A new Aladdin plays at Morinville
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 06:00 am
Saturday, Jan. 18 at 2 p.m.
Morinville Community Cultural Centre
9502 – 100 Ave.
Tickets: $10. Call 780-420-2757 or purchase online at www.tixonthesquare.ca or at the door
In a far away exotic land under the hot sun, a young ne’er-do-well’s life changes forever when he is entrusted with a magic ring and lamp.
Yes, after years of thieving to support his widowed mother, Aladdin’s luck changes dramatically after encountering an evil magician who leads him to an enchanted cave.
And that’s probably where the similarities end to the Disney’s animated pop culture version, the one we’ve come to believe is gospel.
In celebrating its 30th anniversary, Alberta Opera is spreading its wings. Their Aladdin is a stylish production enhanced with stunning costumes and a multi-purpose set for its 230 touring shows.
And it’s making a stop at Morinville Community Cultural Centre on Saturday, January 18.
“We really put our hearts in the show. It’s so high energy and the team was incredible. This was the perfect scenario with everyone putting their hearts on their sleeves. We were on the same page and this is a bright spectacular show. We wanted to create something we hadn’t created before and we succeeded,” says artistic director Farren Timoteo.
In the Alberta Opera version, the mysterious magician leads the young ruffian to a cave, and gives him a ring and instructions on bringing the lamp back. But when Aladdin returns with the prize, he hesitates to give it to the impatient magician before stepping out of the cave.
“The magician gets angry, seals him in and he is trapped.”
Aladdin kneads his hands in despair and discovers by rubbing the two objects, they will grant him any desire.
As with every Alberta Opera production, Aladdin also reflects an educational component. This one-hour production’s themes reflect greed, infinite power and knowing when enough is enough.
Actors Adam Sanders stars as Aladdin, Erica Ullyot is Yesenia and St. Albert improv instructor Byron Martin plays Maalick the Magician as well as an additional 10 character roles.
In writing this musical, Timoteo researched multiple Aladdin fables.
“Did you know the original Aladdin is Chinese?” asks Timoteo before adding that the entire production is a mish-mash of Middle Eastern flavours including a high-spirited Bollywood number.
“Our Aladdin exists in a fictional universe where we all exist. It’s the Kingdom of Sharahzad from Scheherazade’s Book of 1001 Nights.”
Composer Jeff Unger has orchestrated and arranged a high-energy score of seven songs.
“Jeff is so versatile. He bounces from one genre to the next quite effortlessly. He was trained in classical but has a passion for Broadway and that makes him the perfect fit.”
One of the showstoppers is More, an Aladdin solo that reflects how greed has affected his life.
“It’s fun. It’s rousing. You see him get what he wants, but you see it laced with greed.”
In addition to the regular cast, 16 volunteer students from Morinville will fill in in spear-carrier roles.