The second Russellville Arts Council arts camp wrapped up over the weekend with a trio of successful performances of the musical Disney’s Aladdin Jr.
Around 75 children participated in the production in one way or another - and it wound up being a huge success.
“A fellow from my church that goes to Disney World about twice a year said that he went to the play and our performers were just a smidge below the ones at Disney,” said Larry Vaught, who served as director for the play. “One of the other things that I have heard a lot is from people who said they wish they had come, because they heard from others how great it was.”
The whole production was put together in just one week as children showed up to the arts camp on Monday morning.
On Friday evening, they had their first performance, which was met with a standing ovation at the end of the show.
“I wish I could get everyone in our community to realize the talent that we have lurking here in Logan County,” Vaught said. “I think the people that were at our shows saw that.”
Vaught said that in addition to the artistic abilities of the cast, he felt like the production showed off their smarts as well.
“You’re talking about the script that we used which had 120 pages of dialog and songs in it - and they learned it in a week,” Vaught said. “I think that also shows the kind of intelligence we have in the children of our community.”
Vaught wasn’t alone in working with the children, however.
He had a very dedicated staff who put in a lot of time as well. Some of those included: Melanie Manley, the assistant director, musical director Elaine Blythe, choreographer Morgan Smith, technical director Brandon Stearsman, stage manager Allison Blythe, props mistress Tera Ragland, artistic designer Sydney Herndon, lighting designer Brian Brown, sound effects designer Eddie Brooks and producer Darlene Gooch.
“Many of the staff at the end of the week were overcome with not only the hard work ethic the children had, but also just how good natured they were,” Vaught said. “They were respectful and willing to take direction. The kids were there for a purpose and you could see that.”
This is the second year that the Russellville Arts Council has put on a musical after a week-long arts camp.
Last year they produced School House Rock with about 23 children being involved.
This year’s show was even bigger and better in scope and participation and Vaught said many of the participants are already looking forward to next year.
“It was neat, as we were cleaning up, kids were coming up with their suggestions about doing something like the Lion King or The King and I - they were really enthusiastic about it,” Vaught said.