A Whole New World: “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp” play on Feb. 7-9 will connect classic tale with children’s theater


Grace Xu

Lily McAndrews
Austin Audia, cast as Aladdin and sophomore, rehearses on stage. He said he loves how the actors are supposed to appeal to a child-friendly audience, so they over animate all of their actions. He also said his favorite part of performing is putting on a new personality in front of an audience.

On Feb. 7, 8 and 9, CHS students will perform “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp.” However, unlike the many Disney renditions CHS has done in the past—including “The Little Mermaid” last  spring—this play is based off of its original tale One Thousand and One Arabian Nights. 

While original fairy tales are infamous for being much gorier and darker than their Disney counterparts, Aladdin’s story wasn’t all that scary to begin with. In fact, according to Jim Peterson, director of “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp” as well as director of theater and film, the plot is actually relatively unchanged from the well-known Disney movie.

“The main similarity is basically the plot, which is pretty much the same. There’s an evil magician who wants the lamp and control (of) the genie, and so Aladdin is able to thwart the magician and win the love of the princess,” Peterson said. “The major differences are there’s no Raja, the tiger; there’s no monkey; there’s no flying carpet. All those characters Disney invented aren’t in the original tale.”

Freshman Sarah Warf was cast as Genie of the Ring in the play, which also happens to be a character unique to the original story. She said the play not only lacks a dark and gory vibe, but is actually targeted toward a generally younger audience.

“It’s definitely a different story than the Disney version, but I wouldn’t say it’s a whole lot darker,” Warf said. “We’re trying to make it very kid-friendly; it’s definitely a show we want to appeal to kids so they’ll come with their families. We’ve been trying to make it fun, upbeat—just a lot of things so we can get that good vibe through the show.”

As the Disney movie “Aladdin” is intended for a more family-friendly audience as well, it only adds to the similarities between the movie and the play. Sophomore Austin Audia, who plays Aladdin, said “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp” is a play that connects a classic story with children’s theater.

“This play is being advertised as the ‘true story’ (of Aladdin), even though it’s sort of like a kids play. In some ways, Aladdin, the character, is kind of like theDisney adaptation, but the (play) is more of a kid’s take on the original story of Aladdin,” Audia said.

Audia also said that because the play is children’s theater, interpretation is very important.

“You have to have that child voice,” he said. “There’s a lot of projecting and over-exaggerating emotions and making sure the kids are picking up what you’re trying to perform.”

However, junior Luke Vreeman, who plays Genie of the Lamp, said the play still has a the feel of an old, classic story, despite having been adapted for a younger audience.

“There are portions (of the script) that are clearly like, ‘Oh, this was written way back,’ and it’s just a very classic, timeless story feel,” Vreeman said. “A lot of the dialogue is written in a sort of style that was not necessarily used as much in modern times. We say words multiple times just to add emphasis, and that’s mostly because it’s a children’s theater piece, but that is also a staple of old theater.

Lily McAndrews
Senior Lillia Nugent plays the role of the magician. She said slouching her posture is the easiest way to get into character.

Warf agreed, saying she found working on a play of such a timeless story to be a meaningful experience, and she was able to learn a lot.

“I think it’s really important to the theater teachers to connect us back to the original storyline because it’s nice to get some of the ‘where it all came from,’” Warf said. “A lot of us have seen the Disney movies, but if you really like theater, it’s really important for you to really get to know a story and get to see its progression through history of what it’s become and what it was, and I think it’s a really cool thing to see the historical side of theater almost.”

Peterson, Warf, Audia and Vreeman all said they hope the experience will be as equally rewarding for the audience members as it was for the cast.

“Just because it’s children’s theater doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come see it,” Vreeman said. “It’s still a very, very entertaining show. When I say it’s children’s theater, it’s really like family-friendly for all ages, so it’s definitely enjoyable for a high school audience to watch as well.”


According to Peterson, tickets for “Aladdin and the WonderfulLamp” are available online at eventbrite.com.