The Lion King JR. Takes the Stage At Wagner Ranch Elementary

(Stella Kim, Photographer)
The cast of Wagner Ranch’s production of The Lion King JR. at rehearsal. The musical runs March 24-25 with four shows performed by a cast of 50 actors and technical crew.

    This March, Wagner Ranch Elementary School in Orinda will bring Disney’s musical The Lion King JR. to the live stage. The timeless Lion King experience will be performed by fourth and fifth grade students. The play will run from March 24 – 25 with a total of four shows performed by a cast of over 50 actors and technical crew.
    The Lion King JR. is a stage adaptation of the Academy Award-winning 1994 Disney film The Lion King, one of the longest running shows on Broadway. This 60-minute musical designed for children’s theaters features many hits including Circle of Life, Hakuna Matata, and the award-winning Can You Feel The Love Tonight written by Elton John. “Memorable moments are guaranteed with solo performances. The harmonic voices in our ensemble will enhance the drama of the story,” said the Executive Director of the play, Justine Cole.
    The musical follows the lion, Simba, on his epic, coming-of-age journey from frisky cub to leader of the Pridelands. Tailored to an audience of all ages, this funny and touching expedition through a jungle inhabited by a diverse cast of characters including Simba’s father (Mufasa), the villainous uncle (Scar), the courageous lioness (Nala), the hilarious friends (Timon and Pumba), the inspirational Mandril (Rafiki), the savage trio of Hyenas (Shenzi, Banzai, Ed) and other colorful personalities.
     “The story is a reminder to live life to the fullest with love and integrity. By the end of the show, the audience will rediscover the message that life continues to go on, no matter what,” added Cole. “After the last six months of the process, the production is well underway and our young performers have been working very hard. We emphasize that each role is an important piece of the puzzle.”
    Since the very first audition, the excitement has grown and spread fast within the school. “It’s amazing to see how much energy and hard work the kids are putting into the play,” said the Principal, Dr. Shirley Clem. “This is such an incredible opportunity for our kids to shine in the arts and to stretch themselves individually. We hope our community can share and experience this special performance 
    Tickets are available online at or at the door of Wagner Ranch multipurpose room before the shows. This year The Lion King JR. at Wagner Ranch will be directed and produced by Joy in Motion (

Stella Kim can be reached at

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