The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Michelle Bigelbach
The Courier 

"Hakuna Matata"

GMS Brings Lion King Jr. To Life


March 18, 2020

Michelle Bigelbach / The Courier

azu (played by Roman Fast), Young Simba (played by Adam Mickelson), Young Nala (Addison Jones) are surrounded by Shenzi (played by Brynn Donaldson) Banzai (played by Kolbi Ross) and Ed (played by Lacey White) during a scene of The Lion King Jr.

Glasgow Middle School students performed The Lion King Jr., to an exclusive audience of special guests during Golden Ticket night on March 12, followed by two performances during the weekend, March 13 and 14, at Glasgow High School. The cast was expected to perform on March 15, however as a result of the recent coronavirus outbreak, that performance was canceled. For the first time, audiences near and far had the opportunity to watch each live performance from the comfort of their homes through the Glasgow Middle School Facebook page.

The cast was comprised of 25 students, of which six were eighth-graders, seven were seventh-graders and 12 were sixth-graders. Eighth-grader Tanner White was the only student in the cast who has been in the play all three years under the direction of Maureen Leech. "He has really stepped up, making sure everyone stays in their position," explained Leech. Making the decision to be in the production his last year in middle school was an easy one for White. "I have always liked doing the plays," he stated.

Auditions for the play were Oct. 28 and 29, and after the cast was chosen, four practices were performed before Christmas break. After break however, the cast came up with motivation, grit and hard work to make sure the show would go on without a hitch. "They have been practicing every day since Christmas break, every day since December, and even taking time out of their recess, they have been practicing. This is the best cast ever," stated Leech. Assistant Director Lizzie Hoeksema shared the same sentiment telling the Courier, "The work these kids have put in outside of practice is more than any other cast I have seen!"

During the audition process, students had the opportunity to state their preference on character, but in the end Leech and Hoeksema evaluated the student's strengths and attitude to find the best fit of character. Seventh-grader Adam Mickelson, who played young Simba and was part of the ensemble in the second half of the play, performed in the play last year and had so much fun that he decided to try out again this year. Speaking to the Courier the night before the Golden Ticket performance, Mickelson stated he was nervous but confident. "Whenever I'm nervous, I think, it always comes together," he stated. Saryn Riddick, who played Mufasa and was part of the ensemble in the second half, wants to be an actor later in life. "I was in the play last year and it was really fun. I really like singing so wanted to be a part of it this year," she told the Courier.

The play was no easy feat for the middle-schoolers as in addition to learning their speaking parts, they had to learn choreography, and a different language. "Seven of the songs we sing are in Swahili. On top of everything else they have to learn, this is the hardest show I have ever done and the cast made it easier," stated Leech.

With set design by Will and Byrdie Larsen of Redbyrd Designs and head costumes made by Libby Weber's Middle School Exploratory Class, the students made the movie come to life on stage. Those who attended the Golden Ticket performance were astonished at the performance with multiple people in the audience stating, "We have a lot of talent in this community."

Cast Of Lion King Jr. 2020

Tanner White (Adult Simba and Ensemble),

Austin Cronmiller (Scar)

Chantaya Amundson (Hyena and ensemble)

Laci Godwin (Hyena and ensemble)

Livya Pedersen (Hyena and ensemble)

Madison Wood (Lioness and ensemble)

Avery Maki (Hyena and ensemble)

Mirax Lipscomb (Lioness and ensemble)

Jorden Mix (Rafiki and ensemble)

Saryn Riddick (Mufasa and ensemble)

Adam Mickelson (Young Simba and ensemble)

Gabriel Proctor (Pumbaa and ensemble)

Samantha Combs (Lioness and ensemble)

Emily Bell (Sarafina and ensemble)

Riley Clampitt (Sarabi and ensemble)

Michelle Bigelbach / The Courier

Scar (played by Austin Cronmiller) takes out Mufasa (played by Saryn Riddick) during the herd scene of The Lion King Jr.

Emily Cronmiller (Lioness and ensemble)

Brynn Donaldson (Shenzi and ensemble)

Roman Fast (Zazu and ensemble)

Jourdyn Fercho (Adult Nala and ensemble)

Addison Jones (Young Nala and ensemble)

Kolbi Ross (Banzai and ensemble)

Annika Smith (Timon and ensemble)

Ashlyn White (Hyena and ensemble)

Lacey White (Ed and ensemble)

Kyler Whitman (Hyena and ensemble)


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