Photo Gallery: ACCS Drama Club preparing to wrap Lion King Jr. performance

Published 11:20 am Friday, May 12, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Parents and guests of all ages showed Adams County Christian School pride while also watching a pride — of lions, that is — at the debut of the Drama Club’s latest production, “The Lion King Jr.”

The show opened Saturday, May 6, and will have its final run this Saturday to wrap up the school year.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the 6 p.m. production at the ACCS gymnasium.

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“These students started in January learning about the principles of theater, and they spent the last 15 weeks rehearsing, building, and preparing for The Lion King Jr.,” said ACCS Drama Club Director, Malori Giannaris, adding she would love to “pack the house” for them to show off their hard work.

Tickets range from $10 for stadium seats to $25 for floor seats for best viewing.

They can be purchased in advance on the web store or at the door the night of the show.

Viewers will enjoy a breathtaking set put together while appreciating the talents of young performers, the youngest being 2 years old.

Baby Simba, played by Asher Freeman, introduces and wraps his character’s scene with one single line, “Roar!”

Others have a bit tougher role to play.

ACCS freshman Stella Wilson said she was excited to be cast in her first lead role as Rafiki, having previously played Mike TV’s mother in Willie Wonka Jr. But she has to open the show with an extremely difficult musical number, “Circle of Life” — in Swahili.

“I didn’t actually master it until about two weeks before the play,” she said. “I couldn’t even sing it. (Getting to learn the language) was easy, but it was hard getting my voice to hit the right range. … This is definitely the hardest part I’ve ever had to do.”

Clearly, Wilson is her own worst critic. The consensus among her audience is she nailed it.

“Confidence is key,” she said. “Nobody is up there with you to help you, so you have to learn how to push through and build that confidence. … Embrace the weirdness. … You don’t want to be like everyone else. You want to stand out.”

The production includes many powerful music numbers and carefully choreographed dances to go along with them, said 7th-grader Audrey Estus.

She plays multiple characters, including young Nala and a grasslands dancer, and said they had to learn at least 14 songs over three months of rehearsals.

“Normally, it takes longer,” she said. “I would like to have four or five months to rehearse but this year, we had one day per choreographed musical number to learn it and we just rehearsed it as many times as we could before opening night.”

Estus said she enjoys the culture of the show.

“Most shows take place from human perspectives, but this is animals portrayed by humans. It’s different than any other show I’ve ever heard of.”

Estus said she auditioned for the role of Zazu, a character that she says seemed to fit her personality as a teacher’s pet. That role went to Madison Walker, a 10th grader.

“It’s a fun character to play,” Walker said. “He kind of has sarcastic and spastic characteristics.”

Freshman Jacob Fleming enjoys the laid-back humor of his character, Banzai the hyena, he said.

“It’s a great show,” he said. “If you’re at home this weekend with nothing better to do, I think you should come out and have a good time.”