Friday, March 08, 2013

All About Aladdin

I like that title because it's alliterative and descriptive, but I could never, in a million words, say ALL that I would like to say about Aladdin! It was one of my favorite theater experiences ever.

Much of my enjoyment came from being a part of it from the beginning, as the intern director. From auditions, callbacks and casting on through rehearsals and a hair-raising production week--(we missed an entire dress/tech rehearsal due to a snowstorm)--it was such fun to be a part of the whole process. I couldn't have imagined a better team of directors to work with and learn from.

And the kids! They were just amazing. I saw such dedication from dancers, actors, vocalists and "triple threats." It was really rewarding to work with them.

Another reason this show will be unforgettable was that nearly all our family was involved! We had four kids onstage--for the first and probably only time.  B22 ran a spotlight, I directed, and Papa Rooster was the parent photographer who took backstage shots (for a "behind the scenes" photo CD), headshots (for the program), and costume shots (for candy bar wrappers sold as souvenirs, and for badges parents could purchase which identified them as the proud parent of the cast member[s] pictured). For the first time ever, he was also the professional photographer, who took the cast photo and other professional group or individual shots, as well as photos during shows which can be ordered through his website individually, on a disc, or in a photo memory book. Big learning curve for him, but a great opportunity to do what he loves and is so good at!

I don't know how I can possibly choose from among the hundreds of photos he took, so I will limit myself to just a few of our kids' big moments...and encourage you to go check out the rest! (I will post a link once his website is ready to go live.) Such beautiful costumes and colors...it was visually stunning. I wish I could post video of the dancing too--such high-energy, Bollywood-style, FUN stuff!

So here's a taste! (Click to enlarge each image.)

It was B8's first show, and he got to wear a mic and deliver a few lines of advice to the snake charmer. ("Maybe, if you'd play some better music, the snake would come out.")

After  singing throughout a high speed chase slow-mo pursuit with strobe lights, Aladdin (B17) and his three friends finally escape the Palace Guards...

...and Aladdin gets to catch his breath during a flashback scene of simpler times when his mother was still alive. This sweet trio was such a touching moment, every night.
Meanwhile, Jasmine has to endure the attentions of another suitor, Prince Zorak (played by B14), "the most sought-after prince in the known world, with the best education, training, and of course..."
"...good looks."
The Prince Zorak scene included a Treasure Dance, a guys' Sword Dance, and girls' Servant Dance. While his entourage presented these gifts, Prince Zorak did his own interpretive dance moves around the stage. (I could have chosen 20 awesome photos from this scene alone--between Zorak's facial expressions and the expressive dancers, it will be worth it to view the whole album, once it's ready!

B14 also played the Captain of the Palace Guard. Here he interrogates Aladdin who, to protect Jasmine, claims she is his sister. "What's her name?" "She...bah...  Sheba! That's her name! C'mon, Sheba, Mother is looking for us. Silly Sheba, we're supposed to be washing vegetables. Come with me, Sheba..."  B14, watching suspiciously as they exit, sneers:  "Vegetables?"

Aladdin takes Jasmine to his hideout, where he and his friends perform a fun musical number to introduce themselves. "Jasmine, you ain't seen nothing near/ The kind of friends you've got right here...."

But the Palace Guard bursts in to arrest them. (It's okay if you snicker at B14's turban. We all did. Sometimes it was totally lopsided; sometimes it looked like a diaper. It added comedy to his character.)

Jafar takes Aladdin to the Cave of Wonders to get the lamp, and an earthquake seals him in.  He meets the Genie of the Lamp, but he needs persuading that the Genie is really that great and powerful. It takes a colorful musical number--complete with 16 blue-faced mini-Genies, confetti cannons and a Magic Carpet--to convince him. (Ya gotta enlarge this one...Chicklet 10 and B8 are the blondes in matching green in front.)

This was a tech rehearsal, and the mini-Genies aren't blue, but I like this "Going up!" shot of the end of Act 1, with the Magic Carpet spread out in front (and B8 in green,  there in back.) Strobes and a sound effect were added too.

In Act 2, B14 (back row left) also got to be in "Prince Ali's" (Aladdin's) entourage, in the hardest and best dance number of the show. He really enjoyed this third role.

At the end of the number, he and a friend carry his brother out on their shoulders!

The Magic Carpet Ride looked really cool with blowing clouds projected on the backdrop and dry ice creating clouds  onstage.

It became a little less romantic--and cuter--after the Mini Genies joined in the number. Usually they were in shadow,  but this shot was from dress rehearsal. (B8 in front, C10 in back, in matching green.)

B14, as Palace Guard, had a line in which he tells Aladdin and friends, who are prisoners, to "Quiet down in there." In rehearsal, just for fun, he banged on the gate with his elbow and pretended he was in agony from hitting his funny bone. The director said, "Let's keep it--but make it bigger and keep groaning over and over." It was a stupid gag, but he did it so well, it was a crowd-pleaser!

Aladdin and friends escape and sneak into Jafar's lair dressed as women. That's B17 (Aladdin) in red there in front.

As he dances with Jafar, Aladdin's head covering falls off and Jafar recognizes Aladdin! A swordfight ensues until Aladdin snatches up the lamp and Jafar breaks it with his sword, freeing the Genie and doing away with himself.

In the front row, in green, B8 and Chicklet 10 sing "oooo's" as the wedding party arrives. See B17 in white in back?

And you'll have to enlarge this one...all four on one stage! (B14 is behind the Sultan, to left of Jasmine.)
My job was to hit Play on the computer for each song, sound effect and piece of transition music. It's no one's favorite job--just a little stressful to always get the timing right--but I was finally feeling a bit more comfortable by the last show!
Ahh, Aladdin...it was a good run!

4 comments:

genamayo said...

Wonderful photos! I'm glad to see some of my own son in these as well. Turban looks like a diaper-ha!
--Gena at ichoosejoy.org

At A Hen's Pace said...

Gena.

There will be many more, coming soon!

And thanks for all your hard work on costumes...and glad you can laugh with me about his turban! ;)

~Jeanne

Anonymous said...

Aaargh, makes ye Onkel Phil wanna join dem buckaroos. Good show from the henhouse!
Und dass, meine Freunde, ist meine Beobachtung aus Deutschland ├╝ber Ihre Henne Tempo blog!

Matt said...

Jeanne:
The production quality of Aladdin looks amazing, and the photos also show how much dedication the kids put into it.
-Matt