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A Behind-the-Scenes Look into The Lion King (Kids), A Hastings Theatre Program Production

Lion King CastThe African savannah came to life on Thursday and Friday evenings, March 9-10, when Hillside Elementary School’s fourth graders performed their production of Disney’s The Lion King (Kids). 


Simba, Rafiki, and other unforgettable characters, took the packed audience in Hillside’s Multipurpose Room on a journey from Pride Rock to the jungle and back again. An inspiring coming-of-age tale, the show was filled with examples of redemption and overcoming of adversity.


“It has been several years since the fourth graders have done a traditional musical,” said Production Coordinator Phyllis Udice. “Over the past few years, the production was downsized due to budgetary constraints and COVID. The Lion King (Kids) is just what we needed to bring the joy of musical theatre back to our students and families!”


Debuting as Director/Musical Director was Lisa Levine, and Emily Isidori taught the choreography. 


“The students learned so much more than just their lines,” said Levine. “They learned about teamwork and technique. They supported each other and worked together to make something truly great.”


“Seeing all the smiles, love, and feelings of pride from the audience warmed the whole room. Families are still emailing me to mention how much the show meant to them and how their children cannot wait to be in fourth grade. I am so proud to work in Hastings and be part of a community that acknowledges how important the arts are for our students,” Levine added.

Superintendent McKersie felt the love as an attendee of the sold-out show on Thursday, sharing his experience in last week's Community Update. Here is an excerpt from his letter.

There’s a calm surrender

To the rush of day

When the heat of a rolling wind Can be turned away

An enchanted moment

And it sees me through

It’s enough for this restless warrior Just to be with you.


So sang Hillside’s fourth graders on the opening night of The Lion King (Kids) as they melted the hearts of the packed Multipurpose Room with a soaring rendition of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” 

Watch the video above for a behind-the-scenes look into the cast and crew during rehearsals and production.