Dancing a little hula

Dancing a little hula, Kate Ensor, as Timon, and Shae Ila, as Pumba, perform a lively distraction for the hyenas during a dress rehearsal of ‘Disney’s Lion King Jr.’ on June 5 at Magic Circle Theatre. 

“Let’s be spectacular. I know you guys have it in you, “ Lisa Rediger, the Magic Circle Theatre manager and director of “Disney’s the Lion King Jr.” said to her cast and crew after seeing all the hard work everyone had put in since auditions in March.

Magic Circle Players presents “Disney’s the Lion King Jr.” starting 7 p.m. Friday, June 9. The show will run through June 16 with show times: 7 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

After the doors are closed and the lights go down, the show opens with a stunning silhouette scene where Rafiki, played by Anna Ensor, really shines and brings the music of Africa to life.

The lionesses rise from the shadows as the song continues and brings incredible choreography onto the stage. Actors and actresses dressed in intricate animal costumes fill the stage as the animals come to see Simba, the lion cub prince, for the first time and the amount of energy created in the first few minutes carries through the entire show.

Although the show is performed by children ranging in age from 10-18, Rediger said, “I want people to know this is not a cute show. This is not a kid show acted by kids for kids that adults will not enjoy. This is a spectacular piece of theater.”

Cast members Everett Gregory and Jordan Rediger who play Scar and Mufasa, respectively, also wanted to emphasize this point.

“Don’t kill your brother!” Gregory said jokingly when asked what he wanted people to take away from the show.

“I just want them to be happy and to enjoy.Youth theatre has this bad stigma. People think I’m going to watch a bunch of kids dress up in crappy costumes and try to act and I want them to actually walk away saying wow that was really good. You know that was enjoyable. That was a lot of fun,” he said.

“I’m definitely with Everett,” he said. Jordan Rediger added. “When people see ‘Lion King Jr.’ and they see kids, they think subpar costumes, subpar acting and even though it is a big name they think it’s going to be cute. But I mean it is a play with a ton of impact and a ton of moments where you get shivers and chills and think wow look at the colors and the lighting. And everything is just amazing. I encourage people to see it even though it is kids. I mean they are extremely talented.”

With a cast of 42, a crew of more than 20, numerous community volunteers and countless hours of practice, the show finally came together with no detail overlooked. All involved appeared pleased with the final production as the performers brought high energy and excitement to the stage in every scene during dress rehearsal on June 5. The audience will laugh, smile and may even want to sing along.

“Well my favorite part is getting to watch the other characters bloom throughout the entire show,’” Jenna McGehee, who plays Sarabi, said. “And well experiencing this fun play.”

Kate Ensor, who plays the lively Timon, said, “I think my favorite thing is pretty much all of the scenes I have with Shae Ila, who is Pumba, just cause we are good friends and it is really fun to hang out with her and my favorite scene was Playing and Pouncing because I really get to play out that character and get who I wanted Timon to be and just to be that character that I always wanted to be.”

Zazu, played by Elizabeth Mueller, expressed her gratitude and “awe” for the Montrose acting community.

“I love the community so much!” Mueller said. “These kids are so talented and everyone is so excited to be here. And they are so open and vulnerable and exuberant and it is just really good energy to be around.”

Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children 2-12 and can be purchased online at MagicCirlclePlayers.com, the theater box office 2-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and at the door two hours prior to each performance. For more information on showtimes, or to purchase tickets visit the website above or call 970-249-7838.

Sydney Warner is the Montrose Daily Press’ multimedia journalist.

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