KALAHEO — “A Whole New World” opens at the Kalaheo School cafeteria when the school’s drama club raises the curtain on “Disney’s Aladdin Jr.,” starting at 7 tonight.
This is the 15th year the Kalaheo School drama club is presenting its well-known student performances, but is the first time the production is under the directorship of Tani Ishino, who gets help from the program’s founder Marly Madayag.
“This is the first time I get to direct a production,” Ishino said. “I’ve been involved in community theater for 16 years, but have never directed anything.”
Performances continue on April 28, May 4 and May 5, with 7 p.m. curtain times. A matinee will be staged May 6 at 2 p.m.
“We’ve been working on this since school started,” Ishino said. “The students are very creative, and I’ve given them the license on creativity and some of the dance routines. I’m very excited to see this come to life.”
The musical production is based on the iconic animated film with an Academy Award-winning score by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.
“Disney’s Aladdin Jr.” is the saga of a street urchin, Aladdin, contesting for the attention of the beautiful princess Jasmine with the assistance of a magical genie and flying carpet.
“This is a lot of fun,” said Erin Hunt, cast as the genie. “I’ve had other parts in other productions, and every one works so hard to make this work. The hard part is having to give up a lot of time. I barely had a Saturday because of rehearsals. One-day weekends are hard.”
During Aladdin’s quest for Jasmine’s attention, Jafar, the villainous vizier (or “Captain of the Guards”) hatches ruthless plans to prevent the pair from finding love.
“I’m a bit nervous,” said Sean Butts, cast as Jafar. “I’ve had other roles in ‘Honk Jr.,’ and in ‘Aladdin Jr.,’ the hardest part is not to smile when I capture Aladdin.”
“Disney’s Aladdin Jr.,” which previously enjoyed out-of-costume previews during appearances at Kukui Grove Center, is a musical adventure filled with magic, mayhem and the power of love.
“These kids are ready for an over-the-top performance,” said Amy Blanchard, a parent volunteer. “Kris Hunt, the lead for costumes, has done an amazing job. The makeup is superb, and people need to come and be amazed by all the hard work that parents, students and countless volunteers from the Kauai community have put into this production.”
Donations are welcome. Advance tickets are available at the school for $5 for adults. Students aged 2 through grade 5 are $1 with proceeds supporting the Kalaheo School drama club for next year’s performances at the cafeteria-turned-auditorium.
Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis, so leaders encourage people to arrive early and enjoy the food booth and silent auction.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.