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Aladdin (Alex Moreno) pleads with Genie of the Ring (Amanda Maxey) to release him from his cell. The Sultan had him jailed because he thought he had something to do with the disappearance of his daughter.
DAILY Photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Aladdin (Alex Moreno) pleads with Genie of the Ring (Amanda Maxey) to release him from his cell. The Sultan had him jailed because he thought he had something to do with the disappearance of his daughter.

Aladdin
Two genies, one monkey but no flying carpet in Austin production

By Jay Wilson
DAILY Staff Writer

jwilson@decaturdaily.com · 340-2449

It's the standard boy-meets-princess story with a couple of twists, mainly two wish-granting genies.

Austin High School's drama department production of "Aladdin" is Thursday night in the school auditorium.

The 150 drama students requested "Aladdin" for their fall show and drama teacher Susan Thompson obliged.

"Every member of the AHS drama department is involved in this production whether on stage or behind the scenes," Thompson said.

Aladdin visits the marketplace with Genie of the Lamp (Chaz Hargrove), The Princess (Amiracle Fuqua) and her father, The Sultan (Frankie Thomas).
DAILY Photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Aladdin visits the marketplace with Genie of the Lamp (Chaz Hargrove), The Princess (Amiracle Fuqua) and her father, The Sultan (Frankie Thomas).
This story, she said, is not the same as Disney's 1992 animated box-office hit. The stage play, written by William Glennon, has no magic carpet flying above the audience. Instead, it relies on good old-fashioned imagination.

"There are many similarities to the Disney cartoon," Thompson said.

She said Disney and Glennon based their stories on the centuries-old tale of the Arabian Nights. AHS Senior Jesse Moreno, 17, plays Aladdin but does not miss the rocket-like rug.

"Without the carpet, basically the genies are the transportation," he said.

The genies "transport" characters from one location to the next, asking the audience to accept their magical movements as real.

"(Aladdin) is the hero of the play," Moreno said of his first lead. "Hopefully I'll be able to nail the part."

Aladdin and friends are looking for excitement. Adventure is never far away for them, thanks to one of Aladdin's best friends, a dancing monkey named "Toodle-de-Toos."

Thompson said there are so many standout performances that it is hard to single out one. But the dancing monkey is worth a closer look.

"I will have to say that our monkey, Toodle-de-Toos, as played by Jodi Reynolds, is a threat to steal the show," Thompson said.

Here's the storyline.

Aladdin's dad gives him a lamp and a ring that hold magical genies. Like all trapped genies, these magicians grant Aladdin several wishes when he frees them. The princess thinks the genie-wielding Aladdin is "da bomb."

Aladdin bumps into a mysterious stranger, Zorah, who wants his lamp. Sixteen-year-old Alex Mooney portrays Zorah.

Aladdin haggles with Darkana, a flamboyant sorceress played by Miranda Slaughter. She is a big fan of theater and drama at age 18. The senior was student director of "Faces of Freedom," last year's AHS play about immigration in America.

Aladdin’s mother (Meredith Wiggins), left, gazes into sorceress Darkana’s crystal ball while hearing about an evil person lurking around Aladdin’s house. Miranda Slaughter plays Darkana.
DAILY Photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Aladdin’s mother (Meredith Wiggins), left, gazes into sorceress Darkana’s crystal ball while hearing about an evil person lurking around Aladdin’s house. Miranda Slaughter plays Darkana.
"Of course I enjoy being in the spotlight more," she said admitted.

Sophomore Amanda Maxey, the self-proclaimed youngest cast member, described some differences between the AHS production and Disney's classic.

"In this one, there's two genies — me and the genie of the lamp," she said, explaining that she plays the Genie of the Ring.

Maxey said Disney's story has one genie. Also, Austin's play is not a musical, she said. Don't expect any Bob Fosse dance numbers or Rogers and Hammerstein gems.

"It'll be a surprise when I appear," Maxey said, laughing at her own shrewd ability to "tease" her character's appearance.

"What a wonderful way to see what a good group of teenagers can do," she said of her acting troupe.

Moreno focused on other things.

We do have a monkey," he said. "That's important for comedy."

How to go

What:"Aladdin,"presented by Austin High School drama students

When:Thursday,
7 p.m.

Where:Austin High School

Cost:General admission tickets are $5 at the door.

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