THE BUZZ: Travel through Arabian nights at P.S. 186’s “Aladdin”

Students at P.S. 186 invite you to hop on a magic carpet and fly to their presentation of “Aladdin Kids” made possible by a grant from the Walt Disney Company.

The Bensonhurst school applied for the grant in November and was one of five schools in the city to receive it. The main advantage of the grant is the services the school receives from the professional teaching artists of the Disney theatrical department.

“They are experienced actors who are also teachers,” explained Sam Crick, ExpandED program director of NIA Community Services Network, who collaborated with P.S. 186 teachers in preparing for the play and also runs the afterschool program year round.

The teaching artists taught the students basic stage lingo by giving them a crash course in musical theater. “They build capacity so we can put this on without them next year,” Crick said.

The play features all the original music and lyrics by Tim Rice, as well as the movie script. It is adapted for an ensemble and abridged for time. P.S. 186 will be able to use the Disney copyrighted material through the end of 2012.

The costumes and set were worked on by NIA members and P.S. 186 teachers and students. The technology is also advanced, with stage and spot lights, hanging microphones and a sound system.

The show features all the classic tunes from Disney’s “Aladdin” movie, including “Friend Like Me,” “A Whole New World” and “Prince Ali.” Students have been rehearsing the play since late January, having separate sessions for choreography and vocals, and are eager to show what they have learned.

Fifth grader Felicity Ramirez plays Jasmine; Bryant Lay, in fifth grade, is Aladdin; Summer Demaidi, in fifth grade, plays Iago; fourth grader Mohammed Rashid is Jafar and Zikrikhudo Alidodov, in fifth grade, is the Sultan.

As an added plus, each of the schools which received the grant will perform one number from its show on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theater on June 12.

Fifth grader Anaiah Rivera, who plays the lamp vendor, said it felt great to get to know her classmates better while rehearsing. “You can get all your emotions out and express yourself,” she said.

Andres Valle, who is an understudy for Aladdin, a peasant boy, bread vendor and skeleton, said he enjoyed playing multiple parts. “It feels great and I met new friends,” he said.

Third grader Emily Rivera, who plays the Genie, said she was excited to be in the play. “I had fun on stage telling funny jokes,” she said. “I am glad that I am in the play because I am really shy and this is one time I have confidence.”

“Aladdin Kids” will be performed on Thursday, May 24 at 7 p.m. at P.S. 186’s auditorium, located at 7601 19th Avenue. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased by calling Parent Coordinator Elaine Delaney at 718-236-7071.

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