The students worked since November practicing day after day to be ready for their big show. “The kids put in a lot of hours to give a quality show,” Martha Holland Stanley, head of Theatre Department, and director of the play, at Beth Davis Middle School said.
Stanley said approximately 50 students participated this year in making the production of the “The Lion King, Jr” a success. “Auditions begin in October and the cast is chosen,” Stanley said.
“Then it’s a lot of work; we have practices almost every day.” It’s a bit commitment to perform in the play. The group practices almost daily from November all the way through to February.
“The Lion King, Jr” had musical numbers by Elton John and Tim Rice and included well known songs such as “Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
The limited run was four days earlier in the month of March and was well received. “We try to find a role for all the students that want to participate,” Stanley said. “The door is always open as long as the students put in the effort.”
Cast and Crew included: Sara Moore (Rafiki); Daniel Billings (Mufasa); Anna Barton (Sarabi);
Denise Duroseau (Zazu); Kam Martz (Scar); Devin Joseph (Young Simba); Branwyn McCormick (Young Nala); Amber Ferrell (Sarafina); Gabrielle Goode (Shenzi); Blane Michel (Banzai); Aiden Rowland (Ed); Angela Bokenko (Timon); Jolie Tessenear (Pumbaa); Scott Moore (Simba); Caitlin Spencer (Nala); and, Sidney Wells (Lion Spirit).
The jungle ensemble included: McKenzie Aslett, Aliana Leary, Malia Lewis, Lauren Marshall, Zoe Merlot, Kailyn Moye, Zoe O’Neal, Sara Quada, Sophia Reyes, Gena Scott, Hayley Tingler, Madison Traylor, and Naomi White.
The Lionesses included: Emily Austin, Emily Burton, Victoria Degaetano, Kathryn Kniceley, Alyson Maddy, Skylar Middleton, Alexis Powell, and Olivia Youmans.
The Hyenas were performed by Cristian Heredia and Sidney Wells. Warmup caption was Sara Moore. The technical and design crew included Daniel Billings, McKenzie Ferguson, Skylar Howard, Joshua Leggett, Mackenzie Moore, Cassidy Parker, MaiAnh Pham, Daisy Robbins, Sidney Wells, Aleisha Whipple, Shay Tessenear, Sydney Outlaw and Charlise Smith.
Costume Design and Construction included: Ashley Harrell, LorreneKegris, Ann Moore, Sara Moore, Amy Tessenear, and Debra White and Leah Barczykowski.
Set Design included: Leah Barczykowski, Lindsey Bruce, Andy Quada, and Jay Tessenear. Special dedication went out to Naomi Swyers, who will retire this year, for her creation of extraordinary sets.
“I have so many reasons for loving this piece,” Ms. Stanley shared. “I love the story, I love Disney, I love the music, and I love Elton John.” For these reasons she has wanted to see the story unfold on the stage at Elizabeth Davis Middle School for some time.
Stanley’s pride is overwhelming. “I loved watching each new rehearsal and seeing these young people grow and learn,” she said beamingly. Stanley acknowledges all the work that goes into a program of this magnitude and thanks all the parents who helped to make the play a reality. “Thank you for all the set construction, costume construction, and infinite patience,” Stanley shared.
“Because of everyone we were able to manage a great show.”
She shared that the show was amazing. “It was a lot of work,” Stanley said. “The feedback was amazing and the compliments were wonderful.” She is most proud of the effort and the outcome that is so all inclusive of the whole community, yet most importantly about the students.
“We lovingly presented an all-middle schooler run production,” Stanley recapped. “Every set piece, light cue, line, and song that was performed was controlled by our students or recent former students.” Her pride encompasses their growth. “I have loved to watch them all blossom,” she gushed.
Stanley hopes that the memories “They Live in You,” will go from our generation to theirs and she hopes everyone who could attend enjoyed the show.