All together now, “Nants ingonyama bagithi baba…”
If you’ve ever seen any version of the Lion King (movie or stage production) you know that iconic line chanted out by Rafiki. And you’ve probably mispronounced the heck out of it…But so did I until January of 2017.
LP Stage Productions, a non-profit theatre company that brings professional quality theatre to smaller communities, undertook the enormous task of putting on Lion King Jr. That’s cool right? But that’s not all, they had a cast of 57 kids aged 4-16. And on top of that they choose to stay very true to many of the costume, props and puppets, and stilt walkers of the stage show. Talk about a feat.
I excitedly worked alongside the team for this production as their Musical Director teaching all the vocals, chants, and pronunciations of the few African dialects used in the show. Up-to-date it was a chance of a lifetime for me. For 12 weeks, we rehearsed 3 times per week totaling 11 hours each week. Certainly, it was challenging process at times with so many moving parts but man it was a deeply rewarding and awesome payoff. I had an opportunity to work with a hard-working cast of kids and an equally hardworking, committed crew and volunteers.
In total we put on 12 sold-out shows over two weeks at Grace Tipling Hall in Shelburne. The show received high praise from the local press and the audiences who had the chance to catch the show.
Not that I didn’t already have it but I’ve been bitten all over again by the theatre bug. Long live live performances!