Carver Middleton showcases some of the hair and makeup techniques used to create his character, the lovable warthog Pumbaa, which means to be foolish, silly, weakminded, careless, negligent in Swahili. Photos submitted

Smash hit musical coming to life in Bashaw

Junior high students to present intense production of Lion King: The Musical

The next musical to hit a Bashaw stage is one that’s been in the queue for a long time.

Bashaw School’s junior high drama students will be performing Lion King: The Musical next month at the Bashaw United Church. It’s a dramatic theatrical presentation that drama teacher Lori Miller has been hoping to bring out of storage and dust off for a while.

“I’ve been waiting for the right group of kids to come along. When deciding on a play, you have to look at the kids and the possibility of who may be the lead actors and what the strengths of everyone are,” Miller said.

“With this group, we have some very strong characters, those whose strength are their voices and everyone has that great energy plus they all seem to work well together.

“Ironically, doing it right now is such good timing as the live-action remake is set to come out later this year.”

This particular musical is especially intensive, with heavy emphasis on complex makeup and costumes plus intricate set designs, all of which means a larger than usual cast and backstage personnel is needed.

“This one works for the group of students we have, as its size literally eliminated some plays from consideration,” she said.

“Some years you need a strong lead and cast, while others need more behind the scenes. This year we need both sides to be strong and I love that a lot of our students have been involved in drama for many years.”

Having that experience available, on and off the stage, has allowed Miller to step back somewhat and let the students take more of a lead.

“A lot of the choreography and movements are student-led, as we have so many boldly creative cast members. Having these students giving so much of themselves, it makes things easier to let them loose with that creativity,” Miller said.

“I’m simply directing in a different way, trusting the students and their contributions to generate a beautiful product. It certainly gives me joy to watch.”

Work on the musical began way back in the middle of September, with the cast being selected and then getting right to work on choreography as well as other aspects of set and costume design.

“We started working on scenes and piecing things together as we really only had two hours each week with the students,” Miller added.

“That’s not a lot of time so it’s why we began earlier than usual. And the students have been really amazing, coming in for two full day workshops on weekends focusing on doing the complicated makeup on their own plus the other preparations they have been doing.”

Tickets (adults $10, students $5) for the four performances — June 7 at 7 p.m.; June 8 at 2 and 7 p.m.; June 9 at 2 p.m. — are going extremely fast, but can still be obtained by calling the school at (780) 372-3800.

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Adam Healing has some interesting makeup to go with the flighty costume for his character the red-billed hornbill bird named Zazu, who is more than a bit uptight.

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