‘Aladdin’ brings record crowds, dollars to Tuacahn

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   Come on down. Stop on by. Hop a carpet and fly to another Arabian night at Tuacahn.

   Tuacahn’s production of Disney’s “Aladdin” comes to a close Oct. 19. With only three more weeks to go, the production has already profited $4 million in revenue, Tuacahn CEO Kevin Smith said.

   “It’s outsold anything we’ve ever done, including ‘Little Mermaid,’” Smith said.

   One of the biggest attractions of the show, aside from the three camels, is the magic carpet ride, with Jasmine and Aladdin soaring over the audience.

   “That’s the biggest moment in the show,” said Jaren Conklin, master of automation at Tuacahn and a junior theater major from Dammeron Valley. “It’s the signature moment….”

   Conklin and his crew handle the magic carpet scene. Conklin has to make a last-minute decision each show night as to whether or not weather permits for flying.

   Conklin said if the magic carpet cannot fly due to weather, the audience would be disappointed because it’s the highlight of the show.

   “We try to push it as hard as we can,” Conklin said, after explaining certain weather conditions, such as rain or wind, sometimes make it a tough call. “Our cap on wind is 20 mph, so if it goes over 20, then we can’t fly.”

   In such circumstances, there is always a backup plan. Conklin said if flying is not permitted, there is a contraption on stage that mimicked a magic carpet. Jasmine and Aladdin stand on the imitation carpet and sing the whole song while hovering up and down.

   Conklin said luckily he has never had to call off the magic carpet scene.

   “It wouldn’t be very magical if we had to,” Conklin said.

   Show times are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. 

   Smith said the best nights to get seats are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, but there are still tickets available for every night.

   Originally, the production showed three nights a week, but Smith said it was selling so well that a fourth night was added.

   Conklin said the cast of “Aladdin” is extremely talented.

   “This is by far the biggest equity cast we’ve ever had, so they’ve got a lot of professionals here this year,” Conklin said. “The guy who plays Aladdin is actually on ‘Glee.’”

   Smith said the Genie is another character who has helped the show become a success.

   “Genie’s very funny,” Smith said.

   Andrea Luikart, a junior communication major from St. George, said her favorite character was the Genie.

   Viewers might already have preconceived ideas of how the Tuacahn production should be, based on the Disney movie. Luikart said she thought the character portrayal of the Genie in the Tuacahn production was right on with the Disney character.

   Tuacahn has an ongoing contract with Disney, originating back to Tuacahn’s first Disney production, “Tarzan.”

   “We’ve kind of developed a relationship with Disney over the last few years,” said Kevin Warnick, managing director and technical producer at Tuacahn.

   Warnick said Tuacahn must stay with the Disney script, but there is more freedom when it comes to design elements, such as sets and costumes.

   Warnick said changing design is OK “as long as we remain true to the characters of the show,” meaning lead characters, such as Jasmine and Aladdin, need to be portrayed as they are by Disney.

   Only a small number of “Aladdin” showings remain at Tuacahn before the season ends, but viewers can look forward to other events.

   Friday night 3D movies are now showing at Tuacahn through the end of October. Odyssey Dance Theatre’s “Thriller” returns this Halloween season, followed by Tuacahn’s first ever winter production, “Plaid Tidings,” beginning in November at the Dixie State College Cox Auditorium.