Dauphin Junior High School, in partnership with the Enterprise High School Drama Club, is preparing to raise the curtain on its newest show March 7-9.
“The Lion King Jr.” will open for four performances in the Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center, beginning March 7 at 7 p.m. Performances will be held at 7 p.m. on March 8-9 with a special matinee at 1 p.m. that Saturday; the matinee performance will feature photo opportunities with the cast onstage following the show’s run. Tickets will cost $10 per person and can be purchased at the door.
According to Theatre Arts instructor Veronica Stephenson, this year’s show is special as it is the first full collaboration between the two school theatre groups.
“This is the most fun I have had working on a show. The Dauphin students have been so easy to work with and are so excited about this special opportunity to participate in theatre,” Stephenson said. “Although we worked with them on their first show last year (Dorothy in Wonderland) and we always go into elementary schools to perform or help in the community anytime we are asked, this is the first total collaboration between the EHS Theatre Department and another school in our system. My students and I have devoted our free time and look forward to seeing these junior high students shine on stage next week.”
Stephenson said that despite the word “junior” in the title, performing and producing “The Lion King Jr.” has been no easy task; however, the students have risen to the challenge.
“Junior versions of shows allow younger performers a chance to experience the same caliber of theatre as older performers enjoy; all the primary songs and scenes are included and the staging is simplified but audiences will not be disappointed by the fact it is a junior version,” Stephenson said. “The junior high students have been working on songs and lines since October. Many of the lyrics are in a different language, so that has been the biggest challenge. It is a challenge these students accepted and exceeded expectation. They started limited rehearsals in their weekly flex block then we gradually added after school rehearsals until January when we started rehearsing three days a week after school.”
Students are also responsible for constructing the costumes, props, and set pieces for the show, which Stephenson said really helps bring the magic of the show to life.
“Several weeks ago, my technical theatre students began the arduous task of creating all the costumes, props, and set pieces you will see on stage,” Stephenson said. “Some of those students spend hours with me on the weekend building and painting. In technical theatre, we often describe what we do to others by using the iceberg analogy. The audience really only sees the tip. All that happens before the curtain is what makes that theatre magic look so easy on stage.”
Stephenson encouraged the community to come out and support her students’ talent and hard work, as they have done every bit of that hard work of their own volition.
“The students who are part of this show have done all of this in addition to their daily school work,” Stephenson said. “This is not a class. They have not had days of rehearsal on the stage where they will perform--only a few hours. There is no theatre budget. Students in our elementary and junior high schools are in need of more opportunities like this. I would love for the whole community to come support these students. My hope is that the community will see the benefit that this collaboration has on these students then look for ways to help make theatre arts more accessible to more of our students.”