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Ready for the stage

July 26, 2013
Chris Bieri - Tribune Editor , Pierce County Tribune

Kyle Vareberg wasn't sure he would be able to pull off a children's play with just three weeks of practice.

But as the Village Arts performances of "Aladdin Jr." start this weekend, Vareberg has been pleasantly surprised with the skill and work ethic of his young actors and actresses.

"They've come a long way," he said. "When Glory (Monson) looked at me and said you have three weeks to do this, I would've told her she was crazy. Kids can't do that. Adults can't do that, so why would I think kids could? They can. I could not be more thrilled with how far they've come."

Article Photos

From left: Maria Mack, Kaitlyn Boucher, Elizabeth Skjelver and Madalyn
Pretzer go throught a scene during a dress rehearsal for “Aladdin Jr.”

Chris Bieri/PCT

The performances are on Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 27.

Andee Mattson is play's musical director, and brings her experience as an elementary music teacher to the position.

"Some of our kids, surprisingly, have never seen the movie," she said. "But they catch on so fast at this age. They just suck everything in. They're doing great."

Not only have the kids been working hard, but they've been enjoying themselves.

Karsyn Hager, 13, plays the role of Razoul, the head guard.

"It's been really fun," she said. "I think (the role) suits me really well. I'm excited, but a little nervous."

Ten-year-old Riley Grove plays Iago, Jafar's "right-hand parrot," as she described it.

Grove wears one of the most elaborate costumes in the play, complete with wings and a bird hat with a beak.

"It gets really hot," she said. "My hat's really sweaty."

Kate Heidlebaugh plays a key role, the Genie, which was portrayed by comedian Robin Williams in the movie.

"It can either be played by a guy or a girl," she said. "Genie is one of the crazy characters. It's been really fun and I'm excited for the performance to start."

Maria Mack and Johnny Mueller are both veterans of theater, despite being 13 and 14, respectively.

Both had roles in this summer's production of "Les Miserables".

"We're ready," Mueller said. "I think all we need is an audience."

Mack said her favorite part of the play is when Aladdin, played by Mueller, poses as Prince Ali.

"It's fun when we walk out with the torches and have to get Aladdin and have to do his (Prince) Ali costumes," she said. "It's hectic but it's fun to do."

Both Mattson and Vareberg thanked parents and assistants for their help in producing the play.

Vareberg said more than half of the show's costumes were made by parents.



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