Kids Coop Theatre Gears Up for Disney’s ‘Aladdin Jr.’

“Welcome to Agrabah, City of Enchantment, where every beggar has a story and every camel
has a tail.” Kids Coop Theatre will present Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.” on March 8 at 7 p.m. and on March 9 at 1 and 7 p.m. at the Derry Opera House. All tickets are $10 and are available at www.kidscooptheatre.org.

The play is the second annual Young Directors Show that Kids Coop The- atre has presented. The program gives the theater group’s older teenage members an opportunity to take the helm of the creative process while under the guidance of professional directors. Pam Rogers, Kids Coop president and the producer of Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.,” said, “Our young directors work incredibly hard and put in many long hours to make these shows a great expe- rience for both the cast and the audience. For this year’s production, we’ve chosen three very talent- ed and dedicated teens to direct acting, music and choreography.”

The director. is Lon- donderry High School junior Marc Lussier, 16, a veteran actor and musician of many Kids Coop Theatre productions. Music Director is Rebecca Beland, 18, of Derry, a Pinkerton Academy senior. She has also been involved with Kids Coop Theatre for many years and has performed several lead vocal roles. Choreographer is Rachelle Choiniere, a 16-year old home-schooler from Hudson.

She brings many yearsofdanceandmusic experience to Kids Coop and has performed in lead roles and as a featured dancer for several shows. Mentoring the youths are professional directors Maureen Mansfield, guid- ing the directing, and Marilyn Olbricht, guiding the music. Mansfield has been involved with theater for the past 30 years as a professional director and production stage manager.

This is her fourth Kids Coop play. Olbricht is a teacher, performer and professional director, and musical theater is her first love. The cast includes 31 kids between the ages of 8 and 17 from Derry, Lon- donderry, Hampstead, Danville, Pelham, Hudson, and Windham. Heading the cast of 31 are Ben Villnave of Danville as Aladdin and Sarah Rodgers of Derry as Genie.

Other cast members include: Derry residents Douglas Jones, Hailey and Zoie Laskiewicz, Brenna Morgan and Rachel Wood; Hampstead residents Ed- die Coffman and Baylee Sutton; and Londonderry residents Amanda Battaglia, Alyssa Beaulieu, Eric Bourque, Evie Brunette, Kelly Calawa, Sara and Julia Ethier, Vincent Perella, Emily Powers, Shea Robinson, Isabella Spagnuolo, Emily Thomas and Julia Turk. Rachel Wood, 13, of Derry said this was her first play but she is loving it.

“I was really nervous at first because I had no friends (in the play), but I have gotten to meet so many people from other towns and it is such fun,” she said. “I am definitely going to do this again.”Amanda Battaglia, 14, of Londonderry, said she felt comfortable and was enjoying the show. “This is my second play,” she said.

“The hardest for me is the dancing sometimes, but it is also the easiest. I really enjoy doing these
shows because I get to meet new people from different places. And I really do like to act and dance and all that.” Eddie Coffman of Hampstead is back for his second play.

“My mother made me do ‘Annie’ but it turned out to be really fun, so I came back on my own to do this show because it was so much fun,” he said. “The dancing is the best part and since I don’t have any lines to remember. it is all easy for me.”

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