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Buchser Middle School’s “Aladdin Jr.” Whisks Audiences A Million Miles Away

Set in the East, the story of Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.” features Aladdin, a young man from humble roots, who tries to woo Princess Jasmine by asking the Genie to turn him into a prince. Presented by Santa Clara Musical Theater and the students of Buchser Middle School, the dual-cast story came to life on stage at the Santa Clara High School Performing Arts Center during the Oct. 18 Casbah Cast dress rehearsal. Performances by the Casbah Cast and Camel Cast ran from Oct. 20 to Oct. 22.

“We are so very proud of all our students who are participating in the production of Aladdin; they have been working very hard to bring this performance to life,” said Monica Stoffal, Principal of Buchser Middle School. “We are also very happy that we can provide theater productions with the amazing work of Santa Clara Musical Theater.”

Playing Aladdin was Cole Carter, 13, who performed an adept forward roll during one of the choreographed fight scenes.

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“People are excited to see me be funny and serious on stage,” said Carter, who wants to pursue a career in music someday.

Princess Jasmine was played by Fiona Weedermann, 13. Weedermann utilized a melodious voice while singing songs, such as the dreamy solo “One Jump Ahead” (reprise).

“I could relate to Princess Jasmine because I want the freedom to have the life I want when I grow up,” Weedermann said.

Isaac Soterwood, 13, let his high-spirited energy shine through in the Genie. Yet, this eighth-grade student admitted his character still had a sensitive side.

 

“I think the Genie was mostly happy but he still felt some sorrow because he wanted to be free as opposed to serving a master,” Soterwood said.

Elizabeth Olson, 11, moved gracefully as the Flying Carpet. Olson revealed that she was in a playful competition with her twin brother Joshua—cast as Iago—to see who was the better onstage sidekick.

“It was fun to give the magic carpet a personality,” Olson said. “It could be silly and [in expectation of] something interesting to happen.”

Tisha Suthar, 12, cast as Princess Jasmine in the Camel Cast, referred to theater as her safe space.

“I would wish I was on Broadway,” Suthar said, when asked what she would do with a free wish from a Genie.

Some kids who are involved in theater might develop career aspirations offstage.

“A lot of high school students that work here were interns first,” said Celia Scheuerman, owner of Santa Clara Musical Theater and show director. “Once they’re capable, they can come on as employees and run the shows for us. These are high school students who do backstage help. They work as sound and light board operators and they help with our microphones.”

Maya Sugiyama, 16, has acted in plays and interned with a theater company. Then Scheuerman offered Sugiyama a paid job. Now Sugiyama provides technical support during shows for Santa Clara Musical Theater and Santa Clara High School where she attends. Sugiyama’s dream job is to be an audio engineer.

“When the actors say certain lines, I know it’s a cue for me to play a certain song,” said Sugiyama, explaining how she ran the show’s music cues. “We use a program on the computer that puts the songs of the show in order. When I’m reading the script during a show, I see when it’s time to play a song and I hit ‘go’ on the computer.”

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