What do you get when you combine a hero, a villain, a magic lamp (and its genie) and a whole lot of orphans? Creston’s own version of Aladdin, of course!
Footlighters Theatre Society and Adam Robertson Elementary School will be bringing the centuries-old tale to the Prince Charles Theatre from Dec. 1-3, in a production that will offer an evening of fun for the whole family.
This is the seventh time writer-director Frank Goodsir has adapted a fairy tale or legend to the stage, and the second time he’s produced Aladdin, which was one of a series of five that ran in Creston in the early 1980s.
“The earlier ones didn’t involve hordes of kids,” said Goodsir. “I’ve altered the story to use a lot of kids. We used them very effectively in Jack and the Beanstalk.”
Footlighters has done several shows involving students, such as Oliver, The King and I and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Most shows involving a lot of children are done in co-ordination with Adam Robertson Elementary School, which shares the profit, putting the proceeds toward fine arts programs.
A 40-year veteran of teaching elementary students, it was a logical step to include children when Goodsir wrote Jack and the Beanstalk, which Footlighters and ARES presented in 2007.
“I think parents and grandparents will be very pleased,” Goodsir said. “Anybody who comes to see it will be very pleased with the kids.”
The adult cast, too, he said, is a big part of the show’s appeal. Goodsir wrote each part with specific performers in mind, tailoring the roles to their skills, at the same time keeping the story as far as possible from the popular Disney film.
Gail Kitt plays the long-suffering Widow, who looks after the orphans, with little help from her good-for-nothing son, Aladdin (Brian Lawrence), who falls madly in love with Princess Zubbediya (Jacqui Vezina), daughter of the Sultan (Jon Smith) and Sultana (Jo-Ann Ewing). Complicating matters is the interference of wicked Alitutu (Jason Smith) and his assistant, Hasan (Kienna Dyer), as they scheme to get their hands on the magic lamp that is home to the Genie (Colin Hardwick).
The show is narrated by Ann Deatherage as she tells the story to her grandson, Lief. The cast also includes Malcolm Ferguson as executioner Chop Chop, Mack Sanderson as his assistant, Chip Chip, and Axel Marini, T.J. van Hooft, Vern Gorham and Dan Caverly, along with a full complement of belly dancers choreographed by Susan Jorgenson.
The cast, clad in costumes designed by Jennifer Dewald, participate in over a dozen songs, overseen by Geri Buchanan, with accompanists Joanna Wilson and Lorraine Doeleman, and a band directed by Jason Deatherage. Songs include A Bushel and a Peck, High Hopes, Lonely Boy, A Wonderful Day Like Today, Those Were the Good Old Days and Thank You Very Much, selected from Goodsir’s vast music collection.
“I start going through it and I say, ‘That’s a good song. Where can I fit that in?’ ”
Aladdin runs at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1-3 at Prince Charles Theatre. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, and $5 for children under 12.
— FOOTLIGHTERS THEATRE SOCIETY