‘Lion King Jr.’ roars into Breck on Friday | SummitDaily.com

‘Lion King Jr.’ roars into Breck on Friday

A silver screen smash hit released in movie theaters in 1994, the epic story of the curious lion cub Simba opens Friday night as a student-led musical at Breckenridge Backstage Theatre.

Roughly an hour and 10 minutes, "The Lion King Jr." will feature five performances in three days and closes out its run with a show at 6 p.m. Sunday. It's a couple more shows than they've done for similar student-focused plays in the past, but stage director Christopher Willard said ticket demand warranted the additions for the student-based theatrical enrichment program.

The production was designed for performers up to ninth grade and is based on the Broadway production with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice.

That means songs made famous by the animated movie — such as "Hakuna Matata" and the Academy Award-winning "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" — will be performed by the 68-member cast and crew, who have studied under the direction of last year's creative team behind "The Little Mermaid Jr."

Those team members include Abbey Austin on choreography, Lenore Giardina handling music direction and Willard. Boosting the production considerably, Willard said, are Beth Fisk and Crystal Goossen, who have provided the eye-popping costumes that Willard believes won't go unnoticed.

"The Lion King Jr." largely follows the same storyline as the Disney movie. It's a coming-of-age story for the overly curious cub Simba as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destiny to become king.

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Along the way, the young lion encounters a colorful cast of characters, including the spunky lioness Nala, charismatic meerkat Timon and lovable warthog Pumbaa. To claim his rightful place on the throne, Simba will have to find his inner strength and confront his wicked uncle Scar.

For anyone who buys tickets, Willard believes they are buying a chance to "see 68 local Summit County students putting on a show of their lives."

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children. They are available by calling 970-485-2164, stopping by the Riverwalk Center box office, online at BackStageTheatre.org, or in person on the day of the event.

All performances will be at the Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge.

Additionally, the April 30 show is a special "Sequins on Safari" fundraiser to support the various children's theater programming put on by Breckenridge Backstage Theatre, including the recent all-youth production of "School of Rock," the children's theater summer productions and year-round KidsPlay workshops.

If you go

What: Lion King Jr.

When: 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Satuday, and 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Avenue, Breckenridge

Info: Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children. They available by calling 970-485-2164, stopping by the Riverwalk Center box office, online at BackStageTheatre.org, or in person on day of event.

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