WINFIELD — On Wednesday, May 10, for the first time in front of an audience, a cast and crew of over 50 will perform, Disney's The Lion King Jr. The production will be the 50th for Self Express Productions of Winfield and features kids from Hamilton, Fayette, Guin, Brilliant, Winfield and other surrounding areas. For director and choreographer Casey Kauffman, it has been a whirlwind six weeks of rehearsals that began with the largest auditions the theatre has held.
"I haven't auditioned that many people in one day since I lived in New York," she noted after the first night.
The cast ranges in age from 7 to 18, students who have found the time and the drive to finish the school year well, participate in sports, band and dance, while memorizing lines and choreography. For some this will be their first stage experience in an all kids production and for others preparing to graduate, their last.
Izzy Stewart, a senior at Winfield reflects, "As my time in high school comes to an end, I could not be more proud and thankful to be a part of such an amazing organization and family. Over the past four years, theater has become such a huge part of my life, and the experiences and memories from it will be with me forever. From the moment we first rehearsed for Lion King, I knew it would become my favorite show. The story and music is so beautiful, and I am so proud to be with this hardworking cast. I am so glad I get to end my senior year doing what I love with the people I love!"
The cast's hard work is matched by the dedication of the staff and volunteers of the non-profit community theater, who have provided costumes, sets, props and even snacks. The equally talented parents hand crafted the magnificent lion masks featured in the show under the direction of Kara Williamson of Winfield. Her daughter, Wren, plays Sarabi, mother of Simba, who is played by Grayson Webb. Even the kids have had a hand in painting sets and beading costumes.
With a cast so large, the performers will split some roles over 10 shows. The public shows begin with pay-what-you-can on Wednesday, May 10, and continue until May 14. Tickets are $5 for students/children and $15 for adults and can be purchased at self-express-productions-inc.ticketleap.com.
On May 10 and May 12 at 7 p.m., as well as May 14 at 2 p.m., the performers and parts will be: Kalee - Rafaki; Corbin - Mufasa; Macy - Young Nala; Walker - Young Simba; Izzy - Nala; Makayla - Shenzi; Lucas N.- Banzai; Parker - Ed; Eli - Zazu; and Kilee - Timon.
On May 11 and May 13 at 7 p.m. the performers and parts will be: Kaylie - Rafaki; Brody - Mufasa; Laura Leigh - Young Nala; Kacin - Young Simba; Kimber - Nala; Kylie - Shenzi; Gage - Banzai; Camp - Ed; Karley - Zazu; and Kai - Timon.
See complete story in the Journal Record.