Deer Lakes Middle School to showcase ‘The Lion King Jr.’ | TribLIVE.com
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Deer Lakes Middle School to showcase ‘The Lion King Jr.’

Madasyn Lee
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Deer Lakes middle and elementary school students will present “The Lion King Jr.” this month.
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Martina Saldamarco, C.J. Everhart and Marianna Vergerio are among the stars of Deer Lakes’ presentation of “The Lion King Jr.”
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The cast and stage crew of “The Lion King Jr.” are among 90 Deer Lakes middle and elementary students to take part in this month’s production.

You don’t need to go to Broadway to see “The Lion King.” Just head on over to Deer Lakes High School.

A cast and stage crew of 90 students in grades 3 through 8 will perform “The Lion King Jr.” Nov. 22-24 in the Deer Lakes High School auditorium.

Tickets are $10.

Matthew Derby, drama productions co-director, said Deer Lakes Middle School chose to showcase “The Lion King Jr. ” because of its popularity.

“‘The Lion King’ is really popular this year with the new movie coming out. We have a lot of talented boys this year, which is sometimes rare, so we have a lot of roles for them,” Derby said. “We like to try to pick shows that we know are going to be a big hit in our community.”

“The Lion King Jr.” is a condensed version of “The Lion King” that is geared toward middle school-aged performers. It tells the story of lion cub Simba, the son of the king, as he grows up and discovers his destiny.

The hour and 10 minute long musical is a middle school production, but students from East Union Intermediate Center were invited to participate. It will be the first performance in which middle-schoolers will be working with elementary students.

“We wanted to open the opportunity up for the elementary kids, kind of give them their first taste of theater and kind of an intro to what we do,” Derby said.

Lead roles include Morgan Adams as Simba, Julia Bonner as Nala, C.J. Everhart as young Simba, Marianna Vergerio as young Nala, Martina Saldamarco as Timon, Jake Toth as Pumbaa, and Christiana Wills as Rafiki.

Martina Saldamarco, 12, said playing Timon is fun.

“Timon’s really stupid and sassy. I’m a very sassy person, so I think it fits me,” she said.

C.J. Everhart, 12, said “The Lion King” is one of his favorite Disney movies.

“I wanted this role, so I went for it,” he said. “I think I’ll be able to bring leadership into the role. The only thing that surprised me was that I have a lot of lines.”

The students have been rehearsing since early September. Those who attend should expect to hear all of their favorite “Lion King” songs such as “Hakuna Matata,” “Circle of Life,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” and see bright costumes and a student designed set.

“They’re going to see 90 kids working to put on this timeless show. It’s one of the largest number of participants in any activity in the school,” Derby said.

Madasyn Lee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at [email protected], 724-226-4702 or via Twitter.

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