Bringing family favourite to life

Published 4:19pm 3 November 2021

Bringing family favourite to life
Words by Kylie Knight

Embark on an African adventure with Simba, when The Lion King JR roars to life on the stage at Mueller Performing Arts Centre this week.

The musical is based on the 1994 Disney animated film and the 1997 Broadway adaptation.

Mueller College Artistic Director Di Schmidt says 112 pupils are involved in the production, to be staged on November 5 and 6.

Most of the performers are primary school-aged with two Year 7 students taking on specialist roles.

This will be the college’s first production with pupils from early primary school (Years 1-3) in lead roles.

Ms Schmidt says auditions were held for younger students in the hunt for two lead characters, which were filled by girls from Year 2.

As a result, more than 20 pupils from Years 1-3 are now part of the ensemble, taking on an animal character for the first and last numbers and performing with the broader ensemble throughout.

It has been a good chance for older pupils to mentor the younger cast members.

Young Simba will be played by Lily Rossetto (Year 2), while Micah Rossman (Year 5) will perform as older Simba.

Young Nala will be played by Ellha De Franz (Year 2), while Charlotte Bird (Year 6) will play grown-up Nala.

Ms Schmidt says Charlotte Westaway (Year 7) is exceptional as Rafiki.

It has been a long road to this point, with auditions starting in term 1 and rehearsals from the first week in term 2.

“It’s a coming-of-age story about a prince who understands and learns his part in life and how he has to fulfill his role and take responsibility for his past ... how he uses his position to help the pride rather than hinder the pride,” Ms Schmidt says.

“There’s also the circle of life … passing on that knowledge to the next generation.”

Ms Schmidt says The Lion King is an iconic children’s story that appeals to audiences of all ages.

“It’s full of really well-written songs and music. It’s very colourful and bright and happy and the kids love it. It’s going to be full of energy and fun,” she says.

Show details

What: The Lion King JR

When: November 5 at 7pm and November 6 at 7pm.

Where: Mueller Performing Arts Centre, 75 Morris Rd, Rothwell

Tickets: $17 adults and children, $60 family (two adults, two children)

Visit: mueller.qld.edu.au to buy tickets

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