DISNEY'S LION KING JR.
Funded by the CNY Arts Regrants Program, this production was dedicated to Brexialee Torres-Ortiz
Music by Elton John
Lyrics by Tim Rice
WHEN & WHERE:
February 9 – 11, 2023
Presented by Thanasis Theatre Company
Rafiki – Ne'Kayvia Bethea
Mufasa/Simba – Malichi Simmons
Sarafina/Nala – Sophia Pierce
Sarabi – Jaden Hanniford
Zazu – Kate Fennessy
Scar – Tyren Johnson
Young Simba – Jojo Harper-McNeal
Young Nala – Aurora Davis
Shenzi* – Jewel Pierce/Sophia Furnell-Wick
Banzai – Micah Jones
Ed – Charlotte Halverson
Timon – Makayla Halverson
Pumbaa – Cartel Oliver
*Jewel played Shenzi on 2/10 and 2/11 (7pm)
*Sophia played Shenzi on 2/9 and 2/11 (3pm)
Directors – Jordan Westfall & Mookey Van Orden
Music Director – Ben Borenstein
Asst. Music Director – Tyler Eighmey
Choreographer – Dominique Barr
Producer – Blondean Young
Costumes – Sonya & Lorenza Mangovski
Masks – Debra Ritchey, CNY Costumes
Lighting Design – Audrey Flynn
Sound Design – Isaac Betters & Trillium Holsopple
Makeup – Destynee Raines
Photography – Lauren Sageer & Morgan Williamson
Fight Choreography – Mookey Van Orden
Set Construction – Phillip Fraser
Set Design – Kristin Palazzoli & Harper Park
Special Thanks to The Central Valley Boys & Girls Club, The Community Folk Arts Center, Cicero-North Syracuse High School, and all of the parents who've made this production possible!
Admittedly, when I first set out to mount a show that was multi-generational in nature, my idea was not that of a Jr. production, much less a Disney Jr. production. However, through trial and error (i.e. being denied rights for a different, non-Broadway Junior title), it seemed as though Lion King was the best fit for our creative team as a whole for the desired timing of the project.
What's more, as our creative team came to learn – immediately after acquiring the rights to Lion King Jr. – there was another production of this show happening in Syracuse just months before us, in the fall of 2022 at a high school nearby. A production, I might add, that exemplified what is still very wrong with theatre in Syracuse, at both the local and educational levels.
What I mean to say is: a production that was entirely white; without any sort of ethical, or logical basis in reality as it pertains to the story and setting of the show.
Ergo, Thanasis' doing Lion King was correct after all.
Even more importantly, our production was special and worthwhile and absolutely cherished by every parent, child and artist involved, to the point that the show was completely sold out for all four of its performances, and Standing Room Only had to be employed.
I am thankful to the Central Valley Boys and Girls Club for allowing us to rehearse there for the bulk of our process; to the Community Folk Arts Center for also providing us a home; to Kim Panek at Cicero-North Syracuse High School for always lending a hand; and to my beautiful, brilliant Co-Director Mookey, and our incredible choreographer Dominique – thank you both for coming on board and having the experience necessary to lead these children to success.
(inclduing Directors' Note)