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BLTeens’ ‘Aladdin’ taking flight

Brookhaven Little Theatre is staying busy over the summer by giving the area’s youth an opportunity to try their hand on stage.

     The theater is currently hosting the BLTeens group that is rehearsing for Disney’s “Aladdin,” from Music Theater International’s Broadway Jr. Collection.

     Three weeks of rehearsals that began on June 1 will culminate in four performances on June 21, 22, 23 and 24.

     All will be at 7:30 p.m., except for the matinee on the 24, which will be at 2 p.m. Admission will be $10.

     Director Jana Russell said one of the students suggested they perform “Aladdin,” and the rest of the students seemed to like it as well. She said to expect a performance that is entertaining with lots of action and movement.

     “This will be a very high-energy show,” said Russell.

     The performance has brought together 23 teens from Lincoln, Lawrence, Franklin and Copiah counties, something that Russell said has been great.

     “Kids from different schools have come together and are working toward a common goal,” she said. “Friendships are forged and the teens get to meet people they may not have otherwise. This may be our largest cast to date for our teen summer program.”

     The teens have been involved in everything from building the set to choreography to singing. Russell said this is designed to be a learning experience for the teens.

     A key component of the summer program for teens, which is in its third year, is trying to be as professional throughout the process as possible, according to Russell.

     “We are running this as professionally as we can,” she said. “It’s been professional throughout because we want to give the teens as authentic an experience as possible.”

     Russell said the BLTeens program is something the theater wanted for the talented youth in the area.

     “This is something we really wanted to provide for the many talented teens in our area,” she said. “It’s growing year by year and every year I’m amazed with the talent we have.”

     Co-directing this summer’s production is Daniel Davis, a 2012 Brookhaven High School graduate who is directing his first play. Davis said he’s been involved in drama since he was 5 years old.

     “It’s been a lot of fun being involved in theater since I was born,” she said. “The kids here listen to me more than older people because it’s easier for me to connect to them.”

     Davis said he has also been impressed with the talent this summer.

     “The talent level has been great as all the kids in this have been wonderful, starting with auditions,” he said. “The kids pulling off a show in three weeks is impressive.”

     Also helping out on “Aladdin” are Benji Stockton with choreography and Greg Russell, who is the producer.

     On July 9 through 20, the Brookhaven Little Theatre will put on their drama camp for students from first grade to those entering seventh grade. The program will conclude with two performances on July 19 and 20.

     Russell said if teens would like to participate in the drama camp, they can as counselors, which would allow them to get community service hours they may need for school.

     For more information and registration sheets, visit haventheater.org.