Boys Prep Bronx Presents Lion King Kids
Bronx, NY (June 8th, 2018) Boys Prep Bronx staff members Ms. Samantha John and Ms. Rachel Lewis produced an awesome rendition of The Lion King Kids based on the Broadway production (directed by Julie Taymor). In the final performance, scholars from grades 2, 3, and 4 performed ensemble music, monologues and dance numbers -a culmination of about 8 weeks of preparation during school hours and after school.
At Public Prep Academies, we provide various opportunities for our scholars to express themselves through dynamic enrichment activities. At Boys Prep Bronx, Music and Movement, one of four enrichment periods, is a class that scholars attend twice a week. It was during that class that our scholars prepared for the Lion King Kids. This end of year concert, which developed into a full theatrical debut, could not have been executed without the support from all of our Boys Prep Bronx staff and parents.
Keep reading to find out what went on behind the scenes, in our interview with Music and Movement teacher, Ms. John!
Interview Medium: Conducted By Email
Interviewer: Courtney Jackson, Development and External Relations Associate
Interviewee: Samantha John, Boys Prep Bronx Music Teacher
[Start of interview]
CJ: How many weeks did the students prepare?
SJ: The scholars have been preparing for Disney's The Lion King since mid-March. So about 8-9 weeks. Keep in mind each class only sees me once a week for 45 min. We did add the lion king club at the end of the day as we got closer to the production.
CJ: Did they learn the scenes and music during the same classes?
SJ: The scholars learned the ensemble music first since we were together as a class and then I worked on the music with the leading roles during recess, lunch or early in the morning in some cases. We did prep work in class which focused on musical theater and how all the magic happens. I taught them audition techniques and how to present yourself on AND off stage. They practiced walking and entering the audition room, slating (introducing yourself with name and what you're audition for), how to stand in front of the adjudicators and how to read a monologue to scene. That lead into lessons in casting, rehearsal strategies and character building. After the music and lines were learned we then added our acting skills and put the show together.
CJ: Which grades were invited to participate?
SJ: The entire boys prep participated in one way or another. The June 8th performance was 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades which was about 135 students. K-1 actually performed excerpts from the Lion King at their Unity Meeting on June 1.
CJ: How did you get the make up and costumes complete?
SJ: Our parent support at Boys Prep is outstanding. Two of our parents are professionals in the business and they offered their help. Both mothers have sons in Kindergarten and did the scholars make up and designed some of our costumes. The other costumes were rented from a professional theater company.
CJ: Who developed the set?
SJ: Due to the size of the stage and the number of scholars we had, I wanted to be very creative so the set was minimal. We used a animated projection that helped us change scenes and with the help of an outside artist and our art teacher Ms. Minzter, they helped bring it to life on stage.
CJ: Will this level of performance likely be an annual event?
SJ: We will definitely be having this level of performance annually. It may not always be a musical but a concert showcasing the scholars talent will happen every year.
CJ: Who selected the Lion King?
SJ: I selected the Lion King for a number of reasons.
- It's a great show
- Most of all the characters are boys
- The message throughout the show totally inspires our boys that everything they need to succeed lives within them and that no matter what happens in life that they must keep working to reach their destiny.
CJ: Did students tryout for certain roles?
SJ: Yes. The scholars had to audition for the role they wanted. There was a formal audition held the exact way it's done on Broadway.
CJ: Are any students interested in pursuing theatre outside of Boys Prep in the future?
SJ: Yes, there are a few students who have amazing talents and also noted that they wanted to go into theater or singing.