July 18, 2013 | Volume 43, Number 28

Youthful 'Lamp' to light up Chilkat Center

Putting on a children’s play presents special challenges.

For “The Magical Lamp of Aladdin,” that includes piles of shiny jewels lying about backstage. “There’s a lot of people who want to play with the props and mess with them,” said Al Weber, 15, the play’s stage manager.

There’s also locating props appropriate for a play set in ancient Arabia. Lynn Canal Community Players at press time was still searching for a small gong to be used by the executioner named Chop-Chop to herald the arrival of the sultan.

Despite challenges, guest director Michelle Knight Reinhardt said the culminating production of the local theater group’s Summer Youth Theater Conservatory will be enjoyable. The play will be staged 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Chilkat Center.

“The show moves at a lively pace and tells a good story. It has flying carpets and a monkey, and it’s not that long,” Knight Reinhardt said. Plus, it’s a familiar story with a rough-hewn, street urchin hero who is lovable despite his flaws, a strong-headed princess whose hand won’t be easily won, an evil magician and three lovely genies.

Talia Fielding, 8, of Skagway, portrays the Genie of the Jewels. She said her favorite part comes when Aladdin almost gets his head chopped off, but there are others. “I like quite a lot of the parts. I love the cave scene and the palace scenes.”

Taylor Ganey, 9, of Haines, who plays Zara, the lady-in-waiting to Princess Jasmine, said she’s looking forward to her pillow fight scene and thinks the audience will like the play’s humor.

Nine-year-old Aubrey Cook of Haines, who plays the storyteller Scheherazade, said she was excited to wear a “really fancy hot-pink dress” that had “lots of tiny mirrors” plus a pink and gold headdress. Cook, one of 25 youths who participated in the month-long theater camp, said it helped her learn to make her voice louder.

Director Knight Reinhardt said students also learned about character development, scenery and set design, lighting, blocking and improvisation. “They’ve been fun. I can’t believe we’re in Heck Week already. It’s coming up fast.”

Knight Reinhardt said the story is comparable to Walt Disney’s 1992 version of the Aladdin story, though not a musical. “The story is fun and it’s easy to follow. It’s like a romantic comedy. We know where it’s going but we like them anyway. We like to watch the twists and turns and see how things work out in the end.”

The play’s characters include Aladdin (Zachary Cone of Juneau), Princess Jasmine (Maya Feldman), evil magician Jammal (Dominic Stossel), Sultan (Baylor Perry), genies played by Sanona Sundberg, Talia Fielding and Stella Ordonez, Queen Sultana (Sasha Mackowiak), Halima (Keva Shull), Ali Bubba (Holden Fontenot), Chop-Chop (Logan Borcik), Aladdin’s mother (Megan Whitermore), Aladdin’s sister (Kiana Donat), Sheba (Matilda Rogers), Zara (Taylor Ganey), Scheherazade (Aubrey Cook), monkey (Scarlette Alamillo), dragon (Pacific Ricke), neighbor lady (Emma Dohrn) and merchant lady (Selby Long).