WEST ORANGE, NJ - A charming version of the "Lion King Jr." will be presented at Edison Middle School (26 William Street) on May 10 and May 11, beginning at 7 p.m.

The budding thespians have been hard at work for the past several months bringing the well-known story of Simba, the lion cub that learns how to be king, to life. Several strong and comic performances highlight the musical, which features all the beloved music by Elton John and Tim Rice, including "Circle of Life," "I Just Can't Wait to be King" and "Hakuna Matata."

Kaitlyn Hahn stars as Young Simba, hitting all the right notes in her portrayal of the young, impressionable cub. Richard Arjoon solos on "They Live in You" as Simba’s father, Mufasa, before he loses his own life while saving his son's.

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Araya Sickles projects a confident air of wisdom and understanding as Rafiki, while Ethan Syzmanski's villainous Scar is decidedly creepy and mean. Laila Fowlkes and Free Dixon play Timon and Pumbaa, who bring comic relief and camaraderie to the production. Hyena leader Trey Atterberry’s comical approach to his character will also bring some chuckles.

A strong supporting cast and ensemble (listed below) tackle the choreography and melodic harmonies with ease, making the audience wonder if this is actually a middle school play.

Directed by teacher Molly Eisen, the cast is supported by a strong stage crew and band teacher Joe Romano and voice teacher Bonnie Pomeroy, who assist with sound and lighting.

Tickets are $5 at the door each night of the performance.

The above photos are courtesy of Cynthia Cumming, communications director for West Orange Schools. 

"Lion King Jr." Cast and Crew:

Rafiki………………………………………………………..Araya Sickles

Mufasa……………………………………………………...Richard Arjoon

Sarabi……………………………………………………....Shayla Mathurin

Zazu………....……………………………………………..Jaime Dolegowski

Scar………………………………………………………...Ethan Szymanski

Young Simba……………………………………………....Kaitlyn Hahn

Simba………………………………………………..…......Sundiata Cooper-Caraballo

Young Nala…………………………………………..…….Milexy Santana

Nala………………………………………………………....Emily Benton

Sarafina…………………………………………………….Satiana Alvarez

Banzai……………………………………………………....Erick Suazo

Shenzi……………………………………………………....Sabrina Lewis

Ed……………………………………………………………Augustine Korlie

Timon……………………………….……………………….Laila Fowlkes

Pumbaa…………………………………………………….....Free Dixon

 

Lionesses

Makayla Arjoon

Julia Chichioco

Cleopatra Curis

Hayley Goldberg

Arden Greer

Willa Kass

Taylor Shimek

 

Singing Ensemble

Ava Bowman

Samia Bruno

Olivia Camacho

Miranda Elmera

Kyley Gary-Grayson

Abby Heffner

Carlo Henriquez

Charlotte Keefe

Elizabeth King

Mary Kouadio

Alondra Martinez

Alexa Nieves

Lucia Pereira

Sofia Pereira

Lia Perez

 

Dance Ensemble

Jessica Chiaramonte

Delimarie Elizondo

Ryanne Hudson

Karla Panchame

Mia Peretz  

 

Hyenas

Hanna Amoyaw

Trey Atterberry

Simone Dalencourt

Mason Insana

JayBari Johnson

Steven Mulvihill

 

Stage Managers

Breanna Cordero

Annika Ginocchio

Ellie Kukes

Freia Schwander

 

Crew Members

Andrea Charalambous

Zoe Griola

Charlotte Lipschutz

Sahli Negassi