Mel O’ Drama presents Lion King Jr. on May 18 and 19

Mel O' Drama presents Lion King Jr. on May 18 and 19
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Mel O’ Drama presents Lion King Jr. May 18 and 19

The Mel O’ Drama School of acting is back with their 7th Musical Theatre Production with a Disney classic, ‘Lion King Jr.’ showing May 18th and 19th at the beautiful CSJ Center at Fontbonne Academy. With a young, talented cast of 36 actors ranging in age from 7 thru 13 this is a show you do not want to miss. The timing for this show couldn’t have come at a better time with the upcoming anticipated release of the Jon Favreau movie this July. Kids and adults alike have been fans of this movie since it’s original release back in 1994 and it has been a continuous hit since so bringing it to the stage was a no-brainer!

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Mel Gillespie, owner of the Mel O’ Drama School is more excited about this production than any they’ve done in the past. “I probably say this every time we do a show and I’ve enjoyed each of our productions immensely but I think what puts this production on the top of my favorite list, besides the fact that the music moves me to tears, is that I have gathered some of the best people in the business and created my Dream Team! Steve jobs once said “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” It took me some time to learn to delegate and to trust others to bring my vision to life, but I’m so glad I got there because it has made this experience so much more rewarding.

Behind the musical theatre scenes of The Lion King, Jr.:

Our cast has worked tirelessly over the past several weeks and the content in this show has been much more challenging than other shows because much of the lyrics are in Swahili and Zulu so our director, Warren and musical director, Loren (that’s not confusing at all haha) have had to teach our students how to speak and sing these words. But they’ve done it brilliantly and I couldn’t be more thankful to them. The choreography in the show is also very different to other shows we’ve done but thankfully for us, this is our choreographer, Amanda’s area of expertise and I have watched in awe as she has effortlessly led our actors to the finish line.

I knew I wanted the make-up for this show to be amazing so I hired the fabulous Paula Sullivan from local business, ‘Characters’ and I cannot tell you how incredibly talented she and her team are … you’ll see! Costumes by Theona White are equally as jaw-dropping. Sets by local designer Allison Tucker are fabulous, light by Fanni Hovarth bring such atmosphere to the stage and my sound engineer, a long time family friend, Gerry Dwyer, travels to us all the way from NH! Lori Lanergan has been a breath of fresh air (and patient-as-they-come kinda gal) as our PR manager & my team is held together by the glue that is Briana Clarke, our incredibly organized and efficient stage manager who has made my job as producer so much easier and for that, I’m endlessly grateful.

We’re also the only program I know of that has an on-site therapist who has been an incredible service to our students any time they feel emotionally ‘off.’ Robyn Fatseas is a local pediatric therapist with a clinic aptly named Robyn’s N.E.S.T. & we’ve nicknamed her our ‘FairyGodmother’ because if anyone is having a rough time with something, she comes to the rescue with her magic wand. Robyn is very helpful not only in rehearsals, but particularly backstage before shows when anxiety and nerves are at a HIGH. We have so many others helping in the background but if I continue naming and FAMING we’ll be here until 2020!”


For tickets, you can find a link on Mel O’ Drama’s website, & tickets will also be sold at the door on show days which are Saturday May 18th at 1:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. and Sunday May 19th at 1:00 p.m. at Fontbonne Academy.

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