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By Marni Walsh
The Lion King Jr. roars into Shelburne this weekend and it is a theatrical experience you do not want to miss.
It is unlikely audiences have seen this kind of artistic effort by community players on Grace Tipling Stage…ever.
The costumes and choreography are stunning and the whole look of the show is a phenomenal achievement for this young company.
LP Stage Productions, led by co-producers Dale Lundy and Alison Port, along with Kristen and Danielle Gamache, have gained a reputation in recent years for their bold choices - staging some of Broadway's best musicals with local talent.
They have outdone themselves this time – The Lion King is a big, big show. The company has a large cast of kids and only a handful of talented artists to bring the African savannah to Grace Tipling Stage in a way you could not imagine possible.
“Rather than having the kids being animals, we are representing Africa as a whole,” says Ms. Port. “It's difficult for the actors though, because we are asking that they move and act like animals, but yet not be animals. Plus, they have all had to get used to wearing the masks and using the puppets. It is the toughest show we have done.”
Eleven foot tall giraffes, played by young actors on stilts have been trained by co-producer Dale Lundy. The kids have been conditioning every rehearsal and seem to move about the stage with complete grace and confidence. The effect is stunning.
And yes…there is an elephant on stage…that really looks like an elephant!
The director says the masks and puppets are “definitely a big highlight” for the audience. Artists for the show include: “Christian Miranda, who created Timon and Pumbaa; Jason Riedel who created the lead masks and hyenas; Dale Lundy created Zazu, zebras, cheetah, and much more; Andrew James created the ensemble hyena masks and the wildebeests.
The Lion King Jr. follows the story of a young lion prince and focuses on Simba's journey to adulthood following the tragic death of his father, Mufasa.
The young lion prince, portrayed by Cameron Glenday, ultimately embraces his destiny to be King and saves his tribe with the help of small band of colourful characters, including the comical team of a warthog and a meerkat named Pumba, played by Brody Ireton and Timon played by Ryan Hull; a noisy hornbill named Zazu portrayed by Savannah Da Silva; and Simba's childhood love, a beautiful lioness named Nala played by Willow Cherewaty.
Catching a bit of the dress rehearsal on Tuesday night, the show is a feast for the eyes, filled with one spectacular costume after another, fantastic choreography by Kristen Gamache, wonderful sets and lighting effects by Dale Lundy and his team, and excellent singing and acting by the more than 50 kids on the stage.
Especially impressive so far: teen performer Savannah Da Silva, as one of the central characters Zazu - a brilliant hornbill and advisor to Mufasa the King; she does an outstanding job of acting and bringing focus to her scenes - all the while working her puppet at the same time.
She sets the bar and is just the beginning of what will prove to be a very strong cast of very well-rehearsed young performers.
Make sure to see and support the artistry on stage at Grace Tipling Hall and come to see The Lion King Jr., opening this Saturday, April 22, at the Town Hall at Main and Victoria Street. Show times and dates: 8 pm evening shows, April 22 and 29 with 2 pm matinee shows April 22, 23, 29, and 30.
Tickets: Adults $15/ Students and Seniors $12 - on sale through Eventbrite or call the Shelburne Town Hall @ 519-925-2600 Ext. 0.
Post date: 2017-04-25 00:19:19
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