The tale of a street rat with a heart of gold comes to life in Diamond Valley Singers production of Aladdin Junior. The story of Aladdin has captured the hearts of young and old, with the Disney film and productions of the musical running on Broadway and currently touring Australia.
This production includes all of your favourites, with the fierce princess Jasmine, the powerful Sultan, the wicked Jafar and the of course the Genie, made famous by Robin Williams.
Maddy Corburn, plays the role of the Genie and is thrilled to be involved with her first production with DVS.
“Having my friends come and see me, wearing the makeup and costume, being thrown in the air and coming through the trap door!!,” she said, she looks forward to the most.
But she also recognises that beyond the makeup and costumes, there is a special message.
“Don’t be too greedy, be who you are,” she said.
Director Rin Gray loves the magic and wonder of the show, she also acknowledges the overarching theme of freedom.
“For Aladdin, it’s freedom from poverty; for Jasmine, it’s freedom from a patriarchal regime…and for the Genie, it’s freedom from slavery.” She said.
Her favourite part of the production though is the cast and the journey they have been on.
“It’s always exciting to test out a new cast and to watch the kids grow into their characters.”
“I really love working with these kids, they’re motivated, they’re talented, they look after each other, they thank us at the end of rehearsals, it’s just awesome.” She said.
A standout among the 62 strong cast for Gray is Lyla Digrazia, who at only fifteen years old is taking on the role of Jasmine.
“It’s not very often you find such a voice in someone so young. Luckily for us, she can also act, dance, and looks great in pale blue sparkly stuff, so she was a shoe-in for Jasmine.” She said.
Gray accepts that a cast of youths all under the age of 18 can at times be ‘bedlam’, the joy she gets from watching them create their characters is worth it.
“Some of my favourite times are when kids ‘click into’ their roles. By this I mean that they find whatever it is in their character that makes it a part of themselves. Then they really start to act well and their character comes alive for the audience.
“The guards in this show had such a moment just a few days ago. They had been going through the motions, being guards, all stiff upper lip, when suddenly they all clicked into character and they became this group of dopey buffoons who were really funny.” she said.
Youth theatre allows children to not only grow as actors, but also within themselves, said Gray.
“There is so much positive stuff that comes from theatre; the friends, the music, the teamwork, developing confidence and poise, learning to be directed by someone without taking it as criticism, learning humility as well as learning how to strut your stuff…I can’t really overemphasise how much development goes on in the course of a show. “ she said.
With an academy award winning score, heart warming love story and iconic songs such as ‘Friend Like Me’ and ‘A Whole New World’, this show is one for all ages and Disney fans alike.
Aladdin Junior is directed by Rin Gray and John Leahy.
Aladdin Junior will be performed at Warrandyte High School
Running April 21 – May 6 for 12 shows
Saturday 1pm & 5pm
To book, head to try booking
Editor’s note: Aladdin Jnr was to have opened on April 20, but due to circumstances beyond the control of the Diamond Valley Singers, the opening performance will now take place at 1pm on Saturday April 21.