Sunday, July 14, 2013

So Who Was Aladdin Anyway?

The “Aladdin Jr.” musical brings a Disney classic about adventure and magic to life. The Stages Theatre Company from Hopkins, MN is the magic and their return to The Edge Center in Bigfork this year is with even more lights, color and action. "Aladdin Jr" is a shortened adaptation of Disney's "Aladdin", which, in turn, is just one of countless adaptations of the Arabic stories in the "Arabian Nights" that go back more than a thousand years. Above is Aladdin on the magic carpet by Vasnetsov Samolet.

The “Aladdin Jr.”musical is one of Stage’s productions by young performers.  It includes magic carpet rides with Princes Jasmine, the Genie and Aladdin, plus award-winning music along with costumes and sets that will entertain and stir imaginations of all ages.  “Aladdin Jr.” will be on stage Friday through Sunday July 19 through 21 at The Edge Center in Bigfork. Performances are on Friday and Saturday 7PM and Sunday 2PM. Prices $10 for adults and $5 for children. Photo above by Bruce Challgren is of the "Aladdin Jr." production by Stages.

The original story of "Aladdin" is one of the folk tales in a collection of west and south Asian Arabic stories in "One Thousand and One Nights" or, known in English, as the "Arabian Nights".  This name is from the first English language edition of the manuscript done in 1707.  They are a collection of stories added over the centuries by translators, authors and scholars including Sir Richard Frances Burton. "Aladdin" is one of the most famous tales and was added in the 18th century by a Frenchman named Antoine Galland. Early Aladdin in the magic garden illustrated above, and princess below.

Being a good story to start with, Aladdin has been adapted countless times into different books, plays, musical theatre, pantomimes, and, in newer media, comic books, film and television. The original story, about a very poor young man in a Chinese town who is duped by a sorcerer for a devious purpose, does not necessarily match with the animated Disney feature. In the original there are two "ginns" or genies, a magic ring, and the princess is named Badroulbadour, but there is a flying carpet, magic lamp and a great love story. Changes over the years are certainly understandable for different media. And audiences today have benefited with the Disney “magic” to bring the story to the big screen. Original Arabic manuscript view below. For more background see: and

According to the Stages Artistic Director, Sandy Boren-Barrett, Aladdin Jr.'s “…appearance at Hopkins’ Stages marks its first Disney production in the 30-year history of the Theater Company. For our summer show, we like to do a family-friendly musical,” adding that this production has something for people of all ages. The show will feature songs from the Academy award-winning score, including “A Whole New World,” “One Jump Ahead” and “A Friend Like Me.”  Photo below by Bruce Challgren is of the "Aladdin Jr." production by Stages.

Sandy continues that “It seems like a great combination … with something that I think is artistically excellent and also a great kids’ show. The characters are so rich. It has a lot to offer families and enough adult humor that teenagers and adults will like it as well.”  Sandy also says that Princess Jasmine is one of the lesser-known princesses in the Disney canon, but is someone young girls can emulate and look up to. “She is such a great role model for girls – taking charge of her own life."

For The Edge theatre, the special effects promise to be something to really get your attention.  Keep in mind that the story will be surrounded by things like plumes of possibly colored “smoke” 20 feet high, confetti cannons and a “star maze”.  What a wonderful setting for these young performers to add their own “magic” of imagination and talent. Photo below by Bruce Challgren is of the "Aladdin Jr." production by Stages.

Stages Theatre Company (STC) was founded in 1984 and since then has grown to become one of the largest professional theatres for young audiences in the country. STC engages young artists with themes relevant to their lives and involve them in creating magical works featuring young people in meaningful roles. It annually serves more than 130,000 young people and their families. Photo below by Bruce Challgren is of the "Aladdin Jr." production by Stages.

For a mixture of a magic carpet ride, Broadway style music, and the energy of young performers come to one of the performances of “Adaddin Jr.” at The Edge Center in Bigfork, MN. We believe you will enjoy the experience and leave happier than when you came. You might even be humming one of the great songs.  This is great family entertainment with a life’s lesson built-in for all of us. And remember Aladdin has been doing this magic on audiences for a long time (below poster for an early pantomime production).

1 comment:

  1. the first alladin picture looks great !
    nice blog :)