by Jennie Oemig
CHELMSFORD – The African savannah will come to life on the stage in Chelmsford as McCarthy Middle School’s Drama Club presents “The Lion King Jr.”
An inspiring coming-of-age tale, “The Lion King Jr.” tells the story of the epic adventures of a curious cub named Simba as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destiny as king.
Along the way, the young lion encounters a colorful cast of characters including spunky lioness Nala, charismatic meerkat Timon, and loveable warthog Pumbaa.
To claim his rightful place on the throne and save his beloved Pridelands, Simba must find his inner strength and confront his wicked Uncle Scar.
“The Lion King Jr.” features classic songs from the 1994 film such as “Hakuna Matata” and the Academy Award-winning “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” as well as additional songs penned for the Broadway production.
The cast features Lars Skoog as Adult Simba, Olivia Ciardi as Adult Nala, Emma Marino as Young Simba, Navya Giduthuri as Young Nala, Kat Benecchi as Scar, Henry Brennan as Mufasa, Charis Chinamasa as Pumbaa, Reva Pendharkar as Timon, Lynette Grab as Raifiki, Riya Sarode as Zazu, Dylan Bue as Banzai, Neel Shroff as Ed, Aditi Yadav as Shenzi, Grace Connolly as Sarafina and Diya Karthik as Sarabi.
The main characters are supported by an outstanding ensemble cast.
Helping out behind the scenes are Technical Director Ivy Mayer; Stage Manager Yasmine Raji; Stage Director Tyler Gentry; Assistant Stage Director Bex Rogers; Co-Choreographers Lindsay Monke and Siobhan Frugoli; Assistant Choreographer Arianna Parks; Costume Designer Ulrika Skoog; Hair and Makeup Designer Cailin Deutschmann; Assistant Hair and Makeup Designer Maya Belmonte; Lighting Designer Nathan Hay; Assistant Lighting Designer Kate Evans; Head of Audio Nathan Crawford; Assistant Head of Audio Sydney Tambo; Assistant Stage Managers Stella Bonner and Shaylah Russell; Prop Masters Charlotte Seeger and Emma Fries; Mic Assistants West and Ava Oxier; and Art Directors Claire Bardo, Hailey Blanchet, Rithvika Varma, Ella Zawaski, Amelia Krolewicz, Genna Fenders and Ella Moses.
“The Lion King Jr.” will be Director Jodi Richardson’s 19th show, and her 10th at McCarthy Middle School.
If You Go
What: “Lion King Jr.” presented by McCarthy Drama Club
When: Friday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 3, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Where: McCarthy Middle School Auditorium, 250 North Road, Chelmsford
Tickets: $10 at https://www.onthestage.tickets/show/mccarthy-drama-club.
Run time: 90 minutes