Though the set and costumes for Disney’s The Lion King Jr. are impressive, it is the dedication and amazing talent of the young actors that is most impressive. From the youngest newbie to the most stage-seasoned youth, the group was focused and on point during it’s first full dress rehearsal experience on the big stage of SSHS Auditorium at the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center. David Woody, director, has over 20 years experience in directing Children’s Summer Workshops. Learning how to take stage direction is Woody’s first student lesson, a skill that actors should never put side regardless of age or experience. In fact, this lesson is applied in the Workshop before a student ever steps onto a stage. The skill involves listening and acting on verbal instructions from the voice of the director who may be a distance away and may not even be visible. This is actually a valuable life lesson. Another good lesson that Workshop students learn is that the project is a group effort, and it’s success is everybody’s responsibility. Quick costume changes and speedy place changes require students to pay attention and be aware of what is going on around them in “actual time”. From the standpoint of an observer, I did notice something missing at rehearsal…cell phones and electronics. The youngsters’ attention is fully absorbed in putting on this play!
Among the cast are six members of the Deterding family…actually two local families….of brothers Brian and Shawn Deterding and their wives. Brian also constructed the large sun which you see rise over the stage when the curtain opens. The cast and crew of 35 youngsters, both onstage and in backstage support roles are learning a lot and having the time of their summer!
Woody mentioned that this being a Disney Production, there are certain additional guidelines to be followed in the royalty rules. These regulate the age range of the student actors as well as seating allowance for performances. Some Disney agreements with local theater groups allow audience seating at 700 per show, and others allow 300 per show. As for ticket sales, prices may not exceed fifteen dollars per ticket.
The public has three opportunities to see the Disney musical in Sulphur Springs; Friday and Saturday July 21 and 22 at 7 pm and on Sunday July 23 at 2 pm. Tickets are $15 each. Reservations may be made at mstsulphursprings.com or you may purchase tickets at the door.