By: Ryan Hans, Rancocas Valley Regional High School
FRANKLINVILLE, N.J. – With a Genie who grants three wishes, a princess who longs for more outside of the palace, and a street rat who wants to make his mama proud, Delsea Regional High School took us to “A Whole New World” with their production of Aladdin Jr.!
Following the release of the hit animation Aladdin, a junior stage version of the same name was released years later and remains a timeless classic for schools around the country. After the Broadway show debuted in 2014, the classic junior stage version was reworked to correlate with the hit musical over at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City. With nominations for five Tony Awards, and winning one, the story brought to life on stage truly did not disappoint. Narrated by the powerful Genie, the story of Aladdin tells the story of a young street rat by the same name, who wishes to become a prince to be worthy of the young princess, named Jasmine. Caught in his lie, the themes of honesty, true love, and friendship are represented effortlessly throughout the plot of Aladdin Jr.
Delsea Regional High School put on a spectacle of a show. I was extremely impressed by the costuming of the show, and the overall energy from the cast and crew. The large ensemble numbers including “Friend Like Me” and “Prince Ali” caught the attention of the audience, and were rewarded with well-deserved applause.
The talented students who played the leads in this show truly did not disappoint. The charismatic Christopher Otto brought Genie to life and played the character in a way I haven’t seen before. Leila Parker, who played Princess Jasmine, shined from the moment the spotlight hit her, later bringing the house down in “These Palace Walls”. Rounding out the lead performers, Vincent Crocilla as Aladdin brought true life to the stage and allowed an intimate connection between the actors and audience. He was engaged in the character from the opening number to the bows. While I enjoyed the lead performers, I would have liked to see more risk and character choices taken to foster a deeper meaning between character relationships.
Even the supporting actors in the show dominated the stage from the moment they walked on. Iago, played by Lamar Bronson, was a standout performance. His comedic timing and stage presence had the audience in tears. I enjoyed the way he interacted with his co-actors and continued to keep the energy up within the cast. Asha Parker, the dance captain, captured my attention whenever she was on the stage, despite dance formation or style. She took over, not only with her dance ability but her expression and presence. Most impressive was the cast’s ability to persevere through a music malfunction. Despite the opening number soundtrack going out, the ensemble persisted and stayed together without missing a beat.
The costumes, lighting, and sets did not go unnoticed within this production. I enjoyed how every set, costume, and light fixture told a different story. The abundance of set changes was extremely impressive; however, I would have liked to see quicker transitions between them.
Delsea’s recent production Aladdin Jr. was an exciting night, full of talent and high energy. The cast and crew were always “One Jump Ahead,” making an extraordinary show!
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