Itawamba Agricultural High School’s Indian Players are looking to give theater guests treatment worthy of Agrabah royalty, this weekend, with their latest production, “Aladdin Jr.”
Filled with love, magic and adventure, the musical is based on Disney’s 1992 award-winning film and its 2014 Broadway counterpart. Victoria Blake, head of the school’s drama department, said this year’s production is filled with colorful costumes, enchanting scenes and a phenomenal cast.
“We always have a great cast with all of our productions, but this year there is a lot of excitement in the air,” Blake said. “We had some surprises when tryouts came around.”
Two of the production’s main characters are longtime stagehands who decided it was time to come out from their “behind the scenes” roles and try acting. Both landed major parts in the production.
“Preston Cox, who plays Aladdin, is our former stage crew manager, and Brady Wood, who plays Genie, was also a part of the stage crew,” Blake said. “They both tried out, and it’s as if they were made for the roles.”
Blake said the magic of “Aladdin Jr.” stretches beyond the stellar cast. With props like the tiger-like Cave of Wonder and the romantic magic carpet ride, she says she depends on a host family and friends to help pull it off.
“I could not do it without them,” she said. “They spend hours and hours putting sets together. They really make the production what it is.”
Blake’s husband, Robert, designed and built much of the set, while her mother-in-law, Barbara Blake, rallied other family members and friends to add the intricate details.
When it comes to choreography, no one is more experienced than Blake’s own daughter, Valerie. She’s been a part of the Indian Players since she was five.
“She’s been in 12 productions,” Blake said. “She’s a great choreographer. It’s a blessing to have my family to lean on when it comes to our productions.”
As far as technical director, Blake depends on Seth Shelnutt.
“He is amazing when it comes to that,” Blake added. “We are very fortunate to have so many people willing to do what they do to make this happen.”
Blake said she also has to give credit to the students who participate in the productions. Not only do they work hard to make the plays successful, but they use much of the funds from the production to give back to the community.
“We give to needy families during Christmas and to other organizations,” she said. “We’re not just teaching them about acting, we’re teaching them about civic responsibility too. We feel that’s important.”
The IAHS Indian Players’ production of “Aladdin Jr.” run will Feb. 13-16, with 7 p.m. shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and a 2 p.m. performance on Sunday. Pre-sale tickets are $7 and are available at Fulton City Hall and the IAHS front office. Tickets sold at the door will be $8.