A whole new world is opening up at Bellevue Society for the Arts when its Children’s Theatre performs Aladdin, Jr. Seventy-five to eighty children will converge on Bellevue from Norwalk, Sandusky, Clyde and Milan for this enchanting Disney tale of a street rat who meets a Princess and falls in love with her. She is smitten with him as well but with all stories ending in happily ever after, there must be some turmoil, twists and turns before it is achieved.
“I had a couple of shows in mind,” says Danielle Hayward-Sneider, “but this is a really fun show and appeals to a lot of kids.” The “jr.” in the title just means it’s a little more concise and the music may be a little simpler. Of course, if these children grew up on Disney’s Aladdin then there should be no trouble whatsoever learning the music as they’ve probably been singing it all along.
Heck, much of the audience will know the music. “A Whole New World”, “One Jump Ahead” and “Prince Ali” are songs any Disney fan knows and loves. “They are great songs,” says Hayward-Sneider, ‘The music is sung and played under dialogue; even my music director says she forgot how great the songs are and the kids will never get the music out of their heads.”
WANT TO GO?
•WHAT: Aladdin, Jr.
•WHEN: April 11 and 12, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.; April 13, 2014 at 2:30 p.m.
•WHERE: Bellevue Society for the Arts Children’s Theatre, 205 Maple Street, Bellevue; Reservations line: 419-484-ARTS (2787); reservations are highly recommended
•COST: $12.00 adults 18+; $8.00 seniors 60 and over and students K-12
There are some disappointing omissions as there is no Rajah nor Abu, although it would be difficult to keep a tiger and monkey under control on stage. Hayward-Sneider has expanded some roles or added to them so all the kids have their moment to shine. For instance, there is a crew of dancers that was a trio of harem girls and is now a collective of eight who are part of the magic carpet, a character in and of itself, and they double as dancers elsewhere throughout the show. There is also a large chorus with a variety of singing challenges.
“My set builders came through again,” says Hayward-Sneider, “even though they aren’t the same crew I had before.” The City of Agrabah has rooftops, ladders and escape stairs that are all usable and the entire thing is set on rolling casters. Plus, there’s a huge throne for the Sultan.
Tons of new faces have appeared to be in Aladdin, Jr. even though Bellevue’s Children’s Theatre only allows up to age 13.