NLT presents Disney’s ‘The Lion King’

Published 12:01 am Thursday, June 21, 2018

Natchez Little Theatre located at 319 Linton Avenue at Maple Street in historic Natchez proudly presents in cooperation with NLT’s 2018 Summer Youth Workshop the Award-Winning Disney Musical, “The Lion King” June 28-July 1.

Based on the award-winning film and current Broadway hit, “The Lion King” and has become one of the most successful stage musicals of all time.

This musical play conceived and originally directed by Julie Taymor; written by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi; with music and lyrics by Elton John, Tim Rice, Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and adapted by Ken Cerniglia and Will Van Dyke, is the story of all of us.

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It is a story of hope, renewal, second chances, love reunited, responsibilities fulfilled, and above all loyalty. Featuring the beloved characters of Mufasa played by musical director, Terrence Robinson; Simba portrayed by Zaide Paine and Xavian Lewis; Nala performed by Lizzie Fife and Choreographer Sydney Eidt; Rafiki by NLT newcomer Natalie Ainsworth; Pumbaa by NLT veteran Morgan Baskin; Timon by Anabella Laird; Shenzi by Jyrah Griffin; Banzai by Arrocus Baskin; Ed by Vincent White; Zazu by Parker Claire Maxwell; Sarabi by Alexes Denton; Sarafina by Addison Laird and Julia Richardson; and the villain, Scar by Samuel Ferguson in his NLT debut.

The story unfolds with some of the most beautiful and meaningful music and songs such as “The Circle of Life,” “They Live in You,” “Hakuna Matata,” “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and extraordinary choreography performed by an incredibly talented ensemble of actors, singers and dancers: Cody Bonds, Quin Branton, Tatum Brumfield, Jane Carby, Taylor Ferguson, Amelie Harris, Annie Hickman, Patty Jo Hickman, Dr. Shirani Hickman, Lynlee Claire Kingsafer, Lillian Lewis, Sally Hudson Linton, Tyler Merriett, Trent Robinson, Helen Smith, Cecille Soler, Gianna Tuccio, Maggie Waddill, Maggie Waddill and Zoe Zucarro.

Rafiki gathers the animals of the Pridelands to welcome the newborn cub of King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi. The king’s jealous brother Scar, no longer heir to the throne, skips the ceremony, upsetting Mufasa. Young Simba grows into a curious young lion and gets into lots of adventures and dangerous situations with his friend Young Nala, to the exasperation of his babysitter, Zazu. The cubs encounter dangerous hyenas: Shenzi, Banzai and Ed only to be saved by Mufasa at the last second. Scar recruits the hyenas in his murderous plans to become king.

As Simba grows he encounters two unlikely friends, Timon and Pumbaa where with Nala they return to the Pridelands to help Simba to take his rightful place as King and continues the circle of life.

I am the proud director of this incredible production. Don Vesterse created the sets. Sydney Eidt will create the African inspired Tribal make-up with help from the cast and their families and the costumes also inspired by a variety of African tribes are being created by the parents of the cast. This production has been a true collaboration of our community.  Everything we have worked tirelessly for here at NLT.

Performances are on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm June 28 – 30, with the final Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on July 1. Tickets have been selling since December 2017, when they went on sale and are $20 each for non-members/sponsors of NLT.  Reservations are highly recommended to those advance ticket sales, which include buses.  Even NLT Members and Sponsors need to reserve their seats to ensure seats are available.  Call NLT at 601-442-2233 or guarantee your reservations by purchasing them securely online at

Natchez Little Theatre is the oldest community theatre in Mississippi and a charitable non-profit organization that has been nationally recognized for the diversity of our theatre and the excellent quality of our challenging productions.  NLT is proud to represent our community as a permanent exhibit at the new Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Experience (the MAX) Museum that has just opened in Meridian.

If you have never attended a production at NLT or haven’t been in a while, we hope you will take this opportunity to come see this family musical production and see why so many out of town guests come to Natchez throughout the year to see our productions and you’ll be supporting local performing artists.

Hope to see you at Disney’s musical “The Lion King.”

Layne Taylor is NLT artistic director and director of “The Lion King.”