Even though many people have seen one or both of the hit films featuring the characters of Aladdin, Jasmine, and Genie, Burnet Ensemble Theatre Company Director Amanda Brandenburg believes the Burnet High School production of Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.” will take audiences on a new magical carpet ride.
“The Broadway musical version is a bit different than the movies. There’s more songs, and there’s a few more characters. Both Jasmine and Aladdin have few more friends around them,” Bradenburg said. “But the big difference for us is we spend a lot of time looking at each character, their perspective, and how our kids can really bring those stories to the stage. On top of that, it’s more about having your own energy and personality on the stage.”
Performances are 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 18-20, at the high school’s Performing Arts Center, 1000 The Green Mile in Burnet. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and can be purchased online.
The production tells the story of a streetwise kid named Aladdin who falls in love with the princess Jasmine. But because of their very different statuses, that love could never lead anywhere.
Until Aladdin finds a bottle and releases Genie, who can grant him three wishes.
On the surface, the story seems fairly simple, but Brandenburg said “Aladdin Jr.” offers a deeper message.
“I think it resonates with kids because the whole story of ‘Aladdin’ is being true to yourself,” she said. “I think everyone feels some pressure to be someone they aren’t, especially kids and teenagers, but where we really find that strength is when we remember who we are and live from there.”
Brandenburg’s students picked “Aladdin Jr.” for their fall production. The cast includes Stellan Zollitsch as Aladdin, Eileen Crist as Jasmine, and Faith Green as Genie.
A crew of BETC students works behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly.
“I have one who pretty much designed the entire set,” Brandenburg said. “Then, there are a couple of kids who did an amazing job with costume design. And, we have a light and sound operator who is incredible.”
That’s one of the benefits of having theater studies in school.
“I hope they learn valuable lessons they can apply on and off the stage in their lives,” Brandenburg said. “They learn to work as a team, how to collaborate, and just how to keep working at something, even when it gets hard or doesn’t go their way.”
She said another great thing about live theater is anything can happen, and usually does.
“No one who comes to any of the three nights is getting the same performance,” Brandenburg said. “I think that’s what makes live theater so exciting.”