A blog about the amazing things teenagers do, about writing for teens, books for teens, and occasional forays into my world and the world of publishing.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oh the Drama--Chinook Middle School Presents Aladdin

Through my video work I get the opportunity to see a lot of plays. My favorites are the ones put on by high schools, middle schools, and even grade schools. I love to watch a production come together, but even more than that I love to see the cast come together, learn to work with each other, and develop friendships.

This week I got to watch students from Chinook Middle School in Lacey, Washington, rehearse Disney’s Aladdin Jr. Aladdin Jr. is the story of an Arabian street boy, Aladdin, who discovers a magic lamp. A quick rub of the lamp and a genie appears, complete with a song and dance number, three wishes, and the answer to all of his problems, (or so he thinks), including how to get close to his romantic interest, Princess Jasmine. But Aladdin has bigger problems then keeping his "street rat" identity a secret. The evil Grand Vizier, Jafar is bent on taking over the kingdom and marrying Princess Jasmine. The plot moves along with the help of the genie, a sultan, some bumbling guards, a magic carpet, and a host of villagers. The show is close to Disney's animated film version and has most of the same songs.

Watching the students work on Aladdin was especially fun for me because I saw this play performed about six times this summer through Bretschneider and Kirkwood Musical Production's summer theater project. The script is the same, the directors are the same, and even some of the actors and actresses are the same. With all of these similarities it’s still a unique interpretation of the story. Actually, the differences are what make it fun.

For example, in the summer production, Iago, the parrot, was played by a girl. She played this sidekick role as kind of a smart “eye-candy” (her mother’s term, not mine)--the beautiful woman who’s always associated with bad guys in the movies. This time around, Iago is a boy, played by Kadin Hyatt (who’s former stage credits include a troll in Three Billy Goat’s Gruff). He’s more of a wise-cracking, little-guy know-it-all. Kaydin says, “The funnest part of the being a parrot is acting like a bird. “Actually, that’s the hardest part too.”

Another interesting twist is the hero turned villain, Daniel Roe. Daniel was Aladdin this summer, but in this version he's playing Jafar. Daniel says, "Playing Aladdin was great, but I like playing the villain better because I get to put more into it and the performance is bigger."

As with most productions, (middle school or not), a lot of the drama in this play took place back stage. When the original Aladdin had too many conflicts, Connor Hawthorne was asked to step into the role at the last minute. He says, "It's exciting to play Aladdin because its a big responsibility. I was worried about learning the part, but it was easier than I thought it would be."

Aladdin is full of great music, quirky humor, and of course, magic.

Performances are Friday, March 12th and Saturday March 13th at 7:00. The performances are at the Koval Center for the Performing Arts on 600 Sleater Kinney Road NE Lacey. (Next to North Thurston high school). Tickets are $5.00 per person or $20 for a family.

This play is a fun family night and out and a great way to support the artistic talents from Chinook Middle School.

The photos featured in this post are courtesy of Ami J. Davenport at A Day to Remember Photography.


  1. A dazzling performance by all!
    A special thanks to Connor for stepping into Aladdin on such short notice. I am so grateful for your fabulous performance.

  2. I agree, excellent performance. You guys did great.