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South Valley Journal

Kids, Teens Perform Disney Classic

Oct 06, 2016 02:14PM ● By Tori LaRue

The lead actors and actresses of Aladdin pose for a picture at a rehearsal for Riverton Arts Council’s upcoming production.

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie, Jafar and all of their associates are coming to the Sandra N. Lloyd community theater stage, but audience members shouldn’t come expecting a regurgitation of the Disney cartoon they’ve seen thousands of times, according to director Lani King. 

“You know, all the personalities of our actors are so much different,” King said. “We have fabulous talent. We have incredible talent, and they are going to make this their own.” 

The production’s talent is young talent. The cast includes more than 120 members, all of them under the age of 18, and they’ve been gathering for rehearsals since Sept. 6. King said the audience should expect to see energy and enthusiasm as “Aladdin Jr.” performs mid-October. 

“It’s amazing to see these kids since auditions,” King said. “Some of them came in so nervous or almost crying, and now they’re up there dancing and singing, and that’s really, really cool.” 

“Aladdin Jr.” is a first play for many of the ensemble members, and the actor and actress who play Aladdin and Jasmine are new to Riverton Arts Council. King said it’s sure to be a fresh show. 

Kartchner Perkins, 15, said this is one of his favorite shows because it’s so lively and he gets to play Aladdin, one of his “dream roles.” Before Aladdin, Kartchner was most recently seen playing Marius in Desert Star Playhouse’s youth production of “Les Miserables.”

“Aladdin’s kind of a quirky, smart kid, and he’s Disney, so this is fun,” Kartner said. “Any character that’s Disney is just a big, fun role, so this has been very big for me, and the people here are very talented.” 

The teen actor’s favorite scene is “One Jump Ahead,” where Aladdin runs from the palace guards while singing a comedic song about stealing in order to eat. Aladdin later meets a Genie who can help him out of his financial and social pinch with some magic.

Samuel Cooper, 14, said he’s not trying to impersonate Robin Williams in his rendition of the iconic, blue genie. Instead, he said he’s trying to be all over the place with his physical actions to show the character’s zaniness. 

“I didn’t think I would get the part of the Genie to be honest,” Samuel said. “I was standing over the computer looking for the cast list, and I saw my name as the Genie, and I thought, ‘I need a minute.’ I was expecting to be in the ensemble or one of the guards.”

Samuel said he takes the show seriously because he’s grateful for landing a supporting role.  

Ethan Kay, 16, is taking on a different persona than he’s used to in “Aladdin Jr.” Although he’s been in six plays in Riverton, this is his first time playing the villain. He’ll play Jafar, the Sultan’s evil apprentice, in the Jr. production. 

“They want me to play my part with no emotion, like all he feels is evil only,” Ethan said. “It’s great to try something new.” 

Ethan said he’s mostly nervous about singing his solos, but said he knows he’ll get through them because of the support from his friends in the cast. 

“They are all super kind and trustworthy like a big family,” he said. 

“Aladdin Jr.” will run Oct. 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 24 at 7 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinee showings on Oct. 15 and 22. Tickets can be purchased at or at the door.