Presenting The Lion King Jr.

Disney's The Lion King Jr. cast and ensemble made up of Winkler Elementary School students. They perform at the P.W. Enns Concert Hall May 15 & 16. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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Disney’s The Lion King Jr. is coming to the P.W. Enns Concert Hall May 15-16.
Winkler Elementary School will present the 60-minute musical, designed for middle-school age performers, based on the Broadway production directed by Julie Taymor and the 1994 Disney film. The Winkler Elementary School grades 7-8 cast contains about 30 students with an additional 20 students from Grade 4-6 in the ensemble.
The Lion King Jr. tells the story of the epic adventures of a curious cub named Simba (played by Kam Thomas) as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destiny as king. Along the way, the young lion encounters a colourful cast of characters including spunky lioness Nala (played by Sierra Fast), charismatic meerkat Timon, and loveable warthog Pumbaa. To claim his rightful place on the throne and save his beloved Pridelands, Simba must find his inner strength and confront his wicked Uncle Scar. The Lion King Jr. features classic songs from the 1994 film such as “Hakuna Matata” and the Academy Award winning “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” as well as additional songs penned for the Broadway production.
Students have been working hard on the production.
Sierra Fast, who plays Nala said her character is Simba’s best friend. “They fall in love kind of,” she said. “She’s fun, she cares for ‘people’.”
Fast said she enjoy the singing parts of the production as well as the chance to wrestle on stage.
She added people will find the story familiar, but it won’t be the entire movie portrayed on stage. “It’s going to be different from the movie,” she said. “We put a lot of work into it.”
Jamie Reimer plays Zazu, a Hornbill that keeps watch over Simba and Nala. “He’s the annoying babysitter for Simba and Nala,” she said. “They don’t like me at all.”
Reimer said she enjoys the role. “He gets to be annoying all the time, kind of butt into conversations,” she said. “He likes to bug Scar a lot.”
Reimer said the songs and dancing are likely to be the highlight for those attending. “I think that’s the best part,” she said.
Kam Thomas plays Simba, and said he loves his character’s personality. “He’s very bossy,” he said. “He likes to own the place.”
Thomas said he loves his characters adaptability. “He’s innocent,” he said. “He’s still a young cub so he pretty much rolls with anything.” He agrees that people will enjoy the music and dancing but said something else stands out as well. “The acting is good,” he said.
Producer Hayley Friesen said the process has been exciting. “Our kids do an amazing job, and above all else it is such a great learning and bonding opportunity for everyone involved,” she said.
The Lion King Jr. is open to the public at P.W. Enns Concert Hall on May 15 and May 16 at 7 p.m. Admission is $7, preschoolers (3 & under) are free. Tickets are available at the Winkler Elementary School office or through one of the cast members.

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