Today’s Art Talk Monday is from Johnathan Baines, with Ruston Community Theatre.
Ruston Community Theatre is bringing a little glimpse of Broadway to Ruston with its upcoming youth production of Disney’s The Lion King, Junior directed by Steele Moegle. This is RCT’s second annual junior musical following the wildly popular Beauty and the Beast, Junior. The Lion King was chosen to be a contrast to the princess story from last year and is sure to provide something for everyone. RCT would like to thank their generous show sponsors Dianne Douglas and Saul Zalesch as well as the underwriters Turpin Orthodontics, The Law Offices of Woodard and Clement, and Pamela Stewart.
The production is a junior version of the hit Broadway musical based on the Disney animated film. In the African savannah, all the animals assemble for the presentation of Simba, King Mufasa’s newborn cub. Meanwhile, Mufasa’s wicked brother Scar is plotting to take over the throne. As Simba grows, Mufasa teaches him how to rule with wisdom and discernment, but when tragedy strikes, young Simba flees the land. As he wrestles with the ghosts of his past, he must overcome the weight of his guilt so he can return and reclaim his rightful place as king. The musical features much-loved songs by Elton John and Tim Rice including “The Circle of Life,” “Hakuna Matata,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
As a junior musical, all the roles are played by kids and teens. In fact, for this particular show, all participants must be 9th grade and younger! Steele Moegle is excited to direct another talented group of kids. “The challenges of this show are many,” Steele says, including “the movement required, the costumes, and the fact that everyone plays an animal.” In addition, several of the songs involve chanting in African languages including Zulu and Swahili. From what I heard at rehearsal, I know the community will be quite impressed with what these kids have done! “I am most proud of the cast who have taken on the challenges presented with gusto,” Steele adds.
Anna Katherine Thompson, playing Rafiki, believes the most challenging part of this musical has been learning to correctly pronounce the three African languages. Anna Katherine says her favorite part of the Rafiki role is that she “gets to open the show by standing on Pride Rock holding Rafiki’s staff. If you love the movie, you will like this live performance even better. We (the cast) have worked very hard to bring it to life!”
Alma Moegle, who is playing Nala, encourages everyone to come see the production, “This show would be enjoyed by all ages. My favorite song in the show is ‘The Circle of Life.’ Audience members will love the funny dialogue, as well as the exciting and beautiful songs.”
Steele would also like to acknowledge her wonderfully creative production team who have taken this show to the next level: Gretchen Jones, choreographer; Karen Pittman, costume mistress; Satish Bharadvaj, set designer; Johnathan and Anna Baines, property masters who are also creating many of the animals; and Don Stevens, the lighting designer. Steele would also like to thank the parents of the cast, “The parents of cast members have also been indispensable, providing assistance at rehearsals and in helping our creative team.”
Don’t miss The Lion King, Junior coming up at the Dixie Center for the Arts. The show dates will be Tuesday, June 20 at 10 am and 7 pm, Wednesday, June 21 at 2 pm, and Thursday, June 22 at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids/students. General seating tickets are available online at http://mkt.com/rctruston, and Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the Dixie Box office from 12:30-2:30. Be sure to like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/RustonCommunityTheatre to stay informed on other RCT events and shows.