The genie will be let out of the bottle when Ignacio High School presents Aladdin on Saturday and Monday.
The production is a step in what she hopes will become a growing theater program in Ignacio, said drama teacher Jennifer Boniface.
Aladdin is the story of a street urchin who meets and falls in love with Princess Jasmine. After her father the sultan has given her three days to find a husband, she escapes the palace and meets Aladdin, who charms his way into her heart. While the sultan's adviser, Jafar, weaves a spell so that he can marry Jasmine and become sultan, Aladdin finds a genie's lamp in a cave and sets the Genie free. It's with Genie's help that Aladdin defeats Jafar and wins the hand of the princess.
Boniface said Ignacio's production follows the same storyline as the Disney classic, but has modern humor and cultural references added to it.
Staging a full-on musical production with a cast of about 30 students, including dancers from the elementary school, as well as developing a program, are not without its challenges, she said. From arranging rehearsals so students who have other commitments can participate to the technical requirements of putting on a show, "It's been a big undertaking," Boniface said.
But, she added, it's been worth it.
"Working with the kids and seeing all the different personalities, from the really quiet shy kids you wouldn't expect to be in theater coming out of their shells, to having one of the star athletes singing as the Genie," have been rewarding, she said.
As for the students, Boniface said continuing to grow Ignacio's theater program offers benefits that will last beyond individual productions.
"I think it gives kids an avenue to express themselves where they don't always. And it's in a different way - it's not academics, it's not athletics," she said. "It lets them just be different and have fun and build a team."