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St. Francis Junior High Presents "Aladdin Jr."

Get ready to head to Agrabah with St. Francis Junior High Theatre for their production of “Aladdin Jr.”
Posted on 03/12/2024
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St. Francis Junior High Theatre is ready to take you on a magic carpet ride to Agrabah with their upcoming musical production of “Aladdin Jr.”

The musicals director and teacher at SF, Dino Caputo, says it’s been a long road to get to opening night and has taken a lot more than just three wishes from a genie to make it here.

“We start our process in October with auditions and we hope to have our cast set by early November and then we start rehearsals,” said Caputo. “We start with choreography and music, then we move on to putting everything together, including costumes, set design and preparing the gym for what will be the final product."

This isn’t the first time that SF Theatre has done “Aladdin Jr.” but Caputo says it was a fan favorite the first time around and they expect it to be a hit once more.

“We had done Aladdin 13 years ago and when you’ve done shows for 22 different times you eventually have to repeat yourself. It’s a fun show and the cool thing about it is it’s actually a different script from the last time we did it so there’s still some originality to it and there’s a different song from the last time we did it.”

On top of Caputo and the other staff assisting with the production, there are 65 student cast members involved and another 12 plus students working behind the scenes. The students say it’s been a blast working on the show and going closer as a group over the past several months.

“It’s been a long road to get where we are now and, as one of the older students, it’s been really nice to see the new people come in and really find a space that they feel welcome and that they really enjoy being a part of,” said Hannah Haley who plays Babkak, the comedic relief and one of Aladdin’s close friends.

It’s taken awhile to get where they are now, ahead of opening, and one of the student cast members, Violet Vandenberg who plays Aladdin’s best friend Kassim, says she’s been feeling a flood of emotions leading up to the big day.

“It’s been so nerve wracking and so exciting at the same time. When I first saw the stage getting set-up, I started running around the school, telling all my friends that it was almost time and I’d be able to dance on the stage again after waiting almost a year. I can’t wait!”

Ben Hunt has scored the lead in the show, playing Aladdin, and says it’s a great way to help finish of his time at St. Francis Junior High as a Grade 9 student.

“It’s an honor being able to do this. It’s been a lot of work but it ends up paying off through the memories that you make and the family of the cast and just the experience,” said Ben. “It’s been a lot of fun doing the shows here and I’m sad to leave but I hope I can keep on performing next year once I head to Grade 10.”

Caputo says that it may “technically” be a junior high production, but he doesn’t see it that way.

“What you’re coming to see is a professional show, the only thing is that they’re junior high aged kids and we take real pride in that. We strive for excellence with everything we do. We always shoot for perfection with everything and we know that perfection can never be reached but, guess what, we’re going to try our darndest to make it there.”

“Aladdin Jr.” has their opening night tonight, March 12, at St. Francis Junior High and runs until Saturday, March 16. Tickets are available through the St. Francis website or you can click this link to get yours now.

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