Summer is here and the heat can be seen in waves across the black asphalt streets, similar to the sun-soaked sands of the Arabian deserts. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County is putting on Aladdin Jr. as part of the summer day Camp at the Suburu Club, located at Donald E. Suburu Elementary School. Inspiring our youth to manifest their dramatic natures and bring the classic Disney characters to life, the play is an adaptation of the famous animated-feature and provides a wide range of roles and opportunities for the 25 Club members involved in the Boys & Girls Club Theater Program. While most of the day is filled with fun and excitement, participants are working on their acting skills and getting guidance with their singing and dancing.
Putting on a play takes a great deal of work, organization and time. From the page to the stage, there are challenges in producing a play. It's a good thing Director, Erlinda Martinez, along with Assistant Director, Leslie Thompson, and Vocal Director, Kristen Falls, are up for the challenge. Together, they oversee rehearsals Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Prior to tryouts they worked with each interested youth to prepare for the auditions, which included character building and vocal coaching. We caught up with the three leads to get a feel for their love of performing.
Aladdin is being played by 12-year-old Ty Martinez, whose previous stage credits include the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.
How does it feel to be on stage performing?
Ty Martinez: "I love acting in front of people."
Would you like to continue acting when you get older?
Ty Martinez: "Yes. I'm hoping to be a television actor one day.
What would you say to people about coming out to the performance?
Ty Martinez: "Come out and see the show because they are working hard to put on a great play."
Jasmine is being played by 13-year-old Julie Popek , who has performed for the last two years in Boys & Girls Club productions, once as Willy Wonka's mom and later as an ancestor in Mulan Jr.
What is your favorite part about performing?
Julie Popek: Ty Martinez: "Getting the chance to sing on stage my favorite thing."
What do you hope to do when you get older?
Julie Popek: "One day, I'd like be a professional singer.
Why should people come out to see the performance?
Julie Popek: "It will be magical."
The role of Genie, is being portrayed by Charlotte Smith, 13. Charlotte has many credits under her belt including playing Mulan in Mulan Jr. and has played Charlie Bucket and Violet Beauregard in two different productions of Willy Wonka Jr. as well as Cosette in Les Miserables.
Is acting what you'd like to do when you get older?
Charlotte Smith: "I hope to one day be a professional actress or a pediatric nurse.
What is your favorite part of being in this performance?
Charlotte Smith: "My favorite thing about being in a production is meeting new people."
The curtain will go up on Aladdin Jr. at Donald E. Suburu Elementary School's stage at 7315 Harris Road for a free community performance on Thursday, August 1, at 2:00 p.m. Regular performances are set for Friday, August 2, at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 3 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Regular performance ticket price will be $5.00 per person.