Cornerstone Youth Theatre set to stage Aladdin

Performances to run at New Life Fellowship Church in Red Deer

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The magic, fun, colour and adventure of Aladdin is about to hit a local stage via the talents of young actors with Cornerstone Youth Theatre.

Directed by Jonathan Epp, the play opens March 3rd at New Life Fellowship Church with additional shows running March 4th and March 10th-11th.

Curtain is at 7 p.m. Matinees also run at 3 p.m. March 4th and March 11th as well.

As the synopsis points out, Aladdin has everything – a magic genie (with real flying carpet), fantastic bad guys, heroic good guys and a true love story that will touch everyone’s heart.

“Come and be swept away on a magic carpet ride. Don’t miss the chance to participate in this fun show, with it’s flying carpet, the cave of wonders, genie lamp and some important lessons about choices in life.”

Epp has been involved with Cornerstone Youth Theatre for about three years as his daughter has been a part of the organization over that time as well. But last year, he decided to take his involvement a step further by signing on as a director for this year’s production of Aladdin, which features a cast of 56 youth and is a musical rendition of the classic story as well.

Epp also knew going into the production process that he had a very supportive organization to back him up all the way.

When the idea of directing was floated by him, his interest was immediately piqued.

“The producer Stephanie (Orr) could tell I was a bit nervous but she said that really what was needed was a person who was going to be there for the kids, encouraging and supporting them,” he said. “She said she thought I was that kind of a person, and also that I would have all of the support I would need to get through.

“The parents are also very supportive and the artistic team that is already in place there – a musical director, a dance choreographer – there are all of these different artistic team people who they have put together and they are amazing.

“So that eliminated a lot of my concern for how it would be handled,” he added with a laugh.

He said the music is also a very important part of the mix. “The music is exciting and it’s fun. Even the choreography that we have put together – it’s busy, very interactive and fun. I think the audience will have a blast with it.”

The production is the latest in a long line of successive hits for the homegrown organization, which is an educational children’s theatre arts society for students ages six to 18 in Central Alberta.

They offer theatre arts summer camps and after-school sessions of theatre classes, acting classes, voice classes, dance classes, and other specialty classes. Ultimately, Cornerstone Youth Theatre provides a wide range of parts that fit with the various levels of experience and confidence that the kids bring with them.

“The story is such that regardless of what version you are doing, essentially it’s just pretty fantastic. For me, it’s a story about hope. Each person in it, regardless of where they are at, whether it’s Aladdin or Jasmine, they are looking for something in particular. They have a hope that they are going to find what they are looking for eventually,” he explained.

“That causes them to find their inner strength in order to do something like that.

“It’s also about the struggles that we all face no matter what the situations we are all in,” he added. “I think people also appreciate the relatability of the characters that are in there.”

Meanwhile, reserved seating available with advance purchase – children $11; seniors $12; adults $13. All tickets purchased at the door will cost $15.

There is also a discount matinee on March 4th at 3 p.m. when tickets will cost $10 a piece. Tickets may be purchased online at www.CornerstoneYouthTheatre.org or by phoning the box office at 403-986-2981.

“I knew the young people with Cornerstone Youth Theatre were awesome, and the organization was phenomenal in how supportive they were for one another. But I didn’t know much. You think you know – and then when you get in there and you are actually a part of that whole element, it just takes your breath away.”

mark.weber@reddeerexpress.com