Rattling tambourines, magic carpets, and a colorful cast of characters were centerstage in Larson Hall this week as Grade 6 performed Aladdin. Students relentlessly prepared for their performances – remembering lines, rehearsing songs, learning dances, and creating costumes in anticipation of their annual musical.
Aladdin, a poor street orphan, begins a tale of adventure when he meets a young princess who is forced to be married. Aladdin's luck suddenly changes when he retrieves a magical lamp and unleashes a fun-loving genie who only wishes to have his freedom, but the sinister Jafar and his quest for power may grant Aladdin and the princess a future they never wished for.
Director Shawn Verrier is thrilled to have brought the story from the screen to Derby’s stage with the help of his talented cast and crew, adding:
“The most simple household objects take on a life of their own. A certain magic fills the air as you navigate this familiar soundtrack of songs and piece together the story for your captive audience. This was the beginning of my love for storytelling, and I suspect a familiar sentiment among most people.
With elegantly crafted set pieces that soar across this massive stage like roller skates, carefully picked costumes that indicate the setting with a certain camp-like playfulness, and a simple color scheme to establish various locations but rely on imagination, I believe our “living room drama” aesthetic is achieved. For this I thank Andy Remillard, Rachel Dranoff, and Ashley Caulfield for their expert execution and inspiring creativity. They elevate the work on so many levels, and we all benefit greatly from their care for the students and expansion of their craft. Derelyn Kahler, is a star for her incredible gift and commitment to excellence. She is the musical pulse of this creation.
When I say “creation,” I mean the actors who devised much of their own movement and acting choices. They collaborated with one another, and enthusiastically embraced the work with such care and investment. It was an honor to be a part of this process on so many levels, but I am mostly grateful to the students for their humor and heart. It is also an honor to be supported by the Derby community on this, my second musical production as faculty here. My thanks are endless for both your support and encouragement.
It is total coincidence that the live-action film is being released the day after our final performance. That being said, I wanted to tap into some nostalgia and remembering the old VHS film from the 90s. I hope you catch glimpses of that throughout. I am dedicating this performance to my cousin Cait and remembering our rendition of Aladdin twenty-five years ago. You will see glimpses of her in sparkle and movement. Enjoy the ride!”
While all students at Derby Academy have the opportunity to be on stage, from Pre-K through to Grade 8, the Grade 6 musical is a special milestone for students. From the excellent singing, acting, and stage design, to the music and exceptional costumes, everyone has contributed in bringing a silver screen and Broadway experience to Derby!