'Aladdin!' to bring children happiness

Published: Sunday | December 29, 2013 Comments 0

"We look forward to seeing you all come January when Aladdin! begins its seven-week run at PSCCA (Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts)," said Danielle Stiebel, the producer of the Jamaica Junior Theatre's (JJT) 2014 production, Alladin!, earlier this month as she helped to launch the venture.

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 a well-known story. Script writers Jodi Ho Lung and Samantha Chin Yee have included a female villain, and 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.

The Christina Bennett Scholarship Fund, to which money from the production will go, makes funds available to one or more deserving JJT participants annually.

Francine McDonald-Vasselle of Children First, beneficiaries of the 2013 JJT production, was on hand at the launch of Aladdin! earlier this month.

"Children First is extremely grateful to JJT for their donation this year," said McDonald-Vasselle.

"It was the start we needed to better position our organisation, which was facing closure."

Children First is a non-governmental organisation based in Spanish Town, dedicated to the support and upliftment of vulnerable children.

Earlier this year, JJT donated proceeds from Alice - The Musical to the organisation to assist with its remedial education programme (REP).

The Children First REP has helped hundreds of young people become literate and allowed for reintegration into the formal education system.

Founded in 1983 by Douglas Bennett, JJT is the youth arm of the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company.

Dedicated to charity

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.

The JJT has produced musical Broadway notables such as Beauty & the Beast, The Lion King, Cats, as well as originally scripted musicals such as FAME: The Next Generation, Hercules, and Alice - The Musical.

Described as life-changing by past cast members, the junior theatre programmes have steered many young people along the path to self-discovery.

Aladdin! is JJT's 52nd production.

Aladdin! will open on January 10, 2014 at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus.

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