It was a whole new world for students in the St. Ephrem School Drama Club as they presented their first musical production, ‘Disney’s Aladdin, Jr.”
The show was presented on three days, January 13, 14, and 15 at the school’s auditorium, at 74th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway.
The mastermind behind the production was Susan Huizinga, of Theater On the Go!, who has directed over 30 shows at various schools. Her specialty includes going into schools which have never before done a production and helping to put one together from scratch.
“We’re always on a shoe-string budget and we always cover all expenses and have always generated income for the school,” Huizinga noted.
In the case of St. Ephrem, the choice of play was left up to the school, whose one concern was that there would be enough parts for everyone. According to Huizinga, the school chose the play because, “The songs are upbeat and fun, and it has a good story.”
“This was the first time they did a musical,” she added. “And judging by the success, it will not be the last.”
Altogether, the play had 31 cast members. In addition, five other students provided tech support. There was no faculty involved. According to Huizinga, “It was set up for parental participation. Which they did with flying colors! Wonderful parents/guardians/friends and family.”
There were auditions held early September. Rehearsals started right after auditions and were held twice weekly with a music director and a choreographer, “so they get the experience of working with an accompanist and learn to pick up dances,” Huizinga said.
The play featured all of the well-known characters from the movie including Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar, the Genie and more, as well as the film’s Academy Award-winning score, with songs by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.
“As I expected, the children, parents and Principal Mercado were blown away,” Huizinga concluded. “They were all sorry when the show was over and kept asking what we were doing next year.”