‘Aladdin Junior’ takes the stage at Draper Historic
May 02, 2017 09:24AM
● By Kelly Cannon
Draper Historic Theatre’s production of “Aladdin Junior” featured a young but large cast. (Draper Historic Theatre)
By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]
The small stage at Draper Historic Theatre packed a big punch during its production of “Aladdin Junior.” The show, which opened on April 7, is based off the Disney animated movie but is condensed and changed slightly to be suitable for young performers. Dozens of young children and teens brought the story to life under the guidance of director Todd Taylor.
Taylor has directed at Draper Historic before but this production was a quick turnaround, with auditions held only six weeks before opening night.
“It was the timing between getting ‘The Little Mermaid’ (done) and making sure we had the rights (to ‘Aladdin Junior’) and then holding auditions,” Taylor said.
Taylor said there were a couple different reasons the board chose to do “Aladdin Junior,” including Taylor’s personal preference.
“It’s my favorite show. ‘Aladdin’ is my favorite show so that’s one reason,” Taylor said. “Two, they wanted to do a junior show. We all voted as a board and decided that ‘Aladdin Junior’ would be the one.”
A junior show is a production that takes a well-known play or concept, such as “Aladdin” or “Seusical” and condenses it and simplifies the plot so the cast can be young performers.
Because “Aladdin Junior” is only 60 minutes long, the Draper Historic added a variety pre-show to the production. A small cast sang various songs from Disney movies, including “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” from “The Lion King,” “I’ll Make a Man Out Of You” from “Mulan” and “I See the Light” from “Tangled.” This was the first time the Draper Historic has done one of these pre-shows.
“The executive producer, Marc Navez, wanted to have a little pre-show to kind of give it a little bit more time so people can enjoy a show for a little bit longer than 60 minutes,” Taylor said. “He held the auditions and did the choreography and song and dance. It was only a two-week process for that.”
In directing such a large and young cast in “Aladdin Junior,” Taylor said his priority was making sure the kids knew their parts and where they were supposed to be on stage.
“I wanted to make sure their costumes were to theme and ready for the opening and then also making sure that we transformed the stage to look like Agrabah,” Taylor said. “We had a month to make sure all the kids knew when they were to come on stage and their blocking and all of the dance numbers. I think they did pretty good.”
Taylor’s favorite part of the show was the musical number “A Whole New World.”
“They come out and we have the clouds and they stand up and dance on the clouds,” Taylor said. “I love that part.”