From R.J. Murray Middle School
Join in the Circle of Life with Simba, Nala, Timone, Pumba, and other popular characters from Disney’s The Lion King Jr., on stage at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 15 at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, 1340A A1A South, St. Augustine.
More than 150 students from the St. Johns County Center for the Arts at Murray Middle School will be part of the show — as dancers, characters in the musical, and the chorus.
New York City singer and actor Gregory Sheppard will play Mufasa, the king of Pride Rock. Sheppard has performed operatic roles and made singing appearances with symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles in the United States and Europe, including the New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Philadelphia Opera, the Savonlinna Opera (Finland), Vienne Festival (Austria), and many others. In addition, he has performed with the Bowdoin Music Festival as soloist in Mozart's Requiem Mass; as guest artist at the Arts Festival in Fort-de-France, Martinique; as soloist in the premier and live recording of Perfect Harmony by Finnish composer Heikki Sarmanto at the Savonlinna Festival; as Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors for the Berkshire Winter Festival; as Herald in Cinderella at the North Shore Music Festival; and Gianni Schicch in a live MET performance for the Metropolitan Opera Education Department.
The show is directed by drama instructor JoAnn Kirby Nance, with music direction by choral instructor Frank Schmidt. Dance instructors Carole Dickens and Catie Burkhardt are the choreographers.
“Choreographing for musicals is very different than creating works for a dance concert. I always have to take into consideration where the actors will be and the singers, and location of set and scenery. I think that Catie is doing the most challenging pieces — the hyenas and lionesses!” Carole Dickens said.
“Catie and I are both choreographing ‘Just Can't Wait to be King’ in classic Disney style. Everyone is familiar with the song and I'm sure the crowd will love it,” Dickens said.
Morgan Kelly, who has a background in Educational Theatre and Puppetry, is working to create the enormous elephants, giraffes, and other animals on stage in the show.
She’s designing and building the big elephant, a baby elephant and the birds in the show, including the narrator, Zazu.
“I am not aiming to mimic the Broadway musical, but rather being inspired by it,” Kelly explained. “Puppets are magical. They add a very special imaginative element to any show. People of all ages respond to puppets using their imagination.”
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students/children, available in advance online at www.ShowTix4U.com. Tickets also will be available at the door one hour prior to the performance. The St. Augustine Amphitheatre seats nearly 4,000.
Music and Lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice. Additional Music and Lyrics by Lebo M and Mark Mancina and Jay Rifkin and Will Van Dyke. Book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi. Based on the Broadway production directed by Julie Taymor. Disney’s The Lion King, Jr. is presented through special arrangements with Music Theatre International.
IF YOU GO
7 p.m. March 15
St. Augustine Amphitheatre, 1340 SR-A1A S
Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for students/children
Buy tickets: www.ShowTix4U.com
Tickets also can be purchased at the door on the day of the show.
BANZAI … BAYLIE McCLAFFERTY
ED … ALEX MOWREY
NALA … SHAYLA NELSON
PUMBAA … KYLE WORRELL
RAFIKI … NIYA BROWN
SARABI … ELLA ROMAINE
SARAFINA … KATARINA KNIPPENBERG
SCAR … ALEX LAWLESS
SHENZI … DAIDREUNNA DONALDSON
SIMBA … ETHAN VENZON
TIMON … ISSAC TURNER
YOUNG NALA … KYLER UNSWORTH
YOUNG SIMBA … CONNOR MICKEY
ZAZU … MACY DYKES
MUFASA … SPECIAL GUEST ARTIST – GREGORY SHEPPARD