A whole new world

Published 9:00 am Sunday, November 10, 2019

United South Central students make ‘Aladdin’ their own


WELLS — United South Central students are hoping to make all audience members’ wishes come true with their upcoming production of “Aladdin Jr.”

While the play is considered to be a junior version of the Disney classic, director Kirstyn Wegner said the musical doesn’t seem condensed in any way, and in fact has songs not heard in the movie.

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Wegner will team up with technical director Ben Dundas for their second year of collaboration.

Wegner said they have been working on the production since auditions took place right after Labor Day, and she believes the effort has paid off. Students have not only worked hard on their performances, but on making and painting sets and choreographing dances and fight scenes, among other aspects.

“It’s so good,” Wegner said. “We’re very happy with how it’s been going.”

The cast is generally on the younger side, and the two leads came into their respective roles by chance, in a way.

Freshman Nathaniel Clore plays Aladdin, and was originally helping with sound for the musical. That is, until Wegner heard him singing one afternoon during setup.

“I told him, ‘You should be up here,’” Wegner said.

Clore said he has adjusted to his role on stage pretty well, and said he has “gone with the flow,” which has been made easier by the other students he gets to work with on the musical.

That sentiment was echoed by sophomore Merideth Klingbeil, who plays Jasmine. Klingbeil, who is also one of the student directors, stepped into the role after the student originally cast as Jasmine had to drop out of the musical.

“It’s been kind of stressful so far,” Klingbeil said. “… But it’s fun to be around all the people.”

Wegner said Klingbeil has done well taking on the role, and already knew most of the lines for her character.

The spirit of collaboration has been a big component of the production. Even the villains agree.

Freshmen Aislynn Schlosser and Liz Stern, who play Jafar and Iago, respectively, said the people are who have made the cast so strong. The two freshmen already have an on-stage rapport of their own, as they played the Mad Hatter and March Hare in the school’s previous production of “Alice in Wonderland.”

For sophomore Elizabeth Romano, who plays the Genie, the show has been about bringing a childhood favorite of hers to life.

“I grew up with ‘Aladdin.’ It was one of my favorites growing up,” she said. “It’s fun. We have lots of cool effects.”

Wegner said the level of care and skill the students have put into the musical has been impressive. They’ll have their own featured dancers and will also have a flying carpet — made possible by some special effects.

“I had a feeling with this group of kids that this was a show I should do,” she said.

“Aladdin Jr.” will be performed at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 and 16, and at 2 p.m. Nov. 17 at the United South Central auditorium.


Cast and crew

Genie: Elizabeth Romano

Aladdin: Nathaniel Clore

Babkak: Ashley Hassing

Omar: Ethan Brandt

Kassim: Joshua Brooks*

Jasmine: Merideth Klingbeil

Sultan: Justin Cory

Jafar: Aislynn Schlosser

Iago: Liz Stern

Shop owner: Daisy Holl

Razoul: Emily Cassens

Guards: Liam Schrader, Hayden Chandler, Erin Willard and Adam Garza-Simoni

Beggars: Alix Bushlack, Eleanor Kayser, Amata Whiteside and Nadia Wegner

Apple vendor: Bella Gallardo

Fortune teller: Grace Walter

Attendant: Erin Willard

Prince Abdullah: Adam Garza-Simoni

Isir: Ditte Bax

Manal: Amber Hassing

Rajah: Madison Klingbeil

Spooky voice and Cave of Wonders: Lily Holl

Agrabahns, ensemble, entourage: Hannah Warmka*, Amerie Burrola, Cheyenne Newmans, Ditte Bax*, Amber Hassing, Madison Klingbeil, Lily Holl, Daisy Holl, Alix Bushlack, Eleanor Kayser*, Amata Whiteside*, Nadia Wegner, Bella Gallardo* and Grace Walter*

Artistic director: Kirstyn Wegner

Technical director: Ben Dundas

Student directors: Merideth Klingbeil and Lily Holl

Costume design: Denise Hassing, Kay Stern and Kelsey Warmka

Student costumers: Amber Hassing and Ashley Hassing

Choreography: Amata Whiteside, Joshua Brooks, Ditte Bax, Elizabeth Romano, Grace Walter and Adam Garza-Simoni

Set design: Ben Dundas and Kirstyn Wegner

Specialty painting: Grace Niebuhr

Stage manager: Ari Larson

Sound: Grace Niebuhr

Lights: Nick Schindler

Spotlights: Bob Schindler and Kayla Roberts

Crew: Hayden Chandler, Madison Klingbeil, Ari Larson, Grace Niebuhr, Kayla Roberts, Nick Schindler, Bob Schindler, Trinity Seedorf, Collin VanCleave, Liam Schrader and Lucas Yokiel

* indicates featured dancer


Tickets, please

What: “Aladdin Jr.”

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 15 and 16, and 2 p.m. Nov. 17

Where: United South Central auditorium

How much: $9 for adults, $8.50 for seniors, $8 for students, and family packages are available for $32; reserved tickets can be purchased by calling United South Central at 507-553-5823 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday


About Colleen Harrison

Colleen Harrison is the photo editor at the Albert Lea Tribune. She does photography and writes general-assignment stories.

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