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Horizon bringing musical magic of Disney's 'Aladdin Jr.' to stage PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor   
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 09:29
Aladdin (left, performed by Connor Long) and Jasmine (second from left, performed by Nusaiba) explore the world after getting off the magic carpet (third from left, performed by Skylar Frishman) during a Horizon Youth Theater production of Aladdin. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The young actors of Horizon Youth Theatre will get a chance to bring favorite animated characters to life when the troupe stages the musical "Aladdin Jr. " Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center.
Based on the Disney cartoon complete with animals characters and a flying carpet brought to life, this a familiar ground for the actors.
Connor Long, who plays the title character, said all but two of the 32 members in the cast had seen the animated feature film.
Long, who attends St. John's Jesuit in Toledo, said the movie has always been one of his favorites, and he's thrilled to get the lead role. When he auditioned, he didn't know what to expect.
He's been involved in the youth troupe for five years, starting out with the production of "Pinocchio." Horizon productions give him a chance to spend time with his Bowling Green friends and be involved in theater. 
William Cagle, like Long a freshman, has been a troupe member for awhile, starting four years ago in "Sun and the Moon." That was the last show done before the troupe's founder Scott Regan stepped down as artistic director.
Now the troupe's shows call on university students or recent graduates to direct shows, while the troupe is administered by a board of parents.
Katie Grilliot is directing "Aladdin" with Sarah Maxwell as her assistant, Ryan Albrecht as stage manager and Matt Guion as music director, leading a small pit band.
Cagle, who plays the genie, said he appreciates the work of the young directors who treat them more as fellow actors than as kids.
Jafar (left, performed by Daniel Nabinger) is seen with Iago the parrot (right, performed by Bob Walters).
As the parrot Iago (Bob Walters) in the play says: "What's worse than being treated like a parrot is being treated like a kid."
Cagle said the directors can get strict when needed.
It's not fun and games, that was evident as choreographer Bessie Smith cautioned the cast during the first technical rehearsal about staying alert as they moved about the stage, lest they or some else gets injured.
As Grilliot moved them through their paces she seemed to make few concessions to their age. There a show to put on, and the cast was expected to do their best.
Nusaiba, who prefers to use her first name only on stage, said that the troupe is a friendly welcoming bunch. The freshman at Anthony Wayne heard about the show from friends.
This is her first Horizon Youth production. Still she's always loved dressing up, and the theater offers her a way of expressing that.
"Aladdin" is all about being free to express oneself. The main characters are all prisoners in one way or another.
Jasmine is "a princess who feels like a prisoner," and Aladdin is a free spirit but still a prisoner of his poverty.
The genie is prisoner of the lamp, and even the sultan (Martin Simon) is constrained by the rules and tradition of his society.
That means he must marry off his daughter whether she approves or not.
The evil Jafar (Daniel Nabinger) plots to marry Jasmine himself and usurp the throne from her father.
He captures and imprisons Aladdin. But Aladdin discovers the lamp and frees himself and his monkey Abu with the help of a flying carpet (Skylar Frishman). Aladdin's attempts to pass himself off as a prince fail, and his true identity is discovered. In the end his quick wit and charm prevail.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 11:29

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