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Lion King Jr. comes to life

South Boston News
The cast of Lion King Jr. / March 08, 2018
Halifax County Little Theatre is busy preparing for their spring performance of the Disney family favorite, Lion King Jr. Excitement is already abuzz as songs are being learned, costume measurements taken, and interviews being held. The April 20 opening will be here before you know it.

Director Devin Hall, assistant director Taryn Garland, and musical directors Cheri Blackwell and Andre Williamson are helping the children with blocking, learning the music and the African pronunciations, and teaching the basics of theatre directions.

Keeping track of all the children and their movements is stage manager Michelle Palmore, and choreographer Kasey Moore will soon start to work with the children to teach the correct movements to the songs. Show producer Kelly Ahmed is gathering lots of people to help fill all the positions needed to make the show a success.

The Lion King JR., tells the story of the epic adventures of a curious cub named Simba as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destiny as king. Along the way, the young lion encounters a colorful cast of characters including spunky lioness Nala, charismatic meerkat Timon, and loveable warthog Pumbaa.

To claim his rightful place on the throne and save his beloved Pridelands, Simba must find his inner strength and confront his wicked Uncle Scar. The Lion King JR. features classic songs from the 1994 film such as “Hakuna Matata” and the Academy Award-winning “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” as well as additional songs penned for the Broadway production.

Playing the lead character Simba are two young men, Carrington Thackston and Luke McKinney, who portray Simba as a young lion and then as he ages and start to mature. Simba’s young friend Nala is being played by Caraline Spell and then Rilee Daniels as Nala grows up.

Simba’s parents, Mufasa and Sarabi, are portrayed by Mallory Spainhour and Courtland Thackston. Nala’s mother, Sarafina, will be portrayed by McKayla Moxcey.

Ryan Crawford has taken on the role of Rafiki, a mandrill, who performs some of the lead songs known to Lion King fans, and is a friend to many in the forest. Two other favorite characters are the meerkat Timon and the warthog Pumbaa, portrayed by veterans Victoria Montes-Bradley and Katherine White.

Aaron Hendricks portrays Zazu, a red-billed hornbill who tries to keep up with Simba and help him out when in trouble. Unfortunately, there are evil characters who try to thwart Zazu’s good intentions. The main “bad guy” is Scar, portrayed by Halle Beadles, along with his henchmen, Banzai, Shenzi, and Ed, portrayed by Kevin Hodges, Logan Ashwell, and Khali Garrett.

As most everyone knows, the Lion King is full of animals in the jungle. All of these animals dance during the show and some of them sing in the vocal ensemble as well.

In the Animal Kingdom, filling the role of the giraffes are Mark Betts, Peyton Murray, and Francesca Potenza. The three zebras will be Yasmine Ahmed, Maelyn Freshour, and Michaella Freshour.

The graceful gazelles will be portrayed by Leah Griffin, Maggie Rose Hayes, Emory Martin, and Paige Shelton. Zara Williams, Zia Williams, and Zoe Williams will become the birds.

The monkeys in the jungle will be characterized by Taylor Ashwell, Maggie Mae Burton, Gabby Daniel, Olivia McKinney, Sarah Roberts, and Maddie Young. The elephants are portrayed by Nicholas Comer, Braeden Slagle, and Harper Yancey.

Lionesses in the show will be Starr Brooks, TaKayla Clauden, Kayia Foster, Brook Mosher, Adison Owen, Kynnedy Riley, Dora Slagle, and Emerie Williamson.

Finally, the humorous hyenas are being tackled by Alex Burton, Brooke Comer, Avery Hayes, Emma McKinney, Christopher Mosher, and Josh Slagle.

“When I was first asked to direct ‘The Lion King JR,’ for HCLT, my first thought was my life-long dream had finally been fulfilled by having an opportunity to direct in Halifax County. What a wonderful show this is to make my directorial debut. The kids are phenomenal. They bring so much energy and passion to the characters of the show, and I can’t wait to introduce all their hard work to our community,” Hall said.

The show will run for four school performances and then six public performances over two weekends, April 20–22 and 27–29. The Disney brand only allows 10 performances for each theatre group of this popular show, so purchase your tickets early in order to be able to see the show in all its glory. Tickets are now on sale at The Prizery at 434-572-8339, online at, and at the Visitors Center.

Season ticket holders are reminded to reserve seats early before they sell out.

sold out. They can contact The Prizery or Sandy Slayton at 434-579-5041 or Becky Donner at 434-470-0980 to reserve their seats.

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