by Brittan Pyron
A local school has spent the past few months preparing for a major theatrical production. Last week, East Elementary School students performed their own production of the Lion King in the newly renovated junior high auditorium. Emily Burleson directed the play.
This was the first large event to be held in the auditorium since its renovation. Forty-five children from second grade to sixth grade participated in the play. For some, this was their first play. However, some have been performing for the past five years.
The children began practicing their lines and choreography in February under the direction of Jordan Fondren. They also performed nine different musical numbers directed by Stephen Watson.
The songs performed included “One by One”, “Circle of Life”, “I Just Can’t Wait to be King”, “Be Prepared”, “Hakuna Matata”, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, “He Lives in You”, “Luau Hawaiian Treat”, and they also had a finale.
The cast members were Carson Hamm as Young Simba, Kenderick Taylor as Simba, Anari Thomas as Young Nala, Adriana Zarate as Nala, Clinton Johnson as Timon, Aaron Hernandez as Pumbaa, Sarah Lay as Scar, Mariah Warren, Aniyah Warren, Aiyanah Rice, Nekyah Champion, and Keiyalah Jennings as the Rafikis, Branzon Nunn as Zazu, Keilan Melton as Mufasa, Dalandrea Jones as Sarabi, Carter Washington as Shenzi, Promise Porter as Banzai, and Kayden Kellow as Ed.
A music ensemble made up of 27 students sang off-stage on the corner stairs. The ensemble consisted of Matthew Brown, KeMariah Bryson, Corderous Bryson, Aleila Coplin, Brianna Dance, India Ellison, Nolan Graves, Daniel Hipilito, Serenity Hunt, Keyianu Jennings, Nadia Jones, Martravion Maclin, Anabel Martinez, Ainslee Nilsson, Kingsley Nilsson, Annabella Perry, Clementine Pettit, Jaxon Reynolds, Lily Rickman, Charyle Roe, Lynsie Spegal, Lauryn Thomas, Arianna Wedley, Charlee Westbrook, Brayden Williamson, Mackenzie Wray and Morgan Wynne.
Jacquelyn Blackmon and Gene Reeves designed the sets. The costumes were designed and made by parents, Paula Owens, Jordan Fondren and Emily Burleson. Milan Middle School and Pleasant Grove H.S. also assisted with the costumes.
East’s children gave three wonderful performances and those in the audience could tell that they put a lot of time, hard work and effort into it.