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A Whole New World

Young actors soar in ‘Aladdin’

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Julie Gabel, director of Arts Live's upcoming musical "Aladdin" -- based on the animated film of the same name -- says Disney has a knack for choosing great material.

"Disney chose these stories for a reason," she says. "'Aladdin' is based on [a story in] 'One Thousand and One Nights,' a collection of Middle Eastern folktales. It's a love story, but there's comedy there, too. There's so much humanity, as well. There's truth in it and, at the end, a life lesson to be learned. I think that's what makes it so successful, and that's why it has endured for many, many years. It has stood the test of time."

FAQ

‘Aladdin Jr.’

WHEN — 7 p.m. April 19-21; 2 p.m. April 22

WHERE — Arts Center of the Ozarks, 214 S. Main St. in Springdale

COST — $10-$25

INFO — 751-5441

The award-winning animated film version of "Aladdin" was released in 1992 and was the highest-grossing film of the year. The Arts Live production will include the most popular songs from the movie in a streamlined "junior" version of the story.

"It's an hour long, but that hour is chock-full," promises Gabel.

Gabel says the kids cast in the show are "Aladdin" fans and are thrilled to re-create one of their favorite movies on stage.

"We were working on a piece the other night, and they were getting so excited," says Gabel. "They kept saying, 'Let's do it again!' I love that they love being there, and I love that they're taking ownership of it. Not only do they get it, but it feeds them.

"They take it seriously. A lot of them have been working with us long enough [that] they know what it means to be an actor."

Though it's not required for Arts Live actors to take classes and workshops from the organization in order to be in a show, Gabel says that kind of theatrical education can help young actors give better performances. Arts Live is currently offering a series of summer camps and workshops; more information is available at their website.

"[Arts Live Executive Director] Mark [Landon Smith's] No. 1 goal is to serve the children and to do the very best for them," says Gabel. "When we're working with them, we're there for them. It's not my show, it's their show. The mindset of Arts Live is that the children come first -- as it should be."

-- Lara Hightower

lhightower@nwadg.com

NAN What's Up on 04/15/2018

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