The Lion King: A Roaring Success!

Huge congratulations to all Junior girls for their four spectacular performances of The Lion King JR over two days last week!

The Lion King JR is a 60-Minute Version of Disney’s The Lion King but still conveys the story, the music and the legend of the Disney movie and full stage musical. It was a hugely ambitious undertaking, especially as there were two casts of Year 6 pupils playing the main roles, each taking on two performances.

The opening performance was for an audience of over 200 senior citizens on the whole school Citizenship Day and they, and subsequent audiences, were delighted and extremely impressed by confident performances –  sensitive and poignant by the protagonists and powerful and menacing by the antagonists … all peppered with wonderful comedic moments, beautiful voices and fantastic dance routines.

The cast was very excited to receive a personal good luck video message from George Asprey who plays Scar in the West End production. The video was shown at the opening of each show, setting the scene for a very appreciative audience.

The Lion King JR tells the story of the epic adventures of Simba the curious lion cub as he grows up knowing that he is destined to be King of the Pridelands. All the much-beloved characters were there: Simba’s love, Nala; his father, King Mufasa; his mother Queen Sarabi; wicked Uncle Scar; loveable friends the warthog Pumbaa and meerkat, Timon; charismatic shaman Rafiki; colourful red-billed hornbill, Zazu; three incredibly heinous hyenas plus an assortment of awe-inspiring animals of the African savannah.

All Junior pupils took part and, as Head of Juniors, Mrs Burrows, said: “It showcased the essence of Withington, with everyone working and performing together, from the grassland girls of Year 3, the animal dancers in Year 4 and the hyenas and wildebeest of Year 5, to the lead characters portrayed by Year 6. Well done indeed!”

The Lion King JR featured all the classic songs such as Hakuna Matata, Can You Feel the Love Tonight and The Circle of Life.

The play was produced and directed by Withington Junior School teaching staff with others from the wider school creating fantastic, colourful costumes and an evocative set. Senior School pupils were also very much involved assisting Senior School specialist staff with the wonderful lighting, sound and special effects as well as the amazing make-up.

Mrs Burrows said: “I would like to thank all the Junior Staff, the Junior girls’ parents and the staff from the Music, Drama, DT, Textiles and Art Departments who, together, made it all happen. Massive congratulations to them all for creating such a fantastic show and making it so special for the Junior girls.”

“The entire show was full of energy and emotion – heart-wrenching in some scenes and uproariously comical in others – fully expressing the sentiment of the show: that every creature is important in the circle of life.”

“It’s the Circle of Life

And it moves us all

Through despair and hope

Through faith and love

Till we find our place

On the path unwinding

In the Circle

The Circle of Life”

Pride is truly the word for this cast of Junior girls who gave their all at every performance, singing, dancing and acting so brilliantly, it was easy to forget this was a school production and not the West End. This cast really did achieve something extraordinary!