The Lion King Jr. Review

Jessie Van Den Berg, Editor

The Lion King Jr. show came to Canyon Vista from Feb. 7-9. Our extremely talented theatre department did an excellent job acting, designing props, changing sets, and singing the classic Hakuna Matata tunes. I was very pleased with the show and think that this group of students could definitely have a future in acting.

When I arrived the atmosphere was already in place. With music playing, colorful lights, and ushers seating the audience, I felt as if I was in Africa already. This was a great start to the evening.

Then once I got seated and picked up a program, the show began. The opening scene was amazing. Silence, while Rafiki played by Charlotte Blackmon (8), sang Circle of life was beautiful. The animals came on stage and created a feeling of joy and peace. The scene changes were smooth and quick which was a big plus to keep the show running.

The next musical number was I Just Can’t Wait to Be King. This is one of my favorites songs from the Lion King so I had high standards, the cast definitely met and rose these expectations. Young Simba played by Jonathan Simon (6) has an excellent voice. The way he took that song and portrayed it as innocent Simba was so fantastic and impressive. Alongside young Simba was young Nala played by Awa-Susan Currier(6). She did a phenomenal job. Her voice was captivating and her acting was magnificent and I truly felt that she and Simba were best friends. These two were exceptional actors and I hope to see them in other plays before the year is over.

Next was the song Be Prepared. This song was performed by Scar, Ben Fox (8), alongside him was his hyenas Emma Portnoy (8), Baker Tuthill (8), and Oliver Barnfield (8). This number was wonderfully wicked. The vocals of these students were so excellent. The emotion they put into this scene was so malicious. Fox, Portnoy, Tuthill, and Barnfield all did an outstanding job. I think this song was a perfect mix of power and villainous.

The next musical number was They Live in You. This song was performed by Mufasa played by Nash Baines (8). This was a slower and more meaningful song than some others in the show. This was performed in darkness with fairy lighting up the stage. This was a very magical musical number and I think it was one that stuck with me for the whole performance. Baines had an incredible voice and made the scene gripping.

Following this was the iconic song, Hakuna Matata. This song was performed by Timon, Sydney Safarik (7) and Pumbaa, Anderson Zoll (8). These two did an unbelievable job. Their acting so phenomenal and I was laughing in any scene they were in. Their singing was so excellent that I couldn’t have picked two better people to take on this song. The set was beautiful as well, which I give a huge round of applause to the crew.

The song after that was Shadowland. This song was a sad and moving song performed by Nala, Neha Poreddy(8). She did a great job. Her voice was so beautiful that I was intrigued by the entire song. I really felt as if I were a part of this musical. I have no other words to describe this performance.

Following this song was Can You Feel the Love Tonight. This song was performed by Timon (Sydney Safarik), Pumbaa (Anderson Zoll), Simba (Gabriel Paredes), and Nala (Neha Poreddy). All of these students did a fantastic job. This song was hands down my favorite of the whole show. It was compassionate, beautiful, and captivating. These actors did a wonderful job.

This musical was so different from any other shows here at Canyon Vista. It was really cool to see these everyday students show how talented they are. The props, sets, performance and everything in between were breathtaking. The cast and crew did such a good job. If there was one thing I could critique, it would be I wish the actors could have projected a little more. But, I think this show The Lion King Jr. was a show I will never forget.