Monday, November 21, 2016

Aladdin Jr. Showcases District Collaborative Spirit

“The show must go on!” It’s a famous saying in world theater, but at one recent middle school musical production, the line proved both prophetic and a testament to one school district’s strengthening commitment to its core values.

Cornerstone Academy’s entire cast and crew learned the real-world meaning of the district’s Collaborative Spirit core value as three performances of Aladdin Jr. were held recently at Spring Woods High School.

Cornerstone Academy students and staff have made a temporary “home” in the old Edgewood Elementary facility, or East Transition Campus, as a new middle school campus is built at their Spring Branch Education Center site on Westview.

The middle school’s planned production of Aladdin Jr. began in August after a 30-member cast and 11 crew members were selected by audition. The East Transition campus lacks an auditorium rehearsal space so the middle schoolers improvised.

“We rehearsed all of the scenes, dances and music inside the former kindergarten classroom, which also doubled as a costume closet, set building and painting area, and as a storage unit,” recalls Cornerstone theater arts teacher Juli Pendergrass.

“Imagine students learning a dance in a space a fourth of the real stage without sets, without curtains, without exits, without a backstage area and without lights. The cast and crew leaned to use their imaginations,” she said.

Spring Woods High School graciously provided the middle school students with a full week of auditorium time – enough for four rehearsals and two performance days in early November.

On Nov. 7, SBISD’s Maintenance Dept. transported Cornerstone sets and costumes to the Spring Woods High stage. The Cornerstone director gave permission to crew members to miss a few classes so they could set up for the rehearsal. Student actors joined them after school.

“We definitely got a taste of what it would be like to be part of a touring show – such hard work, but a rewarding experience,” Pendergrass said.

Three separate performances of Aladdin Jr. were held Nov. 11-12. The cast and crew favorite was the daytime show for prekindergarten and kindergartens from Cedar Brook, Housman and Valley Oaks elementaries.

Some of the wide-eyed, eager audience members wore Aladdin-style tall hats and Jasmine tiaras. The matinee for several elementary schools has been a Cornerstone Academy tradition – one that proves the show still goes on!

“We learned firsthand what collaboration in SBISD does look like. Middle school students, who had taken a district school bus, performed for elementary students, who had also taken SBISD buses, in a high school auditorium where the sets and costumes were transported by district Maintenance, or even borrowed from other SBISD schools,” Pendergrass said.

The Aladdin Jr. cast and crew at Cornerstone Academy included:

Narrators – Sabine Waldron, Kori Jane Spaulding, Leah Holewyne, Eliza Khan
Jasmine – Hanna Landa
Aladdin – Dylan Dial
Genie – Bianca Gordon
Jafar – Sergio Castagnoli
Iago – Zac Gould
Sultan – Omar Diaz
Razoul – Cassie Harbison
Guards – Nicholas Rhew, Jackson Dixon, Callum Glover, Parker Webster
Harem Girls – Kaylee Terrell, Ava Shea, Victoria Turner
Shopkeepers – Julia Chapman, Katie Donnel, Emily Gomez
Townspeople – Mona Darvishi, Lucia Romo
Matron – Lulu Sawaf
Prince Baba of Ganoush – Ethan Schmidt
Prince Dahdu Rahn-Rahn – Ben Stelmak
(The) Prince Formerly Known as the Artist – Devon Schwartz
Thief – Kyle Zoboroski
Carpet – Zari Abraham
Snake Charmer – Micah Gordon

Stage Managers – Kate Crow, Solana Ripple
Sound – Sam Puhala
Lights – Laurie Trevino
Costumes – Emily Camden, Ednaliz Pereira
Props – Carrie Humphrey
Backstage – Quillan Ham, Chris Vukadin
Spotlights – Jack Hopper, Lee Seelig


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