Moffat County High School’s ‘Aladdin, Jr.’ to dazzle, delight audiences | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County High School’s ‘Aladdin, Jr.’ to dazzle, delight audiences

Performances for musical take place next week

Aladdin and Princess Jasmine (Wes Atkin, Bekah Bird) share a romantic flying carpet ride in the Moffat County High School production of "Aladdin, Jr." The musical premieres at 7 p.m. Thursday in the MCHS auditorium, with evening shows Friday and Saturday, as well as a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday.

If there's one thing to learn from the Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School theater program’s upcoming stage spectacular, it’s that big things come in itty-bitty packages, so prepare for magic, comedy, romance and all you can possibly imagine contained within the MCHS auditorium. theater program's upcoming stage spectacular, it's that big things come in itty-bitty packages, so prepare for magic, comedy, romance and all you can possibly imagine contained within the MCHS auditorium.

Moffat County High School theater program's upcoming stage spectacular, it's that big things come in itty-bitty packages, so prepare for magic, comedy, romance and all you can possibly imagine contained within the MCHS auditorium.

The curtain goes up next week for the MCHS theater program's fall musical, "Aladdin, Jr." The adaptation of the Disney film premieres Thursday night as MCHS and Craig Middle SchoolCraig Middle School thespians prepare to enchant the crowd. thespians prepare to enchant the crowd.

Craig Middle School thespians prepare to enchant the crowd.

If you go

"Aladdin, Jr."

7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday

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Moffat County High School auditorium, 900 Finley Lane

—Tickets are $6 per person and are sold at the door. For more information, call 970-824-7036.

"Aladdin, Jr." cast and crew

Aladdin: Wes Atkin

Genie: Stephanie Duarte

Jafar: Jake Stewart

Jasmine: Bekah Bird

Iago: Jeremy Looper

Sultan: Devin McIntosh

Narrators: Laura Bolton, Madelaine Petersen, Caroline Riley

Magic Carpet: Kyla Pogline

Razoul: Sambu Shrestha

Guards: Scott Pelnar, Dylan Kernen

Baker: Abigail Fritz

Merchant: Brenna Knez

Prince Ali Fan Club: Bizzy Weis, Melissa Davis, Jessica Johnson

Ensemble: Courtney Smith, Tess Willems, Liberty Hippely, Owen Allen, Andrew Counts

Stage Manager: Aaron Hill

Tech crew: Paige Durbin, Mitchell Davidson, Glen Dilldine, Mark Nava, Jacinda Newkirk

Stage crew: Tyler Driggs, Logan Duke

Senior Wes Atkin portrays the eponymous character, a good-hearted but penniless orphan living on the streets of the kingdom of Agrabah, hoping for a better life. When he comes across an ancient oil lamp, the wacky resident within, an all-powerful genie (Stephanie Duarte), has three wishes to offer for anything Al's heart may desire.

While the stage show doesn't include much of the improvised schtick provided by the late Robin Williams in the animated movie — including anachronistic impressions of Jack Nicholson, Groucho Marx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rodney Dangerfield and William F. Buckley — Duarte does all she can to make the role memorable with her own flair.

"It's a really energetic, spontaneous character, and it just fits my personality," the MCHS senior said. "Its one of those characters you just remember. I just keep going over the top, no limit."

Another supernatural part, the magic carpet, takes a new form, played by sophomore Kyla Pogline with a unique costume and many exaggerated physical gestures.

"You have to act more with your facial expressions and your body," she said.

The story is adjusted for a shorter runtime and some of the dialogue is different — "Mmm, sourdough!" — yet much of the songs are the same, with "Arabian Nights," "One Jump Ahead" and "Friend Like Me" present, as well as a tune cut from the original film, baddie Jafar's "Why Me?" However, it's the soaring vocals provided in the most famous song that's the highlight for one of the performers.

"My favorite part has got to be 'A Whole New World,' on the magic carpet, it's really cool," Atkin said. "We have a lot of new people doing theater this year, and it's going really well, everybody's stepping up, getting things done."

As everything comes together, the bugs are worked out bit by bit, and if something is awry, the sound of director Grace Pomeleo's air horn cuts through the noise to signal a restart. Fortunately, the startling blasts have been far and few between.

The first-year choir and drama teacher in Moffat County School District has seen kids rise to the occasion as the big night approaches, such as hindrances like the actor who plays the villainous vizier Jafar (Jake Stewart) being stuck out of town temporarily during rehearsals.

"It's had it's challenges, but I'm very happy to be here," she said. "It's a very famous show, but it's very interactive with the audience, and I think that gives it a nice twist. I want it to be a full experience."

Senior Bekah Bird said the production has been a dream come true as she gets to act and sing as Princess Jasmine in the element of the Disney universe she loves more than any other.

Her first theatrical show was a small part more than a decade ago in "Jack and the Beanstalk," and during the rehearsals' warm-up exercises, the pressure to talk in front of a crowd terrified her so much at one point, she burst into tears.

The same kind of emotional response is present now but for a different reason.

"It's my last production here and that makes me happy, but at the same time, I don't want to leave," she said. "I want to live in this moment forever."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

If you go

“Aladdin, Jr.”

7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday

Moffat County High School auditorium, 900 Finley Lane

—Tickets are $6 per person and are sold at the door. For more information, call 970-824-7036.

“Aladdin, Jr.” cast and crew

Aladdin: Wes Atkin

Genie: Stephanie Duarte

Jafar: Jake Stewart

Jasmine: Bekah Bird

Iago: Jeremy Looper

Sultan: Devin McIntosh

Narrators: Laura Bolton, Madelaine Petersen, Caroline Riley

Magic Carpet: Kyla Pogline

Razoul: Sambu Shrestha

Guards: Scott Pelnar, Dylan Kernen

Baker: Abigail Fritz

Merchant: Brenna Knez

Prince Ali Fan Club: Bizzy Weis, Melissa Davis, Jessica Johnson

Ensemble: Courtney Smith, Tess Willems, Liberty Hippely, Owen Allen, Andrew Counts

Stage Manager: Aaron Hill

Tech crew: Paige Durbin, Mitchell Davidson, Glen Dilldine, Mark Nava, Jacinda Newkirk

Stage crew: Tyler Driggs, Logan Duke

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