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All-girl cast takes stage in Deer Creek School's 'Lion King' production

July 17, 2008

It’s a jungle in the Deer Creek Intermediate School little theater, 3680 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

Monkeys are perched in a tree and elephants, giraffes and lions roam the horizon of the stage.

After nearly five weeks of rehearsing, drama students are ready to get wild for their 2008 production, “The Lion King.”

Behind the scenes, Melissa Zeman and Geri Koss, the directors, have just finished spray-painting one of the many props — a brown log with several colorful bugs crawling on it.

Drama is among several summer courses offered by the St. Francis School District. The production will feature an all-female cast of actors between the ages of 8 and 14 years, Zeman said.

For the most part, the events in the play will resemble the movie, drama students say.

“I try really hard to get it as close to the movie as possible,” said Lauren Armbruster, who plays the part of Pumbaa, a comical wild boar who befriends Simba. This fall Lauren will be a freshman at St. Thomas More High School.

Mackenzie Smith, a to-be eighth grader, said she’s been busy memorizing her lines and mastering the voice of Simba, the character she plays. Simba is the young lion cub who eventually becomes king.

The drama class has been in session since June 16, and the students have been working to put on a flawless performance, Lauren said.

All in all, it has been a great experience, students say.

If it wasn’t for the drama class, Lauren said she would likely not be doing much this summer, except maybe watching her younger brother. Instead, she is meeting new people and making friends, Lauren said.

“There are times when you have to be serious, but this is a lot of fun,” she said.

Lydia Bestul, an incoming eighth-grader, who plays the part of Mufasa, Simba’s father, said it takes teamwork to make the play successful.

“But it’s a lot of fun and very worth it,” she said.

In addition to acting together, the students have been designing the costumes and props. Lydia’s aunt is making her costume for Mufasa, which is close to completion, she said.

Zeman said she, Koss, parents and students all help with the costumes.

“Everyone pitches in to make this a success,” she said.

The Tuesday and Wednesday, July 22 and 23, performances are open to the public.

Lydia said those who are able to come will be able to watch an amusing play complete with a talented cast and colorful scenery.

“We’re hoping to energize our audience,” Zeman said.

Chantel Balzell can be reached at (262) 446-6602.

At a Glance

WHAT: students will be performing “The Lion King”

WHEN: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 22, and 11:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 23

WHERE: Deer Creek Intermediate School little theater, 3680 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

COST: $2 donation at the door

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