Last weekend for the Rose Children’s Theatre production of “Disney’s Lion King JR”

By Randi Bjornstad

The news that there will be a new animated version of Disney’s original “Lion King” animated movie comes just as the Rose Children’s Theatre finishes up its own musical theater production of the same show on Nov. 3-5 at the Wildish Community Theater in downtown Springfield.

The announcement about the new Disney movie  — which won’t be released until 2019 — also revealed that Beyoncé will be the voice of Nala, played in the local production by Maren Nixon. Other famous voices in the new movie include James Earl Jones as Mufasa, the role taken on locally by Isaac Lonergan, and Donald Glover as Scar, handled here by Brennan Connolly. The voice of Disney’s new Simba will Donald Glover, who is played in the Rose Children’s Theatre show by Miles Griffith.

So, for those who don’t want to wait another couple of years to take in the new Big Screen version, there’s still time to see it the wildly popular stage production, as interpreted by the local cast of talented youngsters.

The full-fledged coming-of-age “Lion King” musical is the third-longest show ever to run on Broadway and has been seen worldwide by 90 million people.

The Rose Children’s Theatre’s “Disney’s Lion King JR” version, recreated for youthful actors, has a 55-member cast of middle school students from throughout the county. It’s based on the original version by Julie Taymor, with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, with book (script) by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi.

Dody Hansen, Chris Dobson, Adam Kelly and Lyn Burg are in charge of the local production.

The Rose Children’s Theatre has been providing children and their families with the opportunity to participate in live stage productions since 1978.

Disney’s Lion King JR

When: 7 p.m. on Nov. 3-4; and at 2 p.m. on Nov. 4-5

Where: Wildish Community Theatre, 630 Main St. in downtown Springfield

Tickets: $9 for students, $12 for adults, available at the door or in advance at

Information: 458-215-0220 or



Randi Bjornstad

Has more than 30 years' journalism experience after a previous stint as a land-use planner. Got first rejection slip at age 11, but the editor wrote an encouraging note. Lives in Eugene, Ore., with husband-and-photographer Paul Carter, adorable dog Tallulah and quirky cats Pearl, Audrey, Garbo, Harry and Ozma.

randi has 175 posts and counting.See all posts by randi

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