Discover a “whole new world” with Aladdin and friends in Mauldin Youth Theatre’s production of Disney’s “Aladdin JR.” Audiences will be transported to colorful Agrabah to see Aladdin embark on a magical journey of discovery and excitement.

With new characters and songs, “Aladdin JR.” follows the story of Aladdin, a thief, who finds a magical lamp with the Genie who can grant wishes. On his adventure to impress Princess Jasmine, Aladdin learns the value of being true to himself.

Noah Alomar and Jill Milligan get ready for their roles as Aladdin and Jasmine. Photo by Mauldin Cultural Center.

Playing the role of Aladdin, 14-year-old Noah Alomar says his favorite scene is when Aladdin and his three friends—Babkak, Omar, and Kassim—are first introduced.

“It introduces how I’m a thief basically, and how I’m always running from the guards,” Alomar says. “It’s basically just a huge action scene, which is really fun to do.”

Alomar describes Aladdin as an exciting, courageous guy who lives life to the fullest. However, Aladdin struggles to be himself.

“There’s a lot of lines where Genie is talking to Aladdin like, ‘Just be yourself,’” he says. “Because I’m trying to hide myself from Jasmine. ‘Don’t be who they want you to be,’ [Genie says]. I feel like that’s a really powerful message to portray to the audience.”

Playing the somewhat rebellious Jasmine, 16-year-old Jill Milligan says the ending of the play is different from the ending of “Aladdin” the movie. Jasmine also has three friends—Isir, Manal, and Rajah—who aren’t from the movie.

“I like the finale,” she says. “It’s actually a really beautiful scene, like it just kind of wraps it all up really nicely.”

Milligan says a main message in “Aladdin JR.” is to not apologize for what you believe. “Don’t ever feel like you’re inadequate from anyone else just because you believe something different,” she says.

Lucas Pennell, Genie in “Aladdin JR.”, says he gets to express a lot of himself in the character. Photo by Mauldin Cultural Center.

Lucas Pennell, age 15, portrays Genie. “For me with being Genie, I get to express all my excitement and all my energy,” Pennell says. 

“My dad likes to do a bunch of impersonations, and I get to use a lot of his voices that he taught me,” he says. Pennell’s father voices the Cave of Wonders in “Aladdin JR.”

Pennell wants audiences to recognize the real talent of all involved—no matter the age. “We know what we’re doing,” he says. “Even though we’re kids, we can still do professional stuff.”

Mauldin Cultural Center director Keira Kitchings says “Aladdin JR.” is the youth theatre program’s fourth production since it’s beginning in 2017. The three prior shows sold out all 280 seats each night, she says.

“We see that we’re offering something that the community really needs with theatre, which is great for us and it’s great for the kids,” Kitchings says. “We like being able to be an outlet for the creative juices that the kids have.”

“Aladdin JR.”

When: March 29-31 and April 5-7
Where: Mauldin Cultural Center, 101 E. Butler Road, Mauldin
Tickets: $6-$10
Info: www.mauldinculturalcenter.org

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