and the First City Player's Performance: "Aladdin JR."
By Bill Hupe
August 13, 2006
The first piece presented was "Rain Drops", where the dancers were costumed in BP Trash Bags -- topical considering the past week's problems on the North Slope. Then we were transported to Times Square for a rendition of "New York, New York", featuring masks that the dancers themselves had designed with intricacy and care. Next came "Airplane Adventures", and the final creation, the humorous and immensely entertaining "Searching Fiction: Scooby's Adventure", which included a fish conga line. Each piece reflected a different mood, emotion and rhythm to highlight the young talent.
After a brief intermission, "Aladdin Jr." began. I had not been sure what to expect, having only seen "The Lion King" musical of the recent spate of Disney animation features-turned-musicals. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement.
The production was filled with humour that the young actors carried very well. For such a large ensemble cast, everybody performed together seamlessly, displaying as much experience as veteran stage actors in a highly choreographed shows. Even the special effects were excellent for the setting.
All of the young actors were very good in their performances, getting into their characters, that it was quite easy to forget just how young they all were. Of special note was Alexandra Souter as the wise-cracking Iago, who had the audience in stitches just about every time she uttered a line. She was simply amazing, and watching her play off Jafar was a real treat. And this, for someone who was probably the youngest actress on the stage.
Nathan Buendia played Aladdin was also outstanding. He seemed perfectly cast as the lead and delivered his lines flawlessly, and had a great singing voice as well. The weight of the show was on his shoulders, and he carried it superbly. I definitely look forward to seeing him in future productions of the First City Players.
Finally, although the role lasted only for a few brief moments, Sara Gilmon as the third suitor, (The) Prince Formerly Known as the Artist, did an excellent Charlie Chaplin routine, and gave me one of the best laughs of the evening.
Overall, all of the actors and actresses are to be congratulated for a fine performance. The night's entertainment was the result of the Summer's Fine Arts Camp, and presented by ArtsCool which is a collaboration of Ketchikan Theatre Ballet and First City Players. I would recommend that both groups continue to be supported by their proud city, Ketchikan.
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