‘Lion King Jr.’ roars to life on stage


Delaney Gunnell

Props sit backstage in preparation for the show

The pressure is on for middle-school thespians as the performance of Disney’s “The Lion King Jr.” is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“[Tech week] is when everything finally comes together and we will be handling costumes, props, sets, mics, instrumental and ensemble,” eighth-grader McKenna S. said. “It’s really stressful because there is so much pressure to get everything right. It’s a lot of panic, but it all tends to come together in the end.”

As the middle-schoolers prepare for the fast-approaching performance, they work to harness the atmosphere of Disney’s iconic movie.

“‘The Lion King Jr.’ as a whole it’s a very spiritual and powerful show,” McKenna said. “And it hits you surprisingly hard. It’s interesting to see how people are taking their characters; and especially these characters that undergo such fantastic transformations for a Disney show. It’s really beautiful, and my main focus is for everyone to pull it all together and get it to be the best that it can be.”

Eighth-grader Ritvik V. said he has continued to work hard for his first-ever theater performance.

“The whole show is coming together,” Ritvik said. “And McKenna even said it’s the best she has ever felt about a show. But everyone’s a little bit concerned and kind of scared. I hope that it will go well. It’s my first show so I can’t compare it to anything else that I have done. I’m obviously nervous.”

The life of theater students consists of taking on new characters to portray correctly. And as the characters of “The Lion King” are well known by many, the pressure is on for the cast to do the iconic characters justice.

“I have a lot to work on with confidence because Nala is a very proud character,” McKenna said. “She walks on stage and she’s like, ‘Here I am. This is how it’s going to happen. Listen to me when I talk.’ And it’s something that I’m trying to master. I’m trying to get myself into that headspace of, ‘Look how cool I am.’ It’s surprisingly hard to take on a character that’s that collected and confident all of the time.”

“For my character I have to act really stupid and haughty,” Ritvik said. “I want to nail down my choreography and I want others to nails down their choreography too. If they get their dance moves right then it won’t look awkward on stage.”

While taking on a role to perform on stage is an odd feeling for many, for theater students it’s a normal task to accept.

“If you feel stupid then you’re doing it right,” McKenna said.

But as it is typically the case with shows such as “The Lion King Jr.”, the performers must overcome stressful situations to make a successful show.

“I have a number of costume changes that I have to get through because I have seven in rapid order,” McKenna said. “I have one right after the other. It’s so intense and it’s scary. Getting on stage in time [will be difficult]. Those costume changes are so fast.”

There are other factors to the show that are hard for the cast to control.

“There are a couple of people that are getting sick because the flu is going around,” Ritvik said. “So that I am worried about. I was pretty sick this weekend and I don’t want that to effect the show.”

But despite the pressure of opening day, the cast said that it is excited to showcase its talent and hardwork on Saturday.

“I have a big solo that I am glad to have gotten because I like having solos,” McKenna said. “And I do a little bit of dancing which is fun because I’m big on dance.”

Hopes are set high for the show, and with tech week coming to an end, the theater department anticipates the moment that the curtain rises on Saturday.

“I think the show will go pretty well because everyone has a majority of their lines down and their songs and their dance moves down,” Ritvik said. “It’s just those little kinks that we have to work out that aren’t just lines, but also acting and conversing.”

Tickets will be sold in the auditorium before the performance for $5 for students with a student ID card, and $7 for general admission.

By Sophia Bailly

Editor’s note: Brevard Public Schools policy prohibits the inclusion of middle-schoolers’ last names on district websites.