Jasmine (center, Stella Snook) is with her friends left to right): Isir (Lorelei Schmitzer-Torbert), Samir (Liberty Owens), Jasmine (Stella Snook), Rajah (Maddie Perigo), and Manal (Annee Clark)
Jasmine (center, Stella Snook) is with her friends left to right): Isir (Lorelei Schmitzer-Torbert), Samir (Liberty Owens), Jasmine (Stella Snook), Rajah (Maddie Perigo), and Manal (Annee Clark)
A whole new world is returning to the historic Vanity Theater. Aladdin, Jr. the junior version of the hit Broadway musical, will be continuing tonight and Feb. 14-17. The show is under the direction of Jennie Fights Swick with Jennifer Tyo producing. Set in the fictional Arabian city of Agrabah, the charismatic young Aladdin (Haze Kashon) has his life changed when he discovers a grant wishing genie (Alivia Williams) in a lamp. Watch as Aladdin navigates the wonders of magic and woos his love, Jasmine (Stella Snook), away from the evil clutches of Jafar (Thomas Bowling).
Jennie Fights Swick returns to Montgomery County to direct at the Vanity after having serving as a choir teacher for the Crawfordsville Public School Corporation. In addition to many wonderful choral shows, she musically directed such hits as The Lion King (CMS) and Beauty and the Beast (CHS). Ever the educator, Fights Swick has brought a balance of organization and flexibility that leave her cast feeling confident and excited about sharing this musical with the community. Crawfordsville student, Thomas Bowling, has loved working with her saying “Jennie is really flexible . . . we can add little comments if we want to.”
Her right-hand lead, Jennifer Tyo, said “She really allows the kids to find their characters and play with them.” Not only is Jennie directing the show, she is also the musical director and choreographer, truly embodying a theater triple threat.”
Although the show is stocked full of young Vanity veterans, this performance will mark the first time Haze Kashon and Stella Snook have undertaken lead roles with the Sugar Creek Players. If you ask their fellow cast mates, they regularly forget that the two leads are new to such big roles due to the duos quick acclamation.
Haze Kashon said, “It’s very nerve racking. My last part, when I did the ‘Little Mermaid’ at the middle school (Northridge) I only had like 30 lines and now I have like 160.”
When asked about how he manages learning so many lines, he said, “I go in my garage and repeat the lines over and over again.”
According to cast mates, his approach is really paying off.
Stella Snook is no stranger to theater having played smaller roles in such Vanity hits as Shrek as well as numerous South Montgomery musicals. Although she is now playing the Disney princess, Jasmine, she said the process has been different for her in more ways that playing a lead role.
She remarked, “It’s very organized. I love the way Jennie choreographs and blocks and she makes it fun for all of us. It’s been great [working with Haze]. We work really well together.”
Those expecting a musical exactly like Disney’s famous 1992 animated film of the same title may be in for a little surprise. The musical features three songs from the film but the rest of the score are original works of composer, Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Pocahontas), and lyricists Howard Ashman (Little Shop of Horrors), Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and The Lion King) and Chad Beguelin (Elf the Musical). Although fans of the film may not recognize every song, the music is still exceptional and transports you wonderfully to the magical world of Agrabah.
In addition to some musical differences, several characters are different from the film. Absent are such characters like Abu the Monkey. Instead, Aladdin, Jr., features new friends to the leads not shown in the movies. Aladdin’s friends are a bunch of street thieves. Rylan Dowell plays one of his friends, Kassim.
He said, “It’s going to be very adventurous with them. Each of them has their own personality. One of them likes food a lot and the other is the friendly one whereas me I’m kinda the stuck up one. The songs are really upbeat, fun, and bold.”
Jasmine also has new friends not from the original film. Madison Pergo plays Rajah (not the tiger) and said, “We are really supportive to Jasmine. We urge her to explore and get away from the ‘prison’ she is in.”
She and Rylan agreed that working on this show has been a fun experience and they feel like the whole cast is like a family.
The show stars Haze Kashon (Aladdin), Stella Snook (Jasmine), Alivia Williams (Genie), Thomas Bowling (Jafar), Emery Allen (Iago), Cameron Tyo (Sultan). Aladdin’s friends are Hutton Haas (Babkak), Beth Turner (Omar), Rylan Dowell (Kassim). Jasmine’s friends are Lorelei Schmitzer-Torbert (Isir), Annee Clark (Manal), Madison Perigo (Rajah), and Liberty Owens (Samira). Other characters are played by Jacob Plemons (Razoul), Nivek Witt (Prince Abdullah), and Carrie Poole (Cave of Wonders/Spooky Voice).
Members of the ensemble are Cate Stalcup, Elizabeth Jeffries, Charlotte Plemons, Laura Ann Miller, Ayden Bravn, Sarah Stacey, Morgan Swick, Seraiah Maish, Ian Orcutt, Avery Hannum, Calinn Murphy, Jaycee Farris.
Agrabahn ensemble members are Cole Yeager, Mary Halupka, Elizabeth Nunan, Keegan Perry, Kennett Kuhn, Bayah Billingsley, Samantha Kiefer, Jonah Kiefer, Abigail Walters, Mila Greene, Kibberlyn Borgen, Lily Baldwin, Orion Durbin, and Marisa Mermoud.
Aladdin, Jr. opened Friday at The Vanity Theater with performances continuing tonight at 7:30 then the following week Thursday-Sunday (Feb. 14-17). Sunday (Feb. 17th) showtime is 2:30.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.sugarcreekplayers.org or by leaving a message at (765) 362-7077. Tickets are also available at the box office located at 122 South Washington Street in Crawfordsville, which is open from 3:00 to 5:30 P.M. Monday through Friday and one hour before performances. They cost $12 for adult, $10 for college students, and $8 for youth.