Last Tuesday, the lawns of the Phillip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts (PSCCA) at the University of the West Indies, Mona, set the stage for the launch of the Jamaica Junior Theatre’s (JJT) 2014 production, Aladdin!
The venue was adorned with rugs, urns, and exotic fabrics giving an Arabian feel in keeping with the setting ofAladdin! Damian Shaw, a Jamaica Junior Theatre alumnus, hosted the evening’s events, which kicked off just after 6 p.m. Shaw welcomed guests to the ‘city of Assam,’ the fictional kingdom in which Aladdin! is set.
“We look forward to seeing you all come January when Aladdin! begins its seven-week run at PSCCA,” said Danielle Stiebel, the show’s producer. “Tonight is just a taste of what Aladdin! has to offer, but you will have to come out in January to see the flying carpet!”
The cast of Aladdin! then treated media representatives, special guests, friends and family of the cast and production team to an exclusive preview of the show, with two chorus numbers One Jump, led by Andrew Bailey, who plays Aladdin, and The Strongest Suit, led by Ashley Thurlow, who plays the Razia Sultana.
This is the second time JJT will be staging Aladdin! The first staging was back in 1992. The 2014 production is a modern twist on the well-known story. Script writers Jodi Ho Lung and Samantha Chin Yee have included a genie with a little Jamaican flavour. Joining the script writers on the production team are Peter Haley, director, Ana Strachan, musical director and Tony Wilson, choreographer.
It is hoped that Aladdin!, like previous JJT productions, will garner the support of the Jamaican public as a way to contribute to charitable causes. In the tradition of JJT, profits from the 2014 productions will go to a Jamaican children’s charity.
This year’s beneficiary is the Christina Bennett Scholarship Fund, an award which will be made to one or more deserving JJT participants annually.
Founded in 1983 by Douglas Bennett, JJT is the youth arm of the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company. JJT is a non-profit organisation dedicated to charity and the development of youth in the performing arts in Jamaica. It is the only youth organisation of its kind in Jamaica, having had 51 productions; between full musical productions (30) and smaller concert series.
Aladdin! will open on January 10, 2014 at the PSCCA.