Lion King Kids

North Star Elementary second-graders Hudson Ross (left), Esme Birbilas and Clyde Haymaker ham it up as warthogs during a dress rehearsal of “Lion King Kids” on Wednesday.

“Hakuna matata” is the theme for tonight and Saturday as North Star Elementary School students bring the classic problem-free philosophy to life to Kodiak with their musical performance of “Lion King Kids.” 

And, like at the heart of the Disney classic, North Star principal Kerry Irons said there are no worries about the performance for what she said is the shcool’s first-ever musical.

“It’s so unbelievably wonderful,” Irons said. “Every student in our school is going to be performing. They have made works of art they will be wearing.”

Irons said that the students and staff have been busy with rehearsals and planning for the entire week, including a dress rehearsal on Wednesday night.

“Our school has been buzzing all week,” Irons said. “I’m calling it ‘Lion King Week.’”

According to Irons, the production “has been many months in coming to fruition with the creative vision of our music teacher, Jeannie Pedersen-Smith.”

North Star used part of its grant-funded Artist in Residence program to bring in fiber arts artist  Erica Ross to teach students techniques that they used to make their own costumes.

“We’ll have meerkats, warthogs, lion cubs, hyenas, grubs and butterflies, giraffes, colorful birds, gazelles, zebras, etc. on stage at the auditorium,” Irons said.

She added that a large number of North Star staff and parents have stepped up to volunteer to put the event on.

In addition, she said that Kodiak Arts Council Executive Director Katie Oliver secured licensing and materials rights from Disney so North Star could put on the production and recruited local choreographer Mary Beth Loewen to teach movement. Make-up will be done by the Kodiak High School drama team.

“The Lion King” is one of Disney’s iconic animated films as it follows the protagonist Simba from cubhood to adulthood and his eventual quest to reclaim his homeland from his evil uncle Scar. The 1994 film earned many accolades, including two Academy Awards for best original score and best original song, as well a Golden Globe Award for original score and best musical or comedy motion picture.

The shows are scheduled for tonight at 6 p.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, both at the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium. Admission is free.

“It is incredible that it is a whole school and community event, so I’m excited about it and great to do for our community,” Irons said.

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