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English-Spanish 'Aladdin' opens a whole new world for the dual-language family musical

English-Spanish 'Aladdin' opens a whole new world for the dual-language family musical
Michael Torrenueva as Aladdin, left, and Finley Polynice as the Genie in the West Coast premiere of Disney's "Aladdin Dual Language Edition/Edición De Lenguaje Dual" at Casa 0101 Theater. (Luis Gaudi)

Aladdin speaks only English. Princess Jasmine speaks only Spanish. The divide is the work of the evil Jafar, though the antagonist accidentally enables Rajah the tiger and Abu the monkey to later act as comedic translators for the star-crossed lovers.

Disney's popular musical "Aladdin" will get this dual-language adaptation in Los Angeles from Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights and TNH Productions. It officially opens Friday and runs through Feb. 19.

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The family-friendly concept first premiered at Theatre Under the Stars in Houston in 2009. The office of L.A. City Councilman Gil Cedillo has signed on as a co-presenter.

The show was musically directed by Caroline Benzon, choreographed by Tania Possick and directed by TNH Productions Artistic Director Rigo Tejeda. It features a cast of 24 actors and dancers.

"Aladdin" takes place in the fictional city of Agrabah and sees its love story unfold with a magic genie.

"Our dramaturgical mission for 'Aladdin Dual Language Edition/Edición De Lenguaje Dual' was to weave two languages into the plot while making sure that both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking audiences could follow the story," said Ken Cerniglia, literary manager for Disney Theatrical Group, which first granted the Houston company rights to test a dual-language show. "We hewed closely to the text and structure of Disney's 'Aladdin JR.,adapted for the stage by Bryan Louiselle and Jim Luigs, but amplified the show with a new back story."

A pay-what-you-can preview of the Casa 0101 production is scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday.

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'Aladdin Dual Language Edition'

Where: Casa 0101 Theater, 2102 E. 1st St., Los Angeles

When: 8 p.m. Fridays; 2, 5 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Sundays; ends Feb. 19

Tickets: $30 general admission, $25 students and seniors, $20 Boyle Heights residents with ID

Information: (323) 263-7684, www.casa0101.org

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