Traveling To A Wondrous Place With Mount Carmel School

Traveling To A Wondrous Place With Mount Carmel School

On a shining, shimmering, splendid stage in December, the students of Mount Carmel School, went on magic carpet ride in their production of Disney’s Aladdin JR. Located in Chalan Kanoa on Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, Mount Carmel School received heartfelt support from their community for the production

Adapted from the 2014 Broadway musical and the 1992 Academy Award-winning Disney film, Aladdin JR. is about the power one boy yields when he comes across a magic lamp, only for him to find he has that power within.

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we're shining a light on this magical production and its impact on the performers and audiences. We heard from teacher Galvin Deleon Guerrero and student director Malina B. Tenorio, two of the masterminds behind bringing this production to life.

Why did you pick this show? How did it appeal to you?

Galvin Deleon Guerrero: Malina picked the show because she has loved the [2019] live-action remake starring Will Smith since she was a kid.

Was there a new perspective you wanted to bring to your production?

Malina B. Tenorio: I really just wanted to highlight the magic that Disney has instilled in all of us, and emphasize beautiful themes of friendship and family that has carried through Disney’s legacy.

Production photo of Aladdin JR. at Mount Carmel School.Arturo Travillia in Disney's Aladdin JR. at Mount Carmel School

What did you/actors/students discover about yourself/selves discover about yourselves while doing the show?

Guerrero: Arturo Travillla, a relative newcomer to the stage, was cast in the title role, and he was extremely nervous, especially since he only wanted to help backstage as a crew member. But, paired with a veteran actress, Jessiana Tenorio as Jasmine, and under the guidance of his director, he discovered that he is more capable of great things than he realized - you know, kind of like the character he played.

Tenorio: With many of our cast members being new actors, I am so proud that they all discovered just how capable they are of going outside of their comfort zone and pushing boundaries. As a first-time director I truly felt the pressure of keeping everything together. Nonetheless I discovered how I too could go outside of my comfort zone and sink into a leadership role.

Production photo from Aladdin JR. at Mount Carmel SchoolArturo Travillia and Jessiana Tenorio in Disney's Aladdin JR. at Mount Carmel School

What was the most challenging part of doing the show?

Guerrero: As always, while Mount Carmel School's Theatre Club strives to meet professional standards in theatre, it is and always will be educational theatre. This means that we are constantly training and retraining cast and crew members in the craft of theatre through an apprenticeship model. It works, but it's also a lot of work.

Tenorio: The most challenging part for me as a director was being the person that people depended on and looked to for guidance, and trusting my own decisions and leadership when even I was unsure.

Production photo from Aladdin JR. at Mount Carmel SchoolThe cast of Disney's Aladdin JR. at Mount Carmel School

What was the most rewarding part of doing the show?

Guerrero: The most rewarding part of any show is seeing the kids shine on stage, especially when they discover that magical energy that emerges between performers and an audience. The audience laughs, cries, and swoons as the kids see all their hard work, passion, and talent pay off.

Tenorio: As cliché as it may sound, the most rewarding part for me was watching the cast and crew bring the whole show to life. The feeling that I had when seeing the fruits of all their hard work, and seeing the reactions of the crowd brought such a sense of pride and accomplishment for everyone involved.