Jesse Rines – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- The Mustang Players are currently performing “The Lion King, Jr” in the LRHS auditorium. This spring musical fostered a sense of nostalgia for LRHS students, bringing to life the classic motion picture that many students know by heart.

The play opened with the number “The Circle of Life.” It featured a beautiful performance by senior Melissa Moore as Rafiki and the ensemble cast that came together to start the play right. The first act continued strong, introducing us to iconic protagonists and supporting characters like Simba (fourth grader Ethan Hall), Mufasa (junior Ty Dearing),  Nala (fourth grader Emma Mandzik), and Zazu (sophomore Alex Kraus).

The audience was also introduced to the villains, Scar (sophomore John Todd Girman) and his hyenas (juniors Alex Rogalski and Marleigh Hall, sophomore McKenna Agnew). Notable performances included that of Hall in “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and Dearing in “They Live in You.” Both probed the audience’s emotions, creating an atmosphere that carried the show through to the finale.

The second act was just as strong. We are introduced to fan favorites Timon and Pumbaa, portrayed by sophomore Cayla Hill and senior Savanna Katter, respectively. The audience also met an older Simba, depicted by junior Spencer Waid, and Nala, depicted by senior Olivia LaFemina.

The second act was home to more show-stopping performances, including the fun, memorable number “Hakuna Matata” and tear-jerkers “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” and “He Lives in You,” inevitably wrapping in a joyous finale piece featuring not only the cast but the crew as well.

Junior Rachael Davis led the crew as stage manager, while junior Marissa Boback took on the role of student technical director. Also notable was the gorgeous artistry of the set, with props designed by scenic designers and painters.

The performance would be futile without the efforts of the crew to make it as beautiful and seamless as it appeared.

While week one of the performance is over, there’s still a chance for students, faculty, and other show-goers to catch it. The Lion King, Jr. will have performances at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16 and Saturday, Feb. 17 in the LRHS auditorium.

There is also a matinee performance at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. Each performance is special in its own right, so even if you visited the players last week, they urge you to come back for a second showing.

General seating tickets are $5 and donor seating is only $10 at the door.

Stay updated on important LRHS news and share what you like by following our Twitter @LRHSNews1, Instagram @mustangs_ahead, and Soundcloud @Mustangs Ahead Podcasts.