Circle of Life – Courtesy image (c) 2017 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image


Submitted by the JGMS Department of Music and Theatre Arts

The 2016 John Glenn Middle School musical, Disney’s The Lion King, Jr., tells the story of young Simba, son of the lion king Mufasa, who runs away from the pride lands after a terrible accident and must return to face his past and lead his people to the future. Based on the beloved animated movie and adapted from the Tony-winning Broadway musical, The Lion King, Jr. features familiar songs such as “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” and “Hakuna Matata.”

Click each of the courtesy images below twice to see it at full size

The cast and crew have been working hard since January to bring the show to life. Nearly one hundred thirty middle schoolers are involved in the production, both on stage and behind the scenes. Student crew members have taken a more active role in creating props, costumes, and scenery than in previous shows. JGMS art teachers Candace Banks and Paul Harrington have helped create special set pieces with their classes and provided storage space and materials for the student and adult volunteer crews.

Vincent Canciello stars as Mufasa, with Liam Buckley as his villainous brother Scar. Jillian Guetersloh portrays the mandrill Rafiki, with Isabella Santiago as the king’s hornbill counselor Zazu. Tyler Rauch and TJ Zovko play Young Simba and Simba, respectively, with Adriana Panagiotou and Reilly Szymczak as Young Nala and Nala. Timon and Puumba, the meerkat and warthog who provide comic relief, are played by Ellie Mitchell and Brandon Gordon. Isabel Hon-Anderson, Molly Goldfarb, and Oliver Nosal are the lead hyenas Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, while Sophia Gitlin and Alethia Chan play lioness mothers Sarabi and Sarafina. More than 70 other students comprise the ensemble of lionesses, black panthers, zebras, hyenas, elephants, giraffes, birds, and antelopes.

The crew is led by stage manager Brendan Coyne and assistant stage manager Hugh Gilroy, with Suzie Marcus and Annie Bernstein co-managing lights and Quinn Ricci managing sound. Charlotte Livingston and Abi Van Praagh co-manage props, while Kathrine Surgay and Sarah Newman manage costumes and makeup, respectively. Twenty-eight more students round out the various crews backstage and in the booth.

Mrs. Budka is assisted by science teacher Barbara Ferri, with Linda Aiken serving as music director, and Jennifer Buckley and PE teacher Libbey Beinert serving as co-choreographers. BHS students Carly DeMello and Noah Southard serve as production assistants for Mrs. Budka.

Performances run Wednesday, April 5 at 3:30 pm (a sensory-friendly performance); Thursday and Friday, April 6 and 7, at 7 pm; and Saturday, April 8, at 6 pm. Tickets are available for purchase through Tickets for the sensory-friendly matinee are $5 per person, and tickets for the evening performances are $10 per person. All ticket purchases will incur a small online service charge.

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