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From Broadway to Park Avenue Elementary, “The Lion King Kids”

on November 17, 2017

A scene from The Lion KingA cast of 52 students in grades 3-4 is ready to pull the curtain on the African savannah and entrance you with a stunning production of The Lion King Kids.

Performances

  • Friday, Nov. 17 at 7 pm (sold out)
  • Saturday, Nov. 18 at 2 pm (tickets available at the door)
  • Saturday, Nov. 18 at 4 pm (sold out)

One show, many schools…

While the show is Park Avenue’s, the effort engaged students from three of the District’s schools. High School Drama Club members served as mentors, choreographers, and voice instructors. The Middle School Art Club created the props and sets. The stage crew involves students of all grades, and the High School Communications students provided technical assistance.

A word of thanks from the director and producer…

It’s been several years since the last drama or musical production on the Park Avenue stage, but Director Christy Brown and Producer Amy Buliung couldn’t be happier with the support and collaboration they received every step of the way. “Principal Wood and Superintendent Dr. Leach were extremely supportive, and our PTA helped fund it and get it off the ground,” Mrs. Brown said. “And just about every actor in the play has a parent involved in some aspect of the production,” Mrs. Buliung added. Parents helped with costumes, makeup, and filled in as needed in all aspects of the production.A scene from The Lion King

Student reflections…

Ellie Hanson, Student Director – Ellie, a high school freshman, has always been involved with drama, but this is her first time directing and working backstage. “I was overjoyed when I was invited to direct the show. I love theater, I love kids, and it’s been an edifying experience,” Ellie said. She is involved in programs and activities that help build leadership skills, but she recognizes that in her role as student director, she’s had a hands-on opportunity to mentor, teach, and to be in charge. “It wasn’t always easy. There is a lot to do, all at once, and sometimes the kids have too much energy, but I look forward to doing it again.” She credits eighth grader Natalie Kitchin for her invaluable assistance.  

Madison Buliung, Simba (4th grader) – “It’s my first time in a play, and I’m really happy and excited to play Simba. I have all of the show’s characters as stuffed animals at home,” Madison said. “My favorite thing is reacting to other characters on stage. It’s hard work to memorize lines and solos, but I love hanging out with my friends, and I want to try out for drama next year again, in the middle school.”

Madison Olszewki, Zazu (4th grader) – “I love chasing young Simba and young Nala around, and my favorite song is ‘I can’t wait to be king.’ I didn’t know much about The Lion King but I really like it now,” said Madison who is on stage for the first time.

A scene from The Lion KingReagan Smith, Timon (4th grader) – “I found out that I actually like getting things wrong at first because it helps to get better. I had some trouble singing some of the lyrics, like ‘the sweet caress of twilight,’” Reagan said, with a chuckle, “but I love to sing, and I want to be an actress when I grow up.”

Abigail Yurchuk, Scar (4th grader) – Abigail has been playing good characters since she was 5, and had some reservations about being cast as Scar, the great antagonizer. But she surprised herself. “It’s so much fun to be the bad guy! You do whatever you want,” Abigail said, with a theatrical grin. Not surprisingly, she has found it most difficult to keep a straight face while funny things are unfolding on stage. And her comedic penchant comes through even as she ponders her progress as an actress: “I used to add in notes, like I was Mariah Carey, but now I’m singing much better.”

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