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The Rocky Road to Aladdin Jr.'s Production

It's been a long path for the team of directors, performers and crew of Spotlight to produce Aladdin Jr. Exactly one year ago, November 2019. Aladdin Jr. was put on the calendar for June of 2020, with auditions to be held in March 2020.

It was the hope of the nation that the pandemic would subside with the heat of summer winds. But, that was not to be. As Covid raged on, the shutdown of America began to take hold in late March and April. With safety concerns in mind, the show was postponed.

Several of Spotlight's younger students were attracted to Aladdin Jr. When we gave them the news, there were tears and heartbreak. As directors, Missy and I were sad for them, but we reassured them that we would reschedule Aladdin Jr. in the near future.

Meanwhile, we kept our production of The Sound of Music on schedule for July. Covid numbers in Oklahoma during that time were low in comparison to other regions of the country. Five weeks of rehearsals began on schedule.

However, with two weeks to go, the parents of one of our actors contracted Covid. Fortunately, the actor tested negative, and went to stay at grandma's house until the show was over. Whew! Close call.

The show went without a hitch and our actor's parents were now safely out of quarantine and were able to attend as well. Our venue, The Gate Church, had a large enough auditorium that we easily and safely fit our audience in with plenty of distancing.

With Oklahoma opening up again, we coordinated with The Gate to hold Spotlight's Fall Musical Theater Camp featuring Aladdin Jr. through October with two performances scheduled for October 30th and 31st.

Auditions were publicized to shouts of joy. The show was cast, and 5-week rehearsals began in October. In the last week, however, a parent contracted Covid. The actor tested negative but the family decided to quarantine their child for 14 days anyway. He would miss the show. Another Spotlight student stepped in and quickly learned the role.

Sunday, Oct. 25th the cast and crew of Aladdin Jr. set the elaborate, labor-intensive stage. Then, Monday, Oct. 26th brought a three-day ice storm to Oklahoma City which downed six power poles which brought electricity to The Gate. The warehouse space at the church were set construction was ongoing was shut down along with the church. The church, in hopes of holding a Sunday service asked that we remove the set.

We looked at rescheduling for the next weekend, November 6th and 7th, but had to postpone again because power had not been restored. It finally came back on, late Saturday, Nov. 7th. The Gate graciously allowed us to move the show to the next week, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13, 14.

Set up began Sunday afternoon, Nov. 8th the stage crew began working from morning until night. Technical week, where we add sound and lights began Monday night. But now, directors had scheduling conflicts.

On top of that, Spotlight's brand new digital soundboard began malfunctioning. On Tuesday, a replacement board was supplied by the Gate,. But a mysterious issue kept the replacement board from syncing with the microphone snake. It took until Wednesday for the solution to present itself.

With all issues resolved, last night, Thursday, Nov. 12th, Spotlight had a full dress rehearsal, with costumes, mics, sets, lights and sound. Our quarantined student was able to perform and will share with his understudy.

It was magical to behold.

Tears, laughter and applause swelled up for the cast and crew as they navigated through each scene.

I often say, "People have no idea what it takes to put on one of these shows," and, that's when everything goes according to schedule and everything works. Now, you have a little more understanding.

Those who have worked with Spotlight or attended our performances know we give our all to create stunning shows in every aspect—directing, sets, costumes, lighting, sound, acting singing, dancing. Junior shows are no exception.

The last element to make a show really spectacular is to have a big, enthusiastic audience, cheering and applauding. Friends and family came out enforce on Nov. 13th and 14th. Aladdin Jr. was a success and is now part of Spotlight Productions OKC's history.

Special thanks goes to all the cast and crew members, their parents, The Gate staff, and all the family members and friends who supported our cast.

Come again. There's more to come, so, come again!

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