A ‘Haugh’ new world

The hot summer months did not stop the Visual and Performing Arts department from presenting “Aladdin Jr.” on July 28 and 29 at the Haugh Performing Arts Center.

The Haugh was filled with college and high school students who are a part of the Citrus Summer Conservatory.  This program is designed for student participants to gain experience in musical theater.

In only five weeks, Citrus faculty taught students acting, vocal and dance techniques that further developed each student’s musical theatre skills.  Douglas Austin has been with Citrus College for 30 years and has contributed to over 175 productions on campus.

Austin’s main contribution to each production focuses around the music aspect of. Like most musicals, Disney’s “Aladdin” already has music within the show.  Austin shared how vital the music plays a role in such a notable musical.

“The music is used to further the plot, tell the story as well as build energy spectacle and pageantry,” Austin said.

Austin’s years of expertise helps young students understand how a production works.

“I love educational theatre and the opportunity to participate in the growth, skills building and development of young artists,” Austin said.

In addition to the music, the acting both high school and college students performed brough each character to life.

Jacob Rushing, who starred as Aladdin had created chemistry with his on stage love Sophie Michaelson who played Jasmine.

Both main characters were a few of the youngest from the cast.  However, despite their age they were able to prove their place with strong vocals and animated acting skills.

One of more memorable characters in the “Aladdin Jr.” cast was the Genie, played by Amaris Griggs.  She brought the Genie to life through her airy body movements and bold humour.

Another notable actor within the play stood out without having to say a word.  Samantha Vasquez created a lovable character when she played the Magic Carpet, one of Aladdin’s closest friends throughout the musical.

In Disney’s “Aladdin,” Abu the monkey, who is Aladdin’s closest friend, was not a character in ‘Aladdin Jr.’  However, Abu was represented in the Magic Carpet’s costume, specifically her red hat and silver tassel which was one of the monkey’s signature pieces of clothing.

The classic scene where Aladdin takes Jasmine on the magic carpet ride over the city was recreated with a levy.

As Aladdin takes Jasmine’s hand, Vasquez follows them around as all three performers get on the levy.

Right before take off, the lights go black all around while only Rushing and Michaelson were in view.  Vasquez hopped off the levy and “A Whole New World” started to play, creating a romantic effect.

The technical aspects as well as the bright costumes and vibrant stage design were perfect for the musical and matched well with Disney’s original animated creation.

With a cast that was mostly high school students, “Aladdin Jr.” was well performed and produced, especially with only five weeks of rehearsal.

The C.S.C. program put on a strong show that was favorable enough to be performed during the school year.



Communications major and first year staff writer for the Citrus College Clarion who loves to cover sporting events.