jafar (Jordan Coury), the Sultaness’ evil advisor wants to marry Jasmine. Then, he would become the next Sultan. Along with his loyal assistant Iago (Joshua Clark), they conspire to make that happen.
Jasmine is frustrated by her mother’s demands to choose a husband in 24 hours. If she doesn’t her mother will do it for her. Encouraged by her attendants to see how the other half lives, Jasmine disguises herself in everyday clothing and wonders into the market place. She in entranced with a life she’s never experienced.
The marketplace brings two worlds together – Aladdin and Jasmine meet.
Aladdin’s adventures continue as he finds himself in a cave. He unknowingly frees Genie (Adam Stater) from a small, not very impressive lamp after gently rubbing it. Genie indicates that Aladdin has three wishes but there are three wishes that he can’t fulfill: he can’t kill anyone; he can’t bring anyone back from the dead and he can’t help in finding love.
But Aladdin is looking for love, or, at least, looking for Jasmine.
Joseph Stater is delightful as Aladdin as he grows from a penniless, unstructured individual to one more disciplined and morally mature.
Taylor-Martin plays Jasmine as both an insulated captive in an unreal world and a sensitive human as she experiences the real world.
Joseph Stater and Taylor-Martin’s beautiful rendition of “A Whole New World” was magical, along with the simplistic setting that suggests their airborne adventure.
Adam Stater has great comedy timing moves, sings well and does a great tap dance.
Coury as the bad guy is especially realistic as he throws his head back and bellows out a blood curdling laugh.
A well-done production by a multi-talented cast of young thespians.
“This production was put together in four weeks” according to Music Director, Lynne Spatafore. She also relayed that the actors are all in school (from many school districts in the area). The youngest students are in 5th grade and the oldest are seniors.
“Aladdin Jr” is a production of Comtra Theatre, 20540 Route 19, Cranberry Township, PA. 16066 and runs from October 4 to October 19, 2019.For more information, click here.