“It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.” – Elementary School 3 Fourth Grade Scholar
Elementary School 3 is buzzing after the ES3 Thespian’s long-awaited production of The Lion King KIDS took to the stage this past Friday night. From an audience perspective, no one would know of the pre-show jitters scholars were experiencing backstage before the stage burst to life with the opening number, “One By One,” followed immediately by a truly emotional rendition of “Circle of Life” to kick off the highly anticipated show. The audience was hooked from the first beat with one scholar even stating, “It was great, wonderful, and very enjoyable! I wish I could have recorded it so that I could watch it over and over.”
In March 2020, the original cast of The Lion King KIDS was only two weeks away from opening night of their production when COVID-19 hit and stopped the show in its tracks. For the next two years, continuous shifts between virtual and in-person learning prevented the theater troupe from acting together as a full cast. Though the ES3 Thespians found creative ways to persevere, like working together over Zoom in the spring of 2021 to create a virtual performance of The Show Must Go Online, nothing truly compared to the magic of rehearsing a play together and performing live on stage for an audience.
The Lion King is one that is known and loved. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it tells the story of family and finding your way home again. It feels fitting that this story be told after the distancing of the past two years. “As live theater returns to BVP, we are so grateful for the unwavering support that we have received from our district, families, and friends throughout the pandemic,” says musical director Krystle Poirier.
The ES3 Thespians is an after-school theater program held once a week throughout the year, introducing Elementary School 3 scholars to musical theater. Scholars rehearse singing, dancing, and acting together as a team, all while they explore their imaginations, make quick, creative decisions, and use problem solving skills on the fly. “We were thrilled to give these dedicated scholars a chance to express themselves in a completely new way than we ever have been able to offer before,” says artistic director Molly Wilson. One scholar said, “It was a fun experience and I will definitely remember it for a lifetime. Even if you think you don’t want to try theater, you should go for it. You’ll love it!”
Both directors agree, “Watching these scholars grow over the past year has been a magical experience. Our scholars with the most timid auditions have truly come out of their shells, are bursting with pride, and are already talking about being in next year’s production of Frozen KIDS.”