Lily Esteban, left, and Eli Constantenescu are Xtreme Theatre mini-students who are featured in a pre-show performance of Pirates Past Noon. (Contributed)

Flying high in Xtreme Theatre’s production of Aladdin

The junior production of the Disney musical runs Apr. 12 to 14.

The street urchin Aladdin and Princess Jasmine will be flying high in Xtreme Theatre’s production of the award-winning Disney musical.

The junior production of Aladdin will feature two casts of 30 children, nine to 13 years old.

Aladdin is a poor boy living off the streets of Agrabah with his pet monkey, Abu, when he is sent to prison for stealing. He is freed by the evil grand vizier of the Sultan, Jafar, disguised as an old man, and told to fetch a lamp hidden with a Cave of Wonders.

But after being told to touch nothing but the lamp, Abu grabs a red jewel and the cave collapses. With the help of a flying carpet, Aladdin and Abu make it out only to be thrust back in again by Jafar, who accidentally throws the lamp back in, as well.

Inside the cave, Aladdin rubs the lamp and frees the genie, who tells him he will grant him three wishes.

Aladdin’s first wish is to become a prince in order to be considered a suitor to the Princess Jasmine.

Eventually, Jafar figures out Aladdin’s true identity and steals the lamp from him to become the world’s most powerful sorcerer.

Aladdin convinces him to use his final wish to become an all-powerful genie instead, and Jafar does, forgetting that a genie is bound to live in a lamp until it is rubbed by someone else.

“It is very much like the movie. So you will see and hear all the favourites from the Disney movie,” said Johanna Reed, chair of the board of directors for Xtreme Theatre.

Songs include Friend Like Me, One Jump and A Whole New World.

What is unique about Xtreme Theatre, Reed says, is that the parents put a whole lot of time and love into creating wonderful costumes, sets and props.

“It’s very different than your regular after-school theatre group. It’s a whole community that’s invested a whole lot of love and passion into all aspects of the theatre,” she said about the theatre program for home-schooled children.

“The kids are rehearsing from September through to April. It’s a course for them. It’s part of their academic schooling,” explained Reed.

She loves the Arabian costumes that are all jewel-toned, bright colours and beautiful fabrics that are “very flowy, very fun to watch.”

Another feature of the production will be the large genie lamp created by the parents. It measures 1.5 metres across and about 1.2 metres high.

The flying carpet will be a moving piece that Jasmine and Aladdin will sit on.

“[There] will be smoke and it will be moved around on the stage like there is clouds beneath them and giving you the impression of flying,” said Reed.

And there will be comedic undertones throughout the performance between the role of the genie and the narrators of the story.

Before the main show, a mini group of performers, ages five to eight, will put on a pre-show called Pirates Past Noon, from the Magic Treehouse Series of books by Mary Pope Osborne.

Jack and Annie, who are brother and sister, are the main characters in the books, and are transported back to a time of pirates. The pre-show will be 20 minutes.

Aladdin runs about one hour.

“It’s wonderful for young kids to come to because it’s just the right amount of length of show. It caters very well to young audiences and families,” said Reed.

Xtreme theatre was created by Wendy Holm to provide an opportunity for all home-schooled children to experience musical theatre. The group has a Christian leaning, but children of all faith backgrounds are welcome to join.

•The Xtreme Theatre production of Disney’s Junior Aladdin takes place Apr. 12, 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. with one matinée performance at 2 p.m. on Apr. 14 at the ACT Arts Centre, 11944 Haney Place in Maple Ridge.

Tickets are $16 and are available by calling 604-476-2787 or at theactmapleridge.org.

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