The temperature in the Mid-South is not the only thing rising this week. On Friday, the curtains will rise on the Historic Ruffinâs latest production, Disneyâs Aladdin, Jr.Â
Aladdin, Jr. is a musical adaptation of the animated Disney film Aladdin and sure to please the entire family. Directed by France Gasquet, Aladdin, Jr. is a 90-minute whirlwind tale of love and adventure in the desert city of Agrabah, the city of enchantment that proves every beggar has a story and every camel has a tail.Â
Filled with local talent, itâs evident that the cast has been working very hard, continuing the tradition of quality productions for which the Ruffin is well-known. Â
âI am humbled and honored to direct Aladdin, Jr. at the Ruffin,â said Gasquet, a first-time Ruffin director. âI performed in my first grown up play at age 12 on this very stage, and to be back in the Ruffin as a director is exciting. This has been an amazing journey and this cast is has been incredible. I have loved watching them grow, learn, and develop into their characters.âÂ
Brighton High Schoolâs Cody Gough plays the lead as Aladdin and BHS alumni Rachel Wallis is the beautiful Princess Jasmine. Aubrey Zurhellen is larger than life as the Genie, veteran actor Roman Ziegler is cast as the evil Jafar and Keelyn Sealy provides comic relief as Jafarâs hilarious feathered sidekick, Iago.
Other cast members include:Â
Abu â Ivy Carson; Guard â Erin DodrillÂ
Ensemble â Chevela Lightfoot, Matthew Bailey, Brittany Meyer, Gabriela Aldridge and Chris Shaw
Magic Carpet â Jenna Grace Denmark and Verna Butler
Narrators â Darla Watkins, Ashlyn Aldridge, Jacquelyn Emmons and Lynda Clark
Prince/GuardÂ â William Bulleit
Razoul â Verdo ButlerÂ
Sultan â Rick EmmonsÂ
The playâs completion would not have been possible without producer/lighting technician Lorraine Birchfield; the talent of Amanda, Melissa and Cheryl Johnson who painted the scenes; Tim Birchfield on set construction; Leigh Ann Bishop on choreography; Heather Ziegler for costume coordination and display management; and stage crew Echo Day, Jaiden Denmark and Jaylen Denmark.
Based on the screenplay by Ron Clements, John Musker, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, Aladdin, Jr.âs music was composed by Alan Menken, with lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Aladdin, Jr.âs Academy award-winning score includes favorite songs such as âA Whole New World,â âOne Jump Aheadâ and âA Friend Like Me.âÂ
Come take a magic carpet ride and embark on an adventure filled with magic and mayhem as the fantastic tale of a street rat named Aladdin comes to life and watch and see, if with a little help from a wacky genie, Aladdin manages to win the beautiful Princess Jasmineâs hand in marriage.Â
"Aladdin Jr." will be on stage at the Ruffin Theater, 113 W. Pleasant Ave., Covington beginning this weekend. Friday, May 30 through Sunday, June 8. Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children 3-17, seniors 55+ and military with ID card and can be purchased online for any night at www.ruffintheater.org.