PUPPETEER. Aurelio DeAnda is one of the young actors in GO-FAME’s production of “Aladdin.” He is pictured with his character, a puppet, Iago. —Photo courtesy GO-FAME

    Thespians Brad Bangi, 13, and Sara Lobato, 16, will suspend the reality of their teenage lives and take the audience with them this Saturday to Agrabah, City of Enchantment.

    GO-FAME Youth Theatre Company’s “Aladdin” — starring Bangi as Aladdin and Lobato as Princess Jasmine, along with a cast of about 60 youngsters — will be performed six times from Oct. 16 to Oct. 24 at the University Theatre at California State University, Long Beach.

    GO-FAME is a nonprofit organization that strives to provide youth with an artistic outlet and provide the community with professional-level theater productions. “Aladdin” is the sixth production by the organization.

    “Because of so many cuts in schools, the kids don’t do as much there, and given the economy, people don’t do as much with the arts,” said Kathy McGuire, managing director. “This is an opportunity for the kids to perform and find an appreciation for the arts.”

    Although the cast for the production is made up of 8- to 18-year-olds, McGuire said that “Aladdin” is something for community members of any age to enjoy, especially in the midst of GLOBAL, Long Beach’s October-long celebration of arts and culture.

    “Part of our mission is beyond teaching the kids about the arts, it is about building a family and community tradition of theater going,” she said. “Our shows are fun and exciting and professional quality for a really good value.”

    Lobato said rehearsals, which are three times a week, have been a lot of fun. She said she has been able to meet other youngsters who love theater as much as she does.

    “Performing on stage is my passion,” Lobato said. “I am really excited about being in the musical and cannot wait for it to open.”

    The young actress said the play is similar to her favorite Disney movie, “Aladdin,” so she knows the story backwards and forwards.

    Bangi said he, too, is ready for the show to start Saturday.

    “I am extremely happy I get to play Aladdin,” he said. “I put a character profile together so that I could put together what he would do in different situations.”

    GO-FAME cast members must audition to be a part of the show. Participation is $150, and scholarships are available for underprivileged youngsters. In addition to learning about acting, participants sew costumes and create the props and set for each show. GO-FAME also offers separate acting classes.

    “Aladdin” will play at 2 and 7 p.m. on Oct. 16 and Oct. 23 (Saturdays) and at 2 p.m. Oct. 17 and Oct. 24 (Sundays) at CSULB’s University Theatre. Tickets are $15.

    For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.go-fame.org.

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