Hard Road Theatre and Bradford National Bank will present “Disney’s The Lion King Jr.” this weekend in the Highland Elementary School auditorium, 1800 Lindenthal Avenue in Highland.
Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday, June 22; Friday, June 23; and Saturday, June 24. There will be a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, June 25. Advance tickets are $9 for students and seniors and $10 for regular adult admission.
Directed by Gentry Fifer, “Disney’s The Lion King Jr.” is an adaptation of the famous Disney animated film from 1994 created especially for the strengths and skill level of middle school students.
In the show, 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. Time passes and Young Simba grows into a curious young lion. Mufasa explains the circle of life and that Young Simba will one day be king of the Pridelands. Young Simba shares this news with Scar, who encourages his nephew to visit the forbidden Elephant Graveyard.
Young Simba finds his best friend, young Nala, hunting with Sarafina and the lionesses and invites her on his adventure. Once they ditch their overbearing babysitter, Zazu, the cubs encounter the ravenous Shenzi, Banzai and Ed in the graveyard. Mufasa arrives and pummels the hyenas then takes the cubs home. Scar emerges from the darkness to recruit the hyenas in his murderous plan to become king. Back in the Pridelands, Mufasa reprimands young Simba then shares the guidance of their ancestors, up among the stars.
Enacting his plan, Scar leaves young Simba alone in the gorge and signals the hyenas to scare a herd of wildebeest. Scar alerts Mufasa, who leaps into the stampede to save his son. Mufasa rescues young Simba, but Scar pushes his brother back into the gorge, where he is trampled. Scar blames young Simba for the king’s death and tells him to run away and never return. As Sarabi, young Nala, Rafiki and the lionesses mourn the loss of Mufasa and young Simba, Scar assumes the throne, uniting lions and hyenas under his dark reign. Lost in the desert, young Simba meets Timon and Pumbaa, who take him to their “worry-free” jungle home (“Hakuna Matata”).
Under Scar’s reign, the Pridelands are nearly destroyed. Now grown, Nala decides to leave and seek help. To her delight, she finds Simba alive in the jungle. Nala urges him to take his rightful place as king but, still ashamed, Simba refuses. Rafiki appears and helps Simba remember his father. With newfound courage, Simba agrees to return to the Pridelands. Timon and Pumbaa distract the hyenas while Nala rallies the lionesses. Simba confronts his uncle, the truth of Mufasa’s murder is revealed and Scar runs away, pursued by angry hyenas. With peace restored in the Pridelands, Simba takes his place as king and the circle of life continues.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit hardroad.org.
Mtoa: Julia English
Rafiki: Anna Bruss
Young Simba: Noah Macam
Simba: Dakota Driemeyer
Young Nala: Madison Autry
Nala: Katie Schwarz
Mufasa: Julia Graham
Sarabi: Julia McPhillips
Zazu: Talon Vrell
Sarafina: Fayth Whicker
Scar: Spencer Powers
Banzai: Brandon Eye
Shenzi: Julia Beil
Ed: Caleb Stratton
Timon: Autumn Meyer
Pumbaa: Patrick Boulanger
lionesses: Haylie Gombos, Carleigh Robinson, Mikayla Smith and Londyn Celuch
Lion Cubs: Emma Gualandi and Wilson Boulanger
Ostrich: Justina Thomae
hyenas: Amara Vrell, Eliza Keth, Brooke Rheaume and Roxy Daugherty
Gazelles: Morgan Macam, Haleigh Perry and Mya Thomilson
Mouse: Mae Rose Taylor
Giraffes: Madyson Whicker, Lily Niebrugge and Gracie Powers
Zebras: Sophia Rogier, Ryann Krotz, Jayden Blackwell, Natalie Goggin and Macey Golder
Elephants: Brandon Adolph and Addyson Goodwin
Birds: Katherine Empson, Kendal Devlin, Emma Hook and Bethany Williamson
Cheetahs: Joshua Knobloch, Caleb Knobloch, and Christian Knobloch
Hippos: Lizzy Rheaume, Hunter Gombos and Samuel Kukowski