“The Lion King Jr.” will bring life to WMS stage

Annual school-wide production had auditions in September for show in March


    Another year of school at Watertown Middle School, and another excellent play that Abigail Casey is sure to make one to remember.

    Disney’s “Lion King Jr.” will be performed in March, but there are many things to be done before then: costumes, sets, songs, dances, etc.

    Close to 100 students were at the auditions on Tuesday, Sept. 22, when the ensemble auditions were held, and Thursday, Sept. 24, the lead audition day. There were numerous parts to try out for, the hyenas, the lionesses, Simba, Nala, and many more.

    Eighth-grader Ian Simpson said, “I am planning to be in it, but I’ve never done a play before so I am very intrigued about the experience. I probably want to be one of the hyenas, specifically, Banzai.”

    Different characters in the play have different personalities. So at the auditions, Ms. Casey was looking for certain students that could capture the mental picture in her mind of how those characters should be like.

     “I usually am looking for a particular characteristic that that student puts across in their audition,’’ she said. “So it’s not about who has necessarily the best voice or the best dancing talents, it’s who fits into my mental picture of the character that they’re going to portray.”

    “The Lion King Jr.” play tells the story of young lion Simba, his beloved father Mufasa, and wicked uncle Scar. After a tragic accident, Simba is left alone without the guidance of Mufasa. He runs away and finds two friends, Timon and Pumbaa, in a forest. Back home, Scar takes over the land and he and his hyenas change a beautiful community with many animals to a dark and wicked area of evil doings. Simba grows into an adult and returns to his homeland, set on taking back the place that is rightfully his.

    Many wonder how Ms. Casey chooses the play each year, for there are so many options.

    “I pick the play based on the diversity of students in our community and the availability of the show,” she said. “We’re one of the first schools in the country to have the opportunity to perform the Lion King.”

   But not all the decision-making is up to Ms. Casey. She has some help with directing and picking parts for certain people.

    “I try to take input from the student director and the student stage manager,” Ms. Casey said. “But, at the end of the day, I take responsibility for the final choices that get made.”

    Just because you aren’t part of the play doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy it. Students seem very excited to see what this play will be like in the end. Many have seen the movie but are not familiar with the play.

    “I really like the movie ‘The Lion King’ “ said eighth-grader Winter Mahon. “I feel like there are so many people that are going to be in it, that I think that it’s going to be really great.”

–Nov. 30, 2015–