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Disney’s ‘Aladdin Jr.’ set to open this week with multiple performances

By Staff | Apr 4, 2018


A new family-friendly show by the Creative Theater Workshop debuts this week on Sanibel.

Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.” opens on April 5 with performances at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at The Community House. Additional shows will take place on April 6 at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., April 7 at 5 and 7 p.m. and April 8 at 2 and 6 p.m., with a sign language performance on April 15 at 5 p.m.

“It’s a great show for all ages, from toddlers to adults,” Michelle Hamstra, artistic director for the Creative Theater Workshop, said. “It is very similar to the movie. It has all the classic songs the kids are familiar with.”

Directed by Aaron Jackson, the hour-long show includes a 10-minute intermission.

“He’s been in all kinds of movies and brings a film aspect to the production,” she said. “It’s a quality production. It’s great for the whole family.”


Hamstra explained that show is based on a theater-in-the-round set up.

“It’s where the audience is part of the show, where they are sitting in the middle of the scenery,” she said. “So every seat is a great seat.”

The special effects also make the production unique, including a real “flying carpet.”

“It actually has a flying carpet,” Hamstra said.

There are a total of 80 cast members, with about 40 children taking part in each performance.


“The cast ranges from age 5 to 18,” she said.

Each show includes a combination of performers who are experienced professionally and are pursing theater as a career, those who simply have a passion and love for the arts and brand new talent.

“We have kind of split it in thirds,” Hamstra said. “It’s a really neat combination of skills.”

The main cast includes: island residents Annabel Carter and Isabella Sbarra and North Fort Myers resident Fabiana Pesnates as Jasmine; North Fort Myers resident Michael Johnson and Chance Straley, of Cape Coral, as Aladdin; and Lehigh Acres resident Gianni Gizzi and AJ Gross, of North Fort Myers, as the Genie.

Hamstra said the cast has been rehearsing and taking part in workshops for about 12 weeks.


“Which have been really fun,” she said.

Depending on show time, tickets are $5-15 for adults and $5-10 for ages 18 and under.

To purchase tickets, visit online at sanibeltickets.com.

Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.” is the organization’s eighth production on the island in about four years.

“Creative Theater Workshop is a nonprofit educational children’s program that has been around for 11 years,” Hamstra said. “We have over 80 kids involved and many are from the island.”


The organization is currently raising funds for a permanent theater space.

“We’re finally going to get our own space, which is really really neat,” she said.

It is completing in the USA TODAY Network’s A Community Thrives Grant for $100,000, $50,000, $25,000, $15,000 or $10,000. The group had to raise $3,000 to quality, which it recently accomplished. In addition, four $25,000 grants will go to those who raise the most money via CrowdRise this year.

“All the money that’s donated goes to the space,” Hamstra said.

The closing deadline for the main competition is May 11.

For more on the show, contact 239-738-3525 or CreativeTheaterWorkshop@yahoo.com.

For more about the grant competition or to donate, visit ctw.life.

The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way.