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Pride Rock in Nevada City: School of the Arts to perform ‘Lion King Jr.’

Michael Rohm
Special to Prospector
Landon Valdez and Cheya Coscia transform into Pumbaa and Timon, the wisecracking sidekicks in The Lion King Jr.
Submitted photo


What: “The Lion King Jr.,” a 60 minute adaptation of the Broadway production, “The Lion King.”

When: Friday, April 20, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 21, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Where: Nevada City School of the Arts Theater, 13032 Bitney Springs, Building 2, Nevada City

Admission: $10 for adults and $5 for kids 13 and under. Available online or at the door.

For more information: visit http://www.ncsota.org/product/lion-king-tickets or call 530-273-7736

Can you feel the love tonight?

It is a question students from the Nevada City School of the Arts will be asking members of the audience this weekend during “The Lion King Jr.,” a 60-minute adaptation of the award-winning Broadway musical.

Made available by a “Lion King Jr.” showkit license from Office Depot/OfficeMax and a grant from local nonprofit Community Players Trust, this Disney-designed, middle-school adaptation is the first extracurricular production of its kind at the K-8 charter school.

“The students often perform within the classrooms but this is our first time doing an afterschool production,” said Jody Deaderick, Nevada City School of the Arts assistant director. “We’ve never done anything like this and we’re having a lot of fun.”

“These kids are soaking it all up.”Chanthou LamChoreographer

Choreographer Chanthou Lam agrees. During school hours, Lam teaches dance to fourth through eighth graders. After school, however, she helps burgeoning actors learn how to put on a show.

“These kids are soaking it all up,” said Lam, whose background in Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean dance has informed the choreography of the show rooted in African sounds and landscapes. “They’re really confident and dedicated to strengthening their craft.”

The show is comprised of a cast of 21 students ranging from third grade to eighth grade, all of whom will be transformed into the beloved creatures first seen in the 1994 film and later adapted for Broadway.

Though it has been condensed for younger actors and audiences, “Lion King Jr.” still includes many of the same songs that make the original so popular, including “Hakuna Matata” and the Academy Award-winning song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”

Like the film and Broadway production before it, Lion King Jr. is the story of Simba struggling to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destiny as king. In his journey of self-discovery, the young lion overcomes obstacles, faces fears, and cavorts with a colorful cast of characters.

“The show is quite fun,” said Deaderick. “I think both kids and adults will really enjoy it.”

Lam agrees, and hopes this production will create more opportunities in the future for students and community members alike.

“I hope this opens up the community to seeing what is possible when we work together,” she said. “There’s a wide range of things we can bring to the school.”

“Hopefully we’ll do more musicals in the future,” she added. “These kids really feel like they’re a part of something special.”

Showtimes for The Nevada City School of the Arts production of “The Lion King Jr.” are this Friday, April 20 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 21 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at http://www.ncsota.org/product/lion-king-tickets.

Michael Rohm is a freelance writer. He can be reached at mirohm13@gmail.com


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