St. Margaret’s Middle School students brought to life the story of Simba, a young lion prince in Africa who overcomes adversity before taking his place as the rightful king in the musical production of The Lion King Jr., which was performed in four shows from Nov. 17-19 in the Performing Arts Center.
Many theatrical elements came together to help the cast members tell the familiar and beloved Disney story. Musical Director Stacey Miles, who was assisted by Vocal Director Corinne Samskey, says that the musical’s African text and the depth of harmony was one of the challenges.
“I don’t think I could be any prouder of the students in the cast of this musical. So often with Middle School shows, when we move into the theater, it’s a struggle to keep the harmony when you add in steps and costume pieces and acting,” Ms. Miles said. “But this show, the harmony was there throughout the whole show; they never lost it. Our kids are consummate musicians.”
The setting was conveyed through newly-constructed set pieces including Pride Rock and elephant ribs for the elephant graveyard. Set piece design was overseen by Technical Director and Resident Designer Bryan Dauterive and brought to fruition by St. Margaret’s parent Kelli Miles. St. Margaret’s sophomore Miranda Gilbert stage managed the production with help from Espen Garner, grade 8, who was assistant stage manager. They directed the 12-member student stage crew who moved set pieces and mic’ed the characters.
The costumes for this production were created in the Performing Arts Center’s Keane Family Costume Studio under the direction of Costume Designer Melinda Keane. St. Margaret’s alumni Spencer Keane ‘10 added the finishing touches to masks and built large costumes such as the rhino. A team of 10 St. Margaret’s students worked as wardrobe mistresses and costume wardrobe assistants as well as on the makeup and hair teams along with St. Margaret’s parent volunteers.
The production featured artwork and construction from St. Margaret’s parent volunteers, David Matthew and Kristin Kennedy, assisted by professional artist and parent of two MS cast members, Lani Woods. This was the first St. Margaret’s production to feature 3D-printed masks
created by members of the School’s visual arts department led by Ashley Ricart.
St. Margaret's alumni parent Karen Cahill served as choreographer.
The parent volunteer support for this production helped make it the event that Director Darcy Rice envisioned. However, the focus remained on what the students were learning through the educational theater process.
The cast and crew party following the final performance in the PAC foyer allowed the cast members to reflect on their journey for this production that came to life in 10 weeks.