Video: Whole new world awaits Children’s Theatre Company Aladdin cast

Sam Brown as Aladdin in the Children's Theatre Company's production of the family show of the same n

Sam Brown as Aladdin in the Children's Theatre Company's production of the family show of the same name. - Credit: Archant

Two very different locations, two very different stories, two big challenges for the Ipswich-based Children’s Theatre Company.

First port of call, the dusty streets of ancient Arabia.

Aladdin is bustling with so many cast members principal Bridie Rowe has lost count. Around the 50 mark, it’s a step up from the 35 three to 14-year-olds who took part in last year’s The Little Mermaid.

“Our classes have built and everybody wants to be in the production. We started at Seckford with Cinderella and The Little Mermaid which are, perhaps, a little more girl focused but this is a really fun show both boys and girls will really enjoy being part of and watching; it’s a fun one for both. You forget how funny it is.”

Running at Woodbridge’s Seckford Theatre on April 1-2, it’s a touching tribute to original voice of the Disney movie Genie, the late Robin Williams.

“Definitely, his passing was sad. It’s a very demanding part... Comedy is so hard, especially the timing, often you can’t teach it. Leah (Head, playing the Genie) has it.”

Fast forward to modern day New York and the ctc’s second musical this summer - West Side Story. A twist on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, two idealistic young lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs the Jets and the Sharks.

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“I watched the film the other day for the first time in a few years, I was in pieces by the end, an emotional wreck. The auditions were very tough, the hardest I’ve ever had to cast, because we’ve got so much talent. I’ve been where they are so many times, I know how much it means. It’s a great position to be in (and) we’ve got a phenomenal cast,” says Rowe.

West Side Story, at Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre July 22-25, asks a lot of the 50-strong cast of 14-20 year olds.

“I think it’s possibly one of the best musicals ever written and very difficult. Not only have you got the massive vocal ranges for all of the parts, you’ve got the Puerto Rican accents to deal with and it’s very dance heavy.

“Even if it’s a serious piece like West Side Story I always say ‘if you don’t look like you’re having fun the audience won’t have fun’.

“I love doing shows and everyone involved is very passionate about doing shows. They do get put through their paces but the rewards are just so huge for them, they do learn a lot.”

Plans for a third show - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - are also in the works.

“The professional show is coming to the Regent so we felt we couldn’t do it (yet) but we’re basically moving to three shows a year now. We’re moving it to another time which we’ll be announcing soon.”

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