Good will battle against evil in Xtreme Theatre’s production of Disney’s The Lion King Jr.
The story takes place in the African savanna, where Rafiki and the animals of the Pridelands welcome King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi’s newborn cub, Simba.
But Simba’s evil Uncle Scar, who is jealous that he is no longer heir to the throne, recruits the hyenas into a murderous plan to make himself King.
Once Scar takes the kingdom from Mufasa, the eco-system becomes imbalanced and Simba, now a full-grown lion, returns home to fight for his rightful place on the throne.
The production is taken directly from the Disney version and will include all of the popular songs, including Hakuna Matata, Circle of Life and Can You Feel The Love Tonight.
However, ideas for the sets and costumes have come from the Broadway production.
The masks of the lions and lionesses are moulded out of plastic and sit atop the actor’s foreheads, and Pride Rock will be an actual rock on the stage that the actor’s can climb.
This year, for the group’s 17th season, the children have been learning three-part harmonies.
“It was a challenge, but it’s been really good for them,” said producer Wendy Holm.
“I said to the kids, ‘You’re not all natural actors, you’re not all natural dancers, but we have some natural singers.’ So, we’re going to use our talents to work together,” she said.
“The whole idea is everybody working together with the gifts that they have,” added Holm.
Since rehearsals started in September, they have had a teacher coming in from North Vancouver once a week to work on harmonies, and a choreographer has been teaching the actors how lions and hyenas move.
“The choreography is not like Grease, it’s like African movements,” said Holm, explaining that they made the movements of the dances thematic to the show.
Xtreme Theatre is a group for home-schooled children to learn about being a part of a musical theatre production.
No experience is necessary to join.
It is run by volunteers, who build the sets, make the costumes and props, advertise and make the programs.
Current enrollment is over 130 children between the ages of five and 17.
“We challenge them to aim high and to reach those high goals and to work together as a team and to bring a fabulous show,” said Holm.
The opening night for The Lion King Jr. is April 20 at 7 p.m. at The ACT, 11944 Haney Place, Maple Ridge. Opening night tickets are $12 each.
The musical runs April 21 to 23 at 7 p.m. with one matinee at 2 p.m. on the April 23. Tickets for these shows are $15 each.
• For more information, call 604-476-2787 or go to www.theactmapleridge.org